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Lakers-Nuggets Game 1: No time to... well, anything

Kobe and Carmelo Given only one day to prepare, the Lakers will be working off the Cliffs' Notes edition of the scouting report- a little shorter, lacking in nuance- tonight as they kick off the Western Conference Finals at home against the Denver Nuggets (6 pm, ESPN).  That's all the players have had time to absorb.  The good news?  A) Denver, who are often improvisational on the offensive end and aren't devoted to a variety of sets, aren't exactly the most nuanced of teams, and B) Kobe Bryant saw the matchup coming, so he's had time to think about it.  The Lakers will be focused on energy and execution (it doesn't take a scouting report to play hard), and add more layers of understanding as the series goes along. 

The Nuggets, meanwhile, mindful of their reputation and not-so-distant past, were saying all the right things at practice Monday, and are (or at least their coach is) excited at the opportunity in front of them.  Really, there's no time to get into a rhetorical battle, anyway.  (And besides, Kenyon Martin is still tied up with Mark Cuban.  It's a shame that WWE event set for the same night a Game 4 at Pepsi Center has been bumped. Could have been an undercard there.)  Or for the Nuggets to visit any local slingers of ink, though the tats Denver's squad has already carry plenty of meaning. 

(Frankly, if the series comes down to a battle of tats, the Lakers are screwed.)

But while there isn't much WCF related news, there's no shortage of analysis and opinion for a series even locals think will be tough.  Get yourself a latte and settle in.  This could take a while...


-Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer has Five Questions about the series, and has the Lakers in seven (two more previews in that last link, btw). 

-For all the talk of Chauncey Billups, the key for Denver is still a big series from an improved Carmelo Anthony.  A more mature 'Melo, too.

-In fact, look for the WCF to bring out the best in both Anthony and Kobe.

-The LAT's Mark Heisler has the Lakers winning the series, but it can't just be about sheer talent.

-ESPN's John Hollinger notes that the Nuggets have been hotter not just in the playoffs, but down the stretch.  He has Denver... but isn't betting the farm.

-More questions from Fox Sports, and Charley Rosen weighs in.  As does the Denver Post's Woody Paige, who believes the Nuggets can advance... with Game 1 being especially important.

-SI's Lee Jenkins wonders if the Houston series exposed fundamental flaws in the Lakers that Denver might exploit.

VIDEO: I mentioned the Nuggets are saying the right things.  AK was at their practice yesterday, and has video evidence to prove the point.

Anthony, on his relationship with Kobe:

Anthony, on how the Nuggets will try to defend Kobe:

Billups, on Denver's dedication to defense:

Kenyon Martin, on physical play against the Lakers:

OTHER NON-WCF NEWS:

There are a couple nuggets (no pun intended) of interest.

BK 

 
Comments () | Archives (40)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Edwin G.
LOL. You're on a roll today with your posts. I'm stil laughing. We need some laughter after that grueling 7 games series.

Considering that the last time the Nuggets went to the WCF was in 1985, they sure are cocky and disrespectful towards our guys. I mean for KMart to say we're going to L.A to win both games and we're not talking about stealing. That's total disrespect. It just goes to show how classy the Lakers are. I hope the Lakers are aware of his remarks and hope that they crush them in game 1. And stop putting them on a pedestal. The Nuggests don't deserve it coming from these Lakers.

Crush the Nuggets.

I love my Lakers.....

"Lee Jenkins wonders if the Houston series exposed fundamental flaws in the Lakers that Denver might exploit."

Absolutely. Tell Denver not to play their two best players.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say lakers in 5. I know this is a really tough match up but I feel (or hope) that the lakers will come out looking to prove their the best team period. Especially after what went down with houston if the lakers come out leaving no bullets in the chamber Denver simply can't play with them. However, knowing how bipolar these lakers are it'll probably take 6 or 7 games to win. Either way, as long as we win it's all good.

Go Lakers

First and foremost, my prayers go out to Brian Grant and his family. I have a family member with Parkinson's and although the fight isn't impossible, it certainly is hard.

Now to basketball...

I'm not saying anything you haven't already heard or read but the Lakers must play with the same intensity they played with in games 5 & 7 on the Rockets series. There is no other way we dominate Denver unless we do.

