Western Conference 1st Round – Game 5

It is May 8, 2012 and the (3) Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to end their series with the (6) Denver Nuggets. The Lakers overcame a six-point halftime deficit and outscored the Nuggets 47-37 in the second half to come away with a hard-fought 92-88 road win on 5/6/12. The Lakers played better defensively, had six players score in double-digits, and the win gave L.A. a 3-1 series advantage.

The Lakers split their two games in Denver. A win tonight and the Lakers move on to the Conference Semi-Finals where Derek Fisher and the Oklahoma City Thunder are waiting. It is imperative that the Lakers focus on beating the Nuggets tonight and not look ahead to the next series.

The Lakers can win tonight and knock the Nuggets out of the playoffs by playing well defensively, with a high energy level, executing on offense, using solid ball movement and excellent player movement to find high percentage shots. The Nuggets are doing a good job of making it difficult for the Lakers to pass the ball inside to Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol & Kobe Bryant in the post.

The Lakers ball movement and pick and roll offense are the keys to success making the Nuggets chase the ball. Kobe Bryant & Pau Gasol has worn the facilitator hat on several occasions and both have displayed a great deal of trust in their teammates to knock down shots when double-teamed defensively.

The Lakers have to do a good job defending the pick-and-roll play, control the tempo, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, get back in transition, out-rebound the Nuggets and limit Denver to one shot per possession. L.A.’s perimeter defenders have to keep the Nuggets out of the painted area.

The Lakers need to come out focused, play with aggression, determined and fully prepared to match the intensity of the Nuggets. L.A. has to limit their turnovers, win the second chance points & points in the paint battle. L.A. needs a strong contribution from their reserves, and those players need to knock down shots with the opportunities that the defense will provide them.

Starters
Lakers: R. Sessions, K. Bryant, D.Ebanks, P.Gasol, A. Bynum
Nuggets:
T. Lawson, A. Afflalo, D. Gallinari, K. Faried, K. Koufos 

Tip-off: 7:30 pm pst

Television -

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz) & TNT
  • Denver: Altitude Sports & Entertainment (Chris Marlowe & Scott Hastings ) & TNT

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
  • Denver: KKFN AM 950 (Jerry Schemel & Mark Bertagnolli)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Metta World Peace (League Suspension – Game 6) Out
  • Devin Ebanks (Middle & Ring Finger Contusions, Left Hand) Probable

Nuggets:

  • Al Harrington (Knee) Day-to-Day