It is May 4, 2012 and the (3) Los Angeles Lakers are in Colorado for a pivotal game three against the (6) Denver Nuggets. The Lakers, as expected, took a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series and maintained their home court advantage.
The Lakers two all-stars Kobe Bryant & Andrew Bynum combined for 65 points and led the Lakers to their second win of the series. Denver made several adjustments in game two, were more competitive, got more players involved, played a better all around game, but after 96 minutes of playoff basketball the Nuggets never held the lead and left Los Angeles without a win.
The Lakers have now won 19-of-23 postseason games against the Nuggets. The series now switches from the friendly confines of the Staples Center and moves to the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers won the four game season series against the Nuggets (3-1), the one loss on 1/1/12 was at the Pepsi Center. In Denver, the Lakers were 4-6 in their last 10 regular season games.
In the playoffs win or lose, both teams need to make adjustments, one to maintain their advantage, the other to gain one. Nothing has come easy for the Lakers so to expect that to change in the post season would be dreaming. The Lakers have controlled the action and dictated the style of play in the first two games of the series.
The Lakers have an excellent opportunity to take command of this series with a win tonight. It is imperative that the Lakers defense improves control the tempo, perimeter defenders need to keep the Nuggets out of the paint, control the boards, and limit the Nuggets second-chance points.
L.A. has to do a better job of defending the pick-and-roll play, staying in front of Ty Lawson, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, get back in transition, and quickly rotate out to open shooters, take care of the ball, and limit the Nuggets to one shot per possession.
The combination of Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol has dominated on the inside. However, there is nothing wrong with adding a few pump & ball fakes for JaVale McGee, who blocked six shots in game two. The Lakers need to improve their ball movement and as well as their player movement, to find high percentage shots.
The Nuggets have a lot of depth to come out with a win the Lakers need a contribution from everyone. The Lakers also need a big game from their reserves. The Lakers need to come out with a lot of energy, establish and maintain a lead to take the crowd out of the game and pound the Nuggets on the inside.
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
- Los Angeles: KCAL (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz) & ESPN
- Denver: Altitude Sports & Entertainment (Chris Marlowe & Scott Hastings ) & ESPN
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KKFN AM 950 (Jerry Schemel & Mark Bertagnolli)
- Metta World Peace (League Suspension – Game 4) Out
- Matt Barnes (Sprained Right Ankle) Day-to-Day
- Devin Ebanks (Middle & Ring Finger Contusions, Left Hand) Probable
- Al Harrington (Knee) Day-to-Day