Unlike most pundits, I still don't buy Denvers' newfound focus on defense. Much like the Lakers, Denver's defense is sporradic and they get caught up in one to one matchups a lot. I think this series is going to be an offensive showdown with the Lakers coming out on top. I expect Pau and Bynum to re-establish themselves but they haveto be willing to get physical down there. I've never been happier to see Pau play than when he played game 7 and showed tons of heart and emotion. That's the way you play the game.

Looking forward to a great round against Denver...let's do this Lakers!

And to all Laker fans at Staples...please act like you really enjoy the game. I can't stand the silence in the crowd sometimes. Our team needs you. Be loud and proud!

Despite being the top seed the lakers' draw was more difficult. The Rockets, even without Yao, are a better team than the soft Mavs. The Lakers will show the world how good they truly are tonight.

BK,

>>> Get yourself a latte and settle in.

Surely you jest.

What does "passed Kobe" mean? He's a more dominant player? Controls more of the game? He doesn't have 3 rings, hasn't scored 82, but he sure looks like he's carrying his team on his back, even though we all know that's impossible for anyone including Mike.

That's why the inevitable, the foreseen, the prophesy must be realized. Kobe v Lebron 1.


Tough, tough news about B Grant. A class act and a guy the Laker faithful often misunderstood because of his contract which was just the number that got the Shaq deal done. Playoff games are given life and death importance. Misguided.

AK/BK,

Will the first question you ask Kobe,when given he opportunity, be: "What do you think about Jerry West saying Lebron has surpassed you as a player?"

Would give anything to have seen Kobe's reaction after reading that.

Interesting timing Logo. Very interesting...

"Lee Jenkins wonders if the Houston series exposed fundamental flaws in the Lakers that Denver might exploit."

Absolutely. Tell Denver not to play their two best players.

Posted by: exhelodrvr |

Haha! Nice one exhelodrvr!

Always a gem in your articles, BK. Today it was definitely the "undercard" crack. Excellent.

GAME ON!

Mini Banner Holder-ette is safe and secure and I'm back on the 9 to 5 tip which renders me available to resume Game Day Prayer duty. Many of y'all have been checkin' for me to man my post over the last 3 weeks but FAMILY came first, folks. Hard to burp a baby and type at the same time.

So...without further ado...LET US PRAY!

DEAR LORD, Our prayer is simple. We know who this team can be if they allow themselves - individually and collectively - the freedom to bask in their own greatness. We ask You Lord to move each Laker player out of their own way. We ask You to push them past statistics, points, averages, PER's, media hype, haters, naysayers and playa-haters, and their own mental blocks, fears, doubts and concerns. Give them the freedom to abandon all that noise and clutter and to choose DESTINY!

Lord, this team HAS THE POWER to SWEEP (yes, SWEEP!) the Denver Nuggets. The only thing that can stop them from doing so is THEMSELVES Not tattoos. Not taunts from K-Mart or blocks from Birdman. Not the thin Denver air. But THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS THEMSELVES.

THEY alone let Houston force a Game 7. THEY ALONE can stop Denver from even seeing Game 5.

We ask You for MENTAL TOUGHNESS, spirited, intense and focused basketball for the entire 48 minutes of the contest, and for TOTAL DOMINANCE on the hardwood.

IT IS OUR TIME
IT IS OUR DESTINY
IT IS OUR TEAM!

And, if You grant them the courage to move out of their own way, they can and will TAKE HOLD OF THE PRIZE! We trust You. We believe in You. We expect our prayers to be answered as we give You thanks for blessing our Lakers to see another Western Conference Finals.

AMEN!

This is my wish tonight:

Phil lets Bynum play more than 20 minutes

The team actually throws the ball to Bynum

If Fish is struggling Phil gets off his high horse and puts Brown on Billups. I like that matchup!

Stick on JR Smith like white on rice.

Lakers win by 20

BD

ADDENDUM TO GAME DAY PRAYER:

Lord, above all else - including our desires for wins and championships and things that will fade at the end of the age, we ask You to manifest Yourself as a HEALER for Brian Grant. Heal his mind & body and renew his spirit. Touch him and heal him for Your glory as only You can...

AMEN!

