The Los Angeles Lakers are in Denver tonight to play a back-to-back game against the Nuggets. The Lakers responded well to the challenge of facing the red hot Suns and by destroying them, they showed that they had the answer to the question on how do you slow down Phoenix.
The Lakers won their sixth straight game by playing great defense, sharing the ball and pounding the interior of the Suns defense. They used their experience, and size advantage to pound the Suns on the inside and everyone contributed to the biggest win of the young season.
Kobe Bryant’s 29 point night & Andrew Bynum’s 26 points led the way as a two-man wrecking crew as the team put up 59 points in the paint by halftime. The duo is averaging 33 points in the paint. Reminiscent of a boxer throwing body blows to his opponent the Suns on the receiving end had no answer for the onslaught. If it was actually a prize fight the referees would’ve stopped the contest early in the third quarter.
Andrew Bynum in his first game back, after being out with an elbow injury, looked sharp scoring 26 points and pulling down an amazing 15 rebounds as well as blocking 3 shots for his third 20-point, 10-board game of the season.
The best thing about the game was seeing the Lakers show a great deal of focus, control, maturity and discipline in dispatching the Suns like a weekly chore.
The Lakers will need to display the same attributes to beat the Nuggets. After the beat down that the Lakers issued Denver in the Western Conference Finals, all of the smack that Kenyon Martin ran in the off-season and the little melee the teams had in San Diego in the pre-season, so believe me the atmosphere will be electric and both teams will be ready to play.
The Nuggets started the season on fire but have cooled off considerably. Denver is 1-3 in the last four games and .01 seconds away from being 0-4. I have a feeling that this will be a very physical game for both teams. The Lakers need to continue to start their offense inside out and once again establish both Kobe Bryant & Andrew Bynum in the post and allow them to go to work.
An interesting match up in this game will be at the small forward position; Carmelo Anthony being defended by Ron Artest. Ron’s width should keep Carmelo on the perimeter. Someone has to attempt to slow down Kobe Bryant in the post and that task tonight will fall into the hands of Aaron Affalo and J.R./Earl Smith. Affalo is a solid defender but the question is can Smith & Affalo stay out of foul trouble.
The Lakers are playing good defense but as always it could be better. Los Angeles did an excellent job of defending the screen and roll play and controlling the tempo last night that effort needs to be there again tonight.
The Lakers need to get back in transition, control the boards, extend their defense out to the three point line and limit this team to one shot per possession.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Denver: Altitude Sports & Entertainment (Chris Marlowe & Scott Hastings )
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KKFN AM 950 (Jerry Schemel & Mark Bertagnolli)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- Kenyon Martin (Leg Bruise) will play