The Lakers return to work for a huge game at the Staples Center to face the Nuggets. Los Angeles has benefited from improved play as a team and will take a four-game winning streak into tonight’s game.
The Kings came out on fire and were shooting the lights out and took a 12-point lead. The Lakers had to overcome an early deficit for a solid win in Sacramento & remain in the running for the Associations best record.
Some of the most encouraging parts of the win was seeing the team put up 40 points in the second quarter, seeing the starters on the bench in the fourth quarter, seeing the reserves play well as a unit, seeing the Lakers close out the game and watching Sasha Vujacic go up for an emphatic dunk, he was able to ‘bang on’ two players and in the process bring his teammates and the fans out of their seats and posterize not one but two Kings.
The ill-advised turnover he had on the very next play wasn’t good to see but in my minds eye I could hear Chick Hearn calling the game and providing his ‘word’s-eye’ view as usual, and at that moment uttering one of his famous chickism’s “the mustard’s off the hot dog”.
It caused Coach Jackson to respond later “I told him the dunk was great but the behind the back pass on the next play made me reach for a substitute”.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers in scoring with 26 points and 12 boards, Kobe had 22 points. This will be the fourth game of the regular season series with Denver. Make no mistake tonight’s match-up is a playoff game.
The Lakers beat the Nuggets 104-97 on 11/1/08, 104-90 on 11/21/08 and took a 90-79 loss on 2/27. Both teams are playing well but the Lakers will have the emotional lift of the home crowd as well as having Andrew Bynum back in the lineup for the first time since being injured on 1/31 against Memphis.
The Lakers have won 21 of 23 games against Denver but owe the Nuggets a beat down. Denver was able to snap a 9-game losing streak against the Lakers by playing improved defense and knocking down shots on a night when Los Angeles, according to Elias Sports Bureau had their second-worse shooting night since the franchised moved to California.
The Lakers will have to control the tempo, the glass, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters. The Lakers will need to slow Carmelo Anthony, Nene and limit J.R. Smith’s impact he has been on fire.
L.A. needs to establish Pau & Andrew in the post and allow them to set the table for everyone else. Look for Kobe to lead the Lakers to victory.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Denver: TNT
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KCKK AM1510 (Jerry Schemmel)
- Kenyon Martin (Ribs)