There's something to be said for peaking at the right time and Denver has been playing well but they only beat "The window is now officially closed" Dallas and one game the refs gave them in Dallas. They have had virtually no success against the Lakers in recent history and we have the home court so we should advance. Having said that, the Lakers better show some heart and toughness or they will lose. If they play to their ability they win, but they have demonstrated the ability to beat themselves. Makes me nervous. We lived to fight again. Hopefully we learned to fight harder.

I say that if Kenyon Martin punks Pau (I mean like the cheap shots to the face or the push he gave Dirk last series) we should have Fisher give him the "Scola treatment".

Go Lakers!!!

GOTTA RESPECK THE LOGO....

I do think that to some degree he's right I'm a diehard Laker fan. Been fighting for Kobe for 13 years. BUT, the changing of the guard is amongst us.

All this "Crowning" of LeBron before he's won anything is a bit much, but it's media hype. Whateva.

Kobe can change all of this talk with one simple thing. A win VS Lebron in the NBA Finals.

I AM VERY INTERESTED to see Kobe's response to this tonite.

Please Kobe, drop 50 on these fools.

AMEN, utzworld to both the prayer and the addendum.

#4

i wish all of U fans and the team a great series.

in honor of Faith, we r playing the second "powder baby blue team"

let's PULVERIZE them

LGL

This is my wish tonight:

Phil lets Bynum play more than 20 minutes

The team actually throws the ball to Bynum

If Fish is struggling Phil gets off his high horse and puts Brown on Billups. I like that matchup!

Stick on JR Smith like white on rice.

Lakers win by 20

BD

Posted by: BD | May 19, 2009 at 11:05 AM

============================
If only PH will let Bynum play we win hands down. Don't send AB into battle with one hand tied behind his back.

PJ still trying to destroy AB's confidence. Did anyone notice the back handed compliment PJ paid to Bynum when reporter asked about AB's improved play?

If you forgot or missed it he said AB played good offensively (compliment) but that he basically just a put back kind of player (insult).

PJ must have been asleep when AB (prior to injuries both seasons) was making all kinds of post moves to score. Yup that dunk on Shaq was just a put back.

PJ needs to let Bynum grow both in his game and confidence instead of sabotaging him like he has done with so many players.

And what is PJ doing when we up 25-30 points and Pau or Kobe still in game. Game decided why not rest them?

Consider the series over...BANNER HOLDER is back and we're a praying bunch again. :-) Glad to hear the newest addition is doing well Banner. We missed your prayers.

GO LAKERS!

ouchhhhhhh, where's Faith...you make it sound like she's gone for good. Don't scare us like that.

I love the fact that Denver is being considered a favorite in a lot of peoples eyes. Laker's will be all the more motivated with the world doubting there ability and resolve. Below is a list of reason's why the Lakers will be able to defeat the Nuggets in the series and move onto the NBA Finals.

#1: Denver has yet to face any true competition on its way to the West Finals ( Lakers beat the Rockets 2 out of 3 with Yao Ming)

#2: Denver is far less disciplined than the Lakers and can unravel at any point (JR. Smith, Carmelo, and especially Kenyon)

#3 Match ups clearly favor the Lakers in my opinion

#4: This situation is nothing new to the Lakers remember they made the finals last year

#5: Lakers have a better coach

#6: Denver is coming off 6 full days or no playoff basketball just practice and giving good comments to the media at practice

#7: Facing adversity in the 2nd. round will pay HUGE dividends to the Lakers in the long haul

Prediction: Lakers in 5

Very Nice.

AMEN.

