The Lakers win in Game 3 not only gave the team a 2-1 lead in the series it also saw them take back the home court advantage. It also provided the Lakers with the opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with a win today.
Today’s game in my opinion is the biggest game of the series and the Lakers need to approach it like a must win game.
The first three games of the series have been close hard fought match ups. They’ve all come down to fourth quarter execution where the Lakers have been tested and have responded. Game three was a major gut-check for Los Angeles, but the Lakers displayed intensity accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion like a champion would.
The Lakers have made adjustments in the way that they’re defending Carmelo Anthony & Chauncey Billups. Both players are being quickly double-teamed and have to deal with a pair of hands in their face.
The Lakers front line has played better but still needs to be more aggressive in the painted area. The Lakers need more from Pau Gasol & Lamar Odom. Players have struggled at the free throw line, Odom is shooting 57% and Gasol is shooting 68% and these numbers have to improve.
Pau has to win his match up with Kenyon Martin and the Lakers need a better performance from Lamar. Odom has been solid on defending the out of bounds play but he hasn’t been getting back in transition.
This isn’t to appear as if I’m attacking Lamar but he is an x-factor for the Lakers. His career average is 15 points it has been up and down since. In the playoffs, he started out averaging 17.8 points against Utah, 8.3 points against both Houston & Denver. The hard fall against the Rockets didn’t help but this trend needs to change.
LO’s point total increasing could be the difference between winning a close game and blowing a team out. The Lakers need to attack the basket early and often and not settle for so many jump shots. This should take the crowd out of the game and allow the Lakers to go to the free throw line.
Put the pressure on the Nuggets defense, Denver will do everything they can to win this game and the Lakers have to match their intensity and focus on winning today to take control of the series.
The Lakers will have to control the tempo, the glass, get back in transition, and stop the dribble penetration as well as rotate out to three point shooters. The Lakers will need to slow Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups & Nene. Limit the impact of the explosive yet volatile J.R. Smith.
Kobe will set the tone and the team will follow his lead but his teammates have to knock down shots. All three games have come down to who executes in the fourth quarter and that needs to be Los Angeles. The Lakers won their games with energy, guts, execution and solid defense. The Lakers need a repeat of that performance of the fourth quarter of game three with a contribution from everyone.
Tipoff: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ESPN
- Denver: ESPN
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KCKK AM1510 (Jerry Schemmel)
- None to report.
- None to report.