The (44-15) Los Angeles Lakers are at the Staples Center to host the (39-19) Denver Nuggets.

Today’s run will be the third of the four games between the best teams in the Western Conference, and unfortunately, the Lakers have lost the two previous games by double digits.

The last time the Nuggets came to town the Staples Center faithful had to witness the Chauncey Billups show as he led Denver to a road win by putting on a shooting clinic from behind the arc.

This is a must-win game for the Lakers, but it begs the question can the Lakers bring the proper focus to beat the Nuggets? We’ve seen the Lakers either show a lack of focus or desire and lose games that they should win this season.

It appears that on more than one occasion they’ve  been going through the motions and haven’t gotten up for their opponents. If that happens today, this contest will be over early. The Lakers need to play every game with energy and passion. It’s time for this team to play with passion on every possession.

This game will be decided by the Lakers frontline. The duo of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 43 points in the paint and 24 boards against the Sixers; they will need a repeat performance.

The Nuggets frontline will be physical with the Lakers, how Gasol, Bynum, and Ron Artest respond will be the difference. Lakers need to establish both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the painted area and look to hurt the Nuggets in this area.

The Lakers frontline needs to play aggressive on both ends of the floor and focus on attacking the basket. They can’t afford to miss lay ups, shots close to the basket or settle for jump shots. It all starts with the ‘bigs’ getting a lot of touches. They have to approach today’s match up as a playoff game, but why stop there why not make it a statement. The Nuggets are playing good basketball, they’ve played their best against the best and are 7-1 against other division leaders.

The Purple and Gold have to lock into what the Nuggets are doing to slow them down. The Nuggets are averaging 115 points and shooting over 55% against the Lakers. The Lakers have to get back to the basics and control the tempo, stop the dribble penetration make it a point of emphasis to get a body on a body and out rebound this team.

The Nuggets have more than enough talent in the backcourt to provide the Lakers several problems, but Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar are all champions that have to play well and accept the challenge.

The Lakers have to extend their defense out to the three point line, that is where this team has lived against the Purple and Gold this season. It will be a tough task to slow down all of the Nuggets however; L.A. can’t allow all of the Nuggets to have a good game. It will take a total team effort to achieve a win.

This writer believes that the Lakers will show a great deal of focus, control, maturity and discipline in dispatching the Nuggets like a weekly chore.

Tip-off: 12:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: ABC
  • Denver: ABC

Radio

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

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture of right index finger, elbow & back)
  • Andrew Bynum (Bruised Hip)
  • Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back) Out
  • Sasha Vujacic (Sprained Shoulder) Out

Nuggets:

  • PF Kenyon Martin (Bruised Knee)
  • PG Ty Lawson (Sprained left Thumb)
  • 09champs!

    Tired of the thuggets thinking they are better than us, lets show them who the defending champions are.. Go LA

  • BE_A_LakerFan

    Let’s take care of business this afternoon fellas.. Go Lakers!

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    i totally agree with mark jackson about booing hell yea boo they ass i’m sorry 2 tell everbody and extremly sorry 2 tell myself ”’ this team has peaked already ” so 2 the rare basketball fans that don’t understand what that mean ”this is it ” there will be no repeat and honestly which somebody in here will say are you crazy IT FIRST starts with PHIL this team has totally tuned him out other than kobe and fisher, who’s been with him obviously the longest we are A SOFT team DAMM it kills me 2 we won’t make it pass denver and it will take a couple of 7 game series 2 make it the western conference finals ,its time 2 turn this club over 2 the next coach a different voice a more demanding voice not a condensening voice, it will have 2 be a defensive minded coach and it can be the same triangle philosophy let fisher go try 2 trade sasha and walton in the off-season and start a new

    • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Green Flannel

      you are a terrible fan. no faith and belief in this team at all.

  • iiTzKoBe

    the smush of the game should be the refs, not kobe

  • berkyberks

    something wrong with kobe he ca’t even elevate…but good thing that other step up….the refs trying to beat the lakers..thanks to ron…player of the game…

  • Kobe8/24

    START LAMAR ODOM AND BENCH BYNUM PLEASE!

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    i stopped watching the game after the second quater olympic hockey was hell of good 4 my first one still not going 2 watch but U.S.A should hold there heads high canada was the host city and they had a all-star game of players from the NHL and it took overtime 2 win but still agree with what i said its getting time 4 him 2 hang them up.

    • jamesnaishmith

      get the hockey crop out of here! how many hours you watch that game and the score is just all 2…they are all the same nothing to watch (hockey,soccer,baseball) I don’t enjoy watching those games..unlike basketball basketball has so many categories to fill in like points,rebound,assist,block shot, and steal.If you don’t get fame in scoring you can go to assist, if you’re a big man rebound is for you, not so big? be a shooting guard….basketball is a whole pack of excitement assist,dunks alley oops, 3’s where you can watch and say oohhh’s and aaahhhs…hockey,and soccer sucks !only goals sometimes “no goals” are the only stats to watch…basketball is the most complete game ever invented thanks to my name..

      • berkyberks

        My father never encourage me on playing basketball because I’m short…but I keep on playing it on the street and have fun on it..I thank the person who’s name is james naismith for inventing the game of basketball…

        • 242LakerFan

          And I thank my first grade teacher for teaching me that Canada is a country, not a city.

  • asg

    hell yea. ODOM all day, bynum is gay…lol. this is wat i have been posting all the time. Fisher and Bynum are gonna be our death in regards to basketball. I would rather have big leads in the beginning of games rather than trying to catch up. PHIL MAKE A CHANGE. Light a fire, maybe bynum will wake up. Gasol u gotta start lifting weights b4 games again.

    No more crying, the refs are not on our side, MAN UPM MAN UP. Get physical

  • http://lakersnation 2 k showtime

    we showed we could win,playing a different type of type of game.with kobe not making plays like usual,now 13 assists.that’s the best of both world’s.i know we were wondering how he would fit in with the new team type play.he can trust the team and they know it,but i’m sure we will see the real kobe an a great lakers team before we are done this year. and from the previous losses to this team i’m sure we’ve learned all about them as we have from the cav’s.i think we will be very ready to make our run.wow! lamar! is kickin ass!an i’m finding myself trusting famar way more all the time!artest is fitting.it look’s good so far!i think we’ll be alright!! go lakers!!

  • berkyberks

    ya cavs beat the lakers twice but they are only 1 loss away as a leader and they are on the east..I has to admitted that lebron is better than kobe statistically, But I’ll always take kobe in a close game any given night…

  • 242LakerFan

    Great win for the New York Lakers (LO/RonRon won this game, let’s face it). JR and Melo not so giggly anymore, eh?

  • LGM10

    HOrrible game. We were lucky to get the win (and that melo fouled out) but the lakers have LOTS of room for improvement (yes im nitpicking here) because we all know how great this team can be. Kobe needs to rest and adjust his shot again, he looked like KG out there. It’s clear the offense flowed better with lamar in the lineup, and phil please PLAY FARMAR more than fisher.