Few people thought that this series would go seven games, but it’s here. Nuggets against the Lakers in the Staples Center tonight to get to see who earns the unenviable position of taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round.
The biggest factor for the Lakers is the play of big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. These two are supposed to give L.A. a size advantage in the paint every time out, one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Bynum still had a double-double in game six, pulling down 16 rebounds and scoring 10 points, but he needs to be aggressive on offense and was routinely out-hustled by the Denver bigs. Then he does what A.B. does and refuses to join team huddles and sits around and gets his ‘zen’ on. Gasol was awful, shooting 1-for-11 for three points and grabbing three rebounds. Both players need to step their games up and not get out-worked in game seven or the Lakers will fall. In the three L.A. wins this series, both players have been excellent so it’s clear what needs to happen.
Lucky for the Lakers, Metta World Peace is back from his suspension from elbowing James Harden. Peace is sure to bring the energy and intensity that coach Mike Brown desperately needs. Kobe Bryant said that he is glad that he’s back because he is the only teammate that he can count on the bring the same kind of passion and energy as himself. This could make a huge difference for the Lakers because nobody was hustling or playing with passion besides Bryant in game six.
Today is Nuggets coach George Karl’s 61st birthday. Wow, what a way to spend your birthday and what a terrible day it would be to lose game seven on it. The Nuggets success has come from young energetic players out-working the seasoned vets of the Lakers.
Ty Lawson was phenomenal in game six, scoring 32 points on 13-for-18 shooting and 5-for-6 from 3-point distance while Corey Brewer played great adding 18 points off the bench. Ken Faried or more popularly known as the ‘Manimal’ has been the main force behind the lackluster play of L.A.’s two star bigs. The rookie scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in game six and has proven he could be everything in the NBA that he was in college, a physical rebounding machine.
Odds are stacked against Denver because winning a game seven on the road, especially in Los Angeles is a very tall task to complete. Bryant is one of the most storied and experienced players in NBA history and I just can’t see him letting his team fall flat in a final game at Staples. Bryant is sure to have his teammates ready to play after their despicable lack of interest in the last two contests. I pick the Lakers in a close one, but the Nuggets have proven to the world that you can’t get away with counting them out in this series.