Los Angeles goes up three games to one following their Sunday evening win over the Nuggets in Denver.
Trailing by six at half time, L.A. came from behind, playing just good enough to win. This certainly isn’t the dominant Laker team from years past, but rather an adequate squad that can’t be looking forward to the Thunder with much confidence. Oklahoma disposed of the reigning NBA champion Mavs with ease and are hungry for their first championship.
But back to Los Angeles, where Kobe Bryant led the team with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Andrew Bynum added 19 points and 7 rebounds and Pau Gasol chipped in 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. The big three for L.A. came to play, but no one put up monster numbers. The real story was the LA bench that came up with 26 points.
They were still out-scored by the Denver bench that came up with 39 points; but that’s ok. Everyone knew the Denver bench was strong. The key here was that the L.A. bench was at least capable of producing 26 points. This is infinitely better than the game three bench play where L.A. came up with only 9 points to Denver’s 39.
Danilo Gallinari lead the Denver attack with 20 points on 9-16 shooting. Andre Miller also helped the attack with 15 points off the bench. Denver shot themselves in the foot with poor shooting from beyond the arc. The Nuggets shot only 15 percent from 3-point land, going 3-19 as a team. That’s simply pathetic.
Los Angeles wasn’t much better from downtown, but still managed to shoot 29 percent on 5-for-17 shooting. The Denver ineptitude with the deep ball likely cost them the game.
Kobe talked about the key role of 3-point shooting after the game. "Sessions has hit big 3s. Even when I was out he hit some big 3s to win games. He did it again tonight. I have confidence in him," Bryant said. "If you're observing the game in the third quarter I hit Sessions for an open shot, Blake for an open shot and (Matt) Barnes for an open shot and they missed all three of them. George (Karl), being observant as he is, saw I was (ticked). I was and didn't think I would trust them at the end of the game to knock down those shots, but they stepped up and knocked them down."
Denver is going to have to shoot better than this if their collaborative attack is going to have a chance of coming back against the Los Angeles squad of all stars. The reality is, Denver doesn’t have a chance. This series is probably done in five.
Photo Credit: AP
Michael Brouillet is the lead basketball writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him @Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.