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Western Conference 1st Round – Game 7

Its May 12, 2012 and the (3) Los Angeles Lakers find themselves with one last chance to end their series with the (6) Denver Nuggets. The hope in Los Angeles is that the Lakers have learned their lesson from failing to beat the Nuggets at home, with a three games to one advantage and momentum on their side.

The Lakers failure to make adjustments and close gave the Nuggets a new lease on life and turned what should have been a task completed into a seven-game series. The purple and gold got behind early, for the second consecutive-game, came back to get the game within reach at halftime.

Only to allow the Nuggets to extend their lead and push said lead back into double-digits in route to an embarrassing 113-96 loss. After getting literally ran off the floor, it is imperative that the Lakers rely on aggressiveness, energy and owning every possession.   The Lakers are facing a 48-minute season and need to play accordingly.

The Lakers have to play hard and prove that they want it more than the Nuggets. Metta World Peace’s defense will make a huge difference. Peace’s presence will not allow the Nuggets to post up Ramon Sessions & Steve Blake as an example.

The Lakers need to make the following adjustments: 1) Laker guards have to stop getting into mismatch on the pick and roll play where a smaller player is defending a larger player. 2) Laker guards have to fight over the screen. 3) Laker perimeter defenders have to keep the Nuggets from attacking the painted area. 4) Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol must be physical, aggressive and attack the glass and the basket.

In order for the Lakers season to continue, the purple and gold have to play hard, play with energy and finally get off to a fast start. The Lakers have to play with a sense of urgency, execute on offense and play with passion on every possession. The Lakers have to use solid ball movement, good player movement, get into a flow offensively and use proper spacing. Solid ball movement and proper spacing are big for the Lakers and ball reversals to move to ball from the strong side to the weak side to find a high percentage shots.

The Lakers have to control the tempo, do a solid job of defending the pick-and-roll play, stop the penetration of the guards, get back in transition and quickly rotate out to open shooters. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have to be a huge factor in this game on both sides of the court and both have to do a better job of protecting the paint.

Starters
Lakers: R. Sessions, K. Bryant, M. Peace, P.Gasol, A. Bynum
Nuggets:
T. Lawson, A. Afflalo, D. Gallinari, K. Faried, K. Koufos 

Tip-off: 7:30 pm pst

Television

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz) & TNT
  • Denver: Altitude Sports & Entertainment (Chris Marlowe & Scott Hastings ) & TNT

Radio

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

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Sprained Right Ankle) Day-to-Day
  • Devin Ebanks (Middle & Ring Finger Contusions, Left Hand) Probable

Nuggets:

  • Al Harrington (Knee) Day-to-Day