On Sunday night, the Lakers traveled to Denver for the second half of a home and away back to back. The Lakers took game 1, but home court and youth were on the Nuggets side for game 2. The Lakers got great games from Pau “the Gas Man” Gasol and Andrew “Great Potential” Bynum, keeping the game close. Then, Kobe “took over” and blew the game for them. His bricklayer performance (6-28, 16 points, 2 boards) was the old man version of his 2009 finals game 7 ugly (6-24, 23 points, 15 boards) — fewer trips to the line and no rebounding. Bad sign for the Lakers.
The Nuggets took full advantage of old man Kobe, letting him take tough jump shots and then leaking a player as soon as the shot went up. On one Kobe brick, Danilo Gallinari got a football pass and a dunk alone at the Lakers end with no one else on that half of the court. Kobe was probably still holding his follow through.
I was pretty impressed with the Nuggets ingenuity. Most guards never offensive rebound, but they don’t turn around and head back to their end right away either. They generally stand there, waiting to see if the shot will go in or take a lucky bounce. Big men rarely bother to work around a box out (especially big softies like the Gas Man). It seems like there’s not much reason for the defending guards to hang around. Nice work Nuggets. You and the Pacers are the typical 45 or 50 win, young, high-effort NBA playoff team with no chance of winning it all. Kinda like the Seattle Scientists. The NBA needs more teams like you.