The Lakers used energy, guts, solid defense down the stretch, and playoff experience to mount a tremendous come from behind win in game one. Los Angeles prevailed without playing their best, due to the fact that Kobe refused to let his team lose and the team was able to knock down 11 three point shots
His 40 point performance was outstanding but dropping 18 of those points in the fourth quarter to include six clutch free throws was even better. The Lakers bench out-scored and out-played the Nuggets bench, which is something that hasn’t happened enough.
Trevor Ariza didn’t play his best game but his effort was great and his steal not only was the exclamation point on a Laker win but was arguably his biggest play as a Laker.
Kobe literally did it all in Game One but he is going to need his teammates to ‘step their game up’ and knock down shots. The Lakers frontline was destroyed by the Nuggets front line; out-scored 68 to 26.
I hate to call a few players out but it is a fact that the Lakers need immediate improvement from Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. These guys not only have to have an impact on the game but they’ve got to play defense without fouling. Limit the Nuggets to one shot per possession.
Los Angeles needs to attack the basket early and often and not settle for so many jump shots. The Lakers stole game one, I’m not sure if the Lakers had tired legs from going through a seven game series but the energy & effort that the team showed in mounting a come back needs to be there from the start.
The win has also afforded them the opportunity to take a commanding lead in this series. Los Angeles trailed for the majority of the game but it is a known fact that the Lakers can play better. I can’t say the same for the Nuggets who wasted a phenomenal performance from Carmelo Anthony.
The Lakers will have to control the tempo, the glass, get back in transition, and stop the dribble penetration and rotate out to three point shooters. The Lakers will need to slow Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups & Nene. J.R. Smith is an explosive scorer and instant offense for Denver but he appears to be slowed by injury.
I also feel that it will be extremely difficult for the Nuggets to recover from the game one loss mentally knowing that they played well enough to win but didn’t finish the game.
The Lakers need to play with a sense of urgency, stop being inconsistent, come out active & aggressive on defense from the start. Despite what happened in Game One, The Lakers are playing to their strength by playing through the post. Establish both Pau & Andrew and allow them to go to work or set the table for everyone else.
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.
- J.R. Smith (Knee & Calf) Game Time Decision
- Kenyon Martin (Broken Ring Finger) Game Time Decision