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

Television -

  • Los Angeles: TNT
  • Denver: TNT

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Denver: KCKK AM1510 (Jerry Schemmel)

Injuries -

Lakers:

None

Nuggets:

  • Kenyon Martin (Ribs)
  • baltimoresbest01

    jr smith always plays well against us….

  • kobe8

    I’m gonna stay up for this game even though it starts at 3:30am here. I wanna see if Bynum is 100 or not.

  • dEDGE

    If I’m Nene, I would call in sick tonight. Staples Center is going to be mad wild with Andrew Bynum’s return.

  • Lakers

    Lakers got this. They swept them last year and they dont have Kenyon Martin

  • Lakers123

    All I have to say is Bynum

  • k1on

    “L.A. needs to establish Pau & Andrew in the post”
    been waiting a long time to hear that

  • Pac-Man

    its gonna be the loudest arena in the league tonight scince bynums back, im gonna be there, ill post it on you tube tonight! C Melo and Billiups gonna feel the rath of the lakers at full force

  • FLUKE

    I’ve been waiting to see NONE under the injury column for far too long

  • Lakeshow31

    Fluke, couldn’t have said it better myself! Let’s go lakeshow….get it rolling for the real season

  • Michael_23

    Why did TLN put a gay (smile) banner of Bynum? But one where he’s fierce and dominant lookin’. Ca mon now…

    This isn’t the time to smile and look soft. It’s almost playoff time and we gotta come out with the HUNGER. I’m sure those playoff banners are in the works. Go TLN design team!

  • KB24ForLife

    *KNOCK ON WOOD*

  • LakersFirst

    This is a game where the Laker mind set is to WIN and put doubt in the minds of Denver. If the Lakers beat the Nuggets, the Nuggets will have doubt in their minds should they face the Lakers in playoffs.

    Also, a little revenge for the last game in Denver should provide incentive.

  • i hate turnovers

    i haven’t been this excited for a regular-season game since the december 25 matchup with the celdicks. i can’t wait!