The Lakers are in Denver to face the Nuggets in the third game of the series. The first two games have given us some exciting basketball. Two up-and-down, back and forth games that have been close between two highly skilled teams.
Both games were eerily similar with two differences, in both games it has come down to execution in the fourth quarter the Lakers executed in game one and the Nuggets returned the favor in game two.
Two other similarities were two game deciding plays by Trevor Ariza; for the Lakers in game one and reluctantly for the Nuggets in game two.
No disrespect to Ariza he has played well and brought the team tremendous energy, athleticism and production in both games. Let’s not get it twisted; he wasn’t the reason why the Lakers lost game two at all. The Lakers simply came up short in game two, the series is tied at one game apiece, what the team needs to do now is move on.
The Lakers need to make a few adjustments for the game such as trapping Chauncey Billups on the pick and roll play to get the ball out of his hands and rotating defensively. You can expect Billups and Carmelo Anthony to play well for Denver but the Lakers can’t allow Linas Kleiza to come off of the bench and have an impact on the game.
The Lakers need to play with a sense of urgency, stop being inconsistent, come out active & aggressive on defense from the start. 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.
Andrew Bynum’s minutes have been limited do to him not being at his best in term of conditioning due to him coming back from the knee injury as well as Denver playing a smaller lineup. He needs to play big and protect the paint; he also needs to play defense without fouling.
The Lakers front line played better in game two but the front line needs to be more aggressive. The Lakers need more from Pau Gasol & Lamar Odom. Pau has to win his match up with Kenyon Martin. He has to be more active in the painted area.
It might be just me but I feel that Lamar Odom is still dealing with back issues and appears to be playing through them.
Kobe will put forth his standard excellent performance and effort while setting the tone the team will follow his lead but his teammates have to knock down shots. The Lakers won game one with energy, guts, execution and solid defense. The Lakers need a repeat of that performance tonight.
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. J.R. Smith is an explosive scorer and the Lakers will have to play well defensively to limit his impact.
The Lakers need to attack the basket early and often and not settle for so many jump shots. Put the pressure on the Nuggets defense and the focus needs to be on winning both games in Colorado and not just getting a split.
Tipoff: 5:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ABC
- Denver: ABC
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Denver: KCKK AM1510 (Jerry Schemmel)
- None to report.
- None to report.