Happy Veterans Day! Despite the fact that mere words can’t really express the gratitude we all should have towards members of the Armed Forces both past and present for placing their lives on the line daily; thank them for their service and commitment to this great nation.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in Denver, the mile high city to do battle with the Nuggets. Both teams have a bit of a bad taste in their mouths after their previous games for different reasons.
The Nuggets are angry about taking a massive 31-point beat down on Tuesday by the Pacers in Indiana. They witnessed the Pacers have one of those once in a lifetime quarters of basketball. The Pacers stunned the Nuggets by knocking down 20 of 21 shots in the third quarter.
The Lakers won the game; their eighth of the young season, but left the Timberwolves game with several head scratching questions. They appeared to be playing down to their competition or simply having a lackadaisical performance. Derek Fisher was right to call out the team for said performance. The Lakers were out-rebounded, out-scored in the painted area and in this writers opinion, shot way too many three point shots.
A couple of things need to be said, the Lakers performance raises questions maybe even concerns, but it is early and the NBA season is a marathon; you’ll lose games you should win and win some you rightfully should’ve lost.
This isn’t the best time for the Nuggets to face the Lakers. The Nuggets should put on an inspired performance for the home crowd and in the process bring out the Lakers ‘A’ game. However, the Nuggets are thin on the front line without Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson and they’ve struggled mightily. Carmelo Anthony is the best player on the Nuggets, but the team has gotten solid play from Arron Afalalo.
The Lakers need to play solid defensively and shut down the pick and roll play, stop the dribble penetration, control the boards and rotate out to three point shooters. The Nuggets will be more perimeter tonight, which means that the Lakers need to start their offense inside by running their plays inside Pau Gasol. Their front line needs to be aggressive on both ends of the floor and dominate. They need to use both excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find high percentage shots as oppose to shooting three point shots.
I realize that the Lakers lead the league in three-point shooting and it is nice to see those shots go down, but the strength of this team isn’t shooting behind the arc, it is dominating the paint.
The Nuggets finally have a power forward that can shoot from distance in Al Harrington and he will look to have a big game, but the Lakers have to limit both his and J. R. Smith’s impact on this game.
The Lakers will raise their streak to 9-0 with solid defense, ball movement and executing down the stretch.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TNT
• Denver: TNT
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• Denver: KKFN AM 950 (Jerry Schemel & Mark Bertagnolli)
• Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
• Theo Ratliff (Sore Left Knee) Probable
• Luke Walton (Strained Right Hamstring) Probable
• Kenyon Martin (Left Patella Tendon) Out
• Chris Anderson (Right Patella Tendon) Out