I LIKE THE BLOG.....WHEN DID ARIZA BECOME SCOTTY PIPPEN.....HE IS ONE OF THE PLAYERS IM WORRIED ABOUT AND HE DEFINATLEY BETTER THAN ODOM, WALTON, LIL SASHA,....THE KID CAN BALL AND HE 'S A GREAT ATHELETE....BUT NOW WAY CAN HE GUARD...MELO.....NOT TODAY NOT TOMMORROWW.....WHAT I WANNA KNOW IF POSSIBLE....
WHERE DOES THE HEAVY AMOUNT OF ARROGANCE ...COME FROM .....THE HOU ...SERIES ...THE BANNERS ABOVE THE STAPLES CENT FLOOR....JERRY WEST ...MAGIC....WHAT IS IT.......YOU KNOW YOU DONT GET TO CARRY OVER RINGS FROM YEARS PAST....I KNOW THE NUGGS ARE STILL TRYING TO MAKE NOISE.....BUT WE HAVE NO DOUBT PLAYED BETTER BALL SINCE FEB THAN LA.....IF THE LAKE SHOW STRUGGLED BAD ....WIT H-TOWN AND ALL THOSE 6"6 GUYS OUT THERE MAKING GASOL LOOK LIKE ...THE BEST CENTER EVER.....IF BEATING THAT BEAT UP TEAM MAKES YOU FEEL SUPERIOR TO EVERY OTHER FRANCHISE..THEN ..THERE WILL BE SOME STUNNED VIEWERS....IT ' NEW DAY......THINGS DO CHANGE........

Good to see Vegas hasn't lost faith in the Lakers in winning the series.

-280 on the Lakers
+240 on the Thuggs

My guess is they haven't heard that Phil Jackson coaches the team.

BD


Why did we have the best record in the West? BECAUSE WE ARE THE BEST TEAM!! But, we have to prove that again. Let the logo know that the torch has not yet been passed to a new generation.

And, . . .

GOOOooooOOOOOOO LAKERS!!!!

BK


Excellent Job on the Scouting Reports so far......but I'm wondering.......how much will coaching play into this series?

In the report above you suggest:

"The Lakers will be focused on energy and EXECUTION(it doesn't take a scouting report to play hard), and add more layers of understanding as the series goes along".


The idea of execution implies there is a gameplan. The idea of a gameplan implies that a coach has made one......that coach being Phil Jackson. Do you have any idea what that gameplan is? Do you have an opinion on what the gameplan SHOULD be to put the Lakers in the best position for success.

If playing hard is important (and it is) How much more important is the gameplan? Will the wrong gameplan discourage hard work or cause confusion? Think about it.........You're a contractor that is putting new shingles on a roof.......you gather all your materials and make several trips up and down your ladder to place the materials on the roof......and on the very last trip up the ladder.......you find your assistant has perched the ladder against the wrong house. In that scenario you have both hard work and execution..........but a faulty plan.


Which brings to mind, what adjustments will Phil Jackson make with his overall gameplanning strategies this series? Will he stick with the same rotations? Should he stick with the same rotations? How long will it take him to make obvious adjustments? Will it take him a quarter? A half? A game? 2 games? The summer? Never?

Denver is a very quick and athletic team........Will we counter with quickness and athleticism? Will we continue to see Luke Walton? Is playing Luke Walton a good strategy in this series? Should Derek Fisher continue getting minutes against Chauncey Billups?

Should we go with quicker more athletic players off the bench like Josh Powell and Shannon Brown?

These things make up the gameplan. I know Kobe is ready and I hope the others follow suit........but as the series goes forth will anybody monitor or examine if Phil Jackson has perched his ladder against the wrong house?


EastCoastJessie

Faith is around. sorry u missed maybe the live chat during the utah series, when Faith was the first one to "brand" the baby powder blue uniform of utah. i was just "in homage" to Faith. also she is the one who calls the games, wins, on the live chat.

JustaLakerFan,

I have to stay positive today please don't get me started on Phil. LOL!

BD

This is it!
After having read all the comments I have to take a stand on this series:

Lakers in 5

Wins: 1 2 4 5
Loss: 3

Baywood

The Logo never lies, but he also said Kobe was the one he'd pick to take the last shot.

Please tell me PJ starts Drew today, and like someone else said, he plays him more than 20 minutes.

Any chance we can fly Mark Cuban in and seat him next to KMart's mom? Just kidding, kind of.

I"ll say Lakeshow in 6. This includes taking into account any "mail in games" the Lakes might still have left in them.

JustaLakerFan

I TOTALLY agree with you, PJ does not want andrew being agressive on offense, i've posted before that i believe PJ is battling with Jim Buss over Andrew, I also believe he's trying to solidify lamar odom a new contract by playing him extended minutes....not that odom doesn't deserve those minutes, but not at Bynums expense, Lamar is one of the more versatile players in the league he can play all 5 positions on the floor, but for PJ he only plays power forward, This is one reason why we hardly see the lakers dominate teams like we know they can, phil doesn't take advantage of his players talents and the'yr versatility, i truly hope we win it all this year but Phils coaching scares me, along with kobe's non-chalant attitude....i'm just not as confident in a title this year

What The Logo said: "But more than that, he's a great teammate. You can see his teammates love him."

