Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nuggets Even the Series

The Denver Nuggets were looking at a bleak future heading into last night's Game 4 match-up with the L.A. Lakers. Their star player, Carmelo Anthony, was visibly sick and banged up. They were committing stupid penalties and turnovers that had kept the Lakers in the series. Finally, Denver blew an eight point lead going into the 4th quarter of Game 3, to lose 103-97. It looked as though the Nuggets were finished and the Lakers would be heading back to Los Angeles up 3-1. Denver responded to their naysayers by dominating the Lakers and winning 120-101.

The Nuggets were in control of that game from start to finish, but put up an impressive 43 points (or two less than the Lakers had the entire first half) in the fourth quarter to ensure they didn't collapse like they did in Game 3. The win was even more impressive due to the fact that Anthony had his worst game of the series. The Denver star contributed just 15 points on 3-16 shooting (though he went 9-11 from the line) and added only three rebounds, as he battled a twisted ankle and a stomach virus. Anthony's struggles didn't affect the outcome of the game, as six other Nuggets scored in double figures. Denver was led by guards Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith, who each had 24 points. Smith had been Denver's most effective scorer off the bench during the regular season and the first two rounds. In the first three games the Lakers had kept him in check, holding him to a combined 21 points.  Last night the Lakers couldn't stop Smith, as he scored 12 points in the 4th quarter. Smith hit three big 3-pointers in the last 5 minutes to put the game out of reach for the Lakers. In addition to out shooting the Lakers the Nuggets controlled the tempo of the game with their success on the boards. Denver out-rebounded L.A