I was very cautious in believing the Nuggets could steal Game 2– just from my experience watching this crew of players all season – knowing how George Karl coaches in the offseason, so I expected the series to travel to Denver with the Nuggets being down 0-2. The Denver Nuggets, improved since Game 1, in terms of their heart, fight and running of the court. They looked beautiful, running and gunning, but even that couldn’t take down the Lakeshow as Los Angeles took away Game 2 in a 104-100 victory.
Let’s start by discussing the re-focused Lakers and the damage Darth Kobe did in Tuesday’s game. Kobe “Bean” Bryant racked up 38 points and this was his 83rd 30-point playoff game and instilled in Laker (Kobe) haters everywhere he is still a viable NBA basketball player and isn’t going to lose in the postseason in the same fashion as last year. Andrew Bynum — as I stated this postseason would be his official coming out party — acquired 27 points and 9 rebounds, but wasn’t as vicious as he was during Game 1 on the defensive front. Pau Gasol chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Hill added in 10 rebounds as well.
L.A. are playing really well — and that’s an understatement — and Kobe says it best with this:
”It’s tough to play against us, because there’s legitimately three guys you have to double-team.”
Which will segway into the Nuggets improved play during this game just fell short. Denver had plenty of open looks, I’m talking open look after open look after open look, but it seemed Danilo Gallinari and Arron Afflalo were the worst felons in this aspect. The two combined 9-for-30 from the field, need I remind you that Denver lost by 4 points??? If one of these two guys, had shot the ball better, just a few times, tables may have been turned. Same can be said for missed FT’s — Denver missed 6 of these — some of the things to look at when a game is decided by 4 points.
Coach Karl rotated JaVale McGee and Mozzy over Kosta Koufos as after the tip-off, Kosta was getting abused by Bynum. It’s fair to note, Kosta did try to keep up with Bynum, but sometimes your best isn’t good enough. Yes, JaVale McGee — being the one Nugget that can matchup with L.A. — missed a layup and Twitter roasted him, but he showed great improvement from Game 1 and would add 5 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks.
Also notable, Kenneth Faried had crucial turnovers in the closing minutes that would help L.A walk away with another win. He is a rookie, not an excuse, but will make mistakes similar to these against a excelled Laker squad.
The question before the game was will Ty Lawson show up and he answered that question by being the most productive Nugget on the court with 25 points and 7 assists, but his aggressiveness was not met with another player (Gallo or Arron) meeting him shot for shot.
Even with Denver’s renewed fight and intensity it couldn’t manage to take down the talented and experienced Lakers. The Lakers that have the ‘Twin Towers’ compared to George Karl’s Kenneth Faried — who seems nearly 5 inches too short — despite all his energy, he’s still a rookie and is vertically challenged in comparison to Pau. Denver isn’t experienced, nor at the talent level that Los Angeles is and Karl knows it.
“I think it’s the experience of their stars, Gasol and Kobe . Gasol doesn’t put great numbers up, but he’s probably their best passer out there on the court. He just kind of understands what the hell is going on as well as anybody on the court. For a 7-1 guy to do that, it’s pretty incredible stuff. Kobe’s will to win the game, I guess that falls into experience. It’s a talent. A mental talent. I think the thing that our players have to understand is that we need five, maybe six, guys playing at a high level to win, to beat ‘em. They might only need two or three guys playing at a high level to beat us. So I guess that’s talent. I don’t know. I didn’t know I was going to get philosophical on you.”
Another item to note about the Lakers as aforementioned, the Lakers have three players that Denver can double, which leaves the court open for any of those other 4 players to get a clean shot. It’s not impossible to beat them, but it would take near flawless play on Denver’s part. Afflalo and Gallo going 9-for-30 isn’t going to cut it. Lawson needs another player that can score 20+ alongside him. If Denver keeps up with their accelerated pace in Game 3 at the Pepsi Center as well as Lawson and Gallo/Afflalo scoring 20+ each; then a win may be in Denver’s future.
Denver needs to carry that fight from Game 2 back to the Mile High City, return with fervor, intensity, and with high percentage shots…..
Denver could take this back to L.A.
Beating Goliath isn’t impossible, but it will be a “bar fight.”
N Sync describes how Denver needs to get fans excited again ……… Get a “W”