It's as simple as that. The Cavs play hard because LeBron plays hard and his teammates love him.

The Lakers? Well, let's just say it's not as simple as that.

I've said this since early in the year. Nice to see Jerry West agrees with me. I'll take his opinion every day over anyone on this board!

bigg melo,

How come your post come in all caps and your name is so small? I don't have 20/20 vision anymore but still get dizzy in reading your post. I guess that's how mountain people make noise against lowlanders, it has to be in big letters. You got it right man, Ariza can play ball, include there Shannon Brown he can guard your Billups who is a smaller PG.

On another note, I'm sorry to hear about Brian Grant, wish he could conquer the early stage of Parkinson's. Our prayers too for the family of late Wayman Tisdale.

Doesn't anyone of you think George Karl has become too cocky or arrogant??

He does not have that humbleness he used to have, and now talks as if they are the best defensive stoppers and the greatest offensive scorers!!

He has NOT won anything until now, and he's talking like Pat Riley!

Lets stuff his mouth with our wins so that he never gets to talk again...

Kobe Bryant is so very great that alot of people over look his flow. You see LBJ might get more assist per game but people fail to realize kobe most of the time is thinking 2 and 3 steps ahead (like chess) and in doing so he is setting up and assist for somone els. It is my personal opinon that the leauge has set LBJ in a position to clear out the lane for him. If you look when he enters the lane he is the only one, now is that because hes so good, i think not. It is an effort by the head of things to create the image for him as the chosen one. Its not that Kobe wasnt good enough for them its the notion why settle. Even with this being done can it stop the true chosen one? I think not, Kobes will, will be done thanks for reading.

JustaLakerFan,

I have to stay positive today please don't get me started on Phil. LOL!

BD

Posted by: BD | May 19, 2009 at 12:17 PM

=====
OK I'll try but I am positive that if PJ leaves AB to play and get touches AB's defense will be there. I am positive the lakers win in that case! LOL

To all Laker fans going to Staples, come early.

First, the game is 6:00 pm not 7:30

Second, American Idol Finals will be held across the street at Nokia Live, this is the mano mano with the NBA playoffs

Third, If you miss the first half, then you missed the game that is the only time when Denver will show up.

Haha, laker fans arrogance is in the air. Everytime I see the tattoos of K-Mart on the neck, I having goose pimple, it means trouble. Let's bring in our local homeboys.

JustaLakerFan

I TOTALLY agree with you, PJ does not want andrew being agressive on offense, i've posted before that i believe PJ is battling with Jim Buss over Andrew, I also believe he's trying to solidify lamar odom a new contract by playing him extended minutes....not that odom doesn't deserve those minutes, but not at Bynums expense, Lamar is one of the more versatile players in the league he can play all 5 positions on the floor, but for PJ he only plays power forward, This is one reason why we hardly see the lakers dominate teams like we know they can, phil doesn't take advantage of his players talents and the'yr versatility, i truly hope we win it all this year but Phils coaching scares me, along with kobe's non-chalant attitude....i'm just not as confident in a title this year

Posted by: sugarhill | May 19, 2009 at 12:27 PM

================
You are an echo of what I have been saying for a long time. I am glad you see what I see and agree with you too.

I hope LO gets contract but he is better suited off the bench backing Pau up. I say after all is said and done we get rid of Luke and Amo in package to get a veteran PG and another sf/sg.

On the subject of the greatest player who played the game. Well, I have been hearing this phrase for the last 40 years, every decade a player will surface as the greatest until he is dislodged by a younger version. The younger player always is the better version of the older generation. Therefore, it is too early to judge Kobe and Lebron and also MJ, Magic and Larry Bird, let the future generation do the judging while the past remain with the past. Perhaps, in 2050, this issue will be settled by a basketball historian i.e. in reference to this time frame.

How come the logo did not consider Luuuuuke," I'm the greatest on my fave. Luke 1, 2,3,4, 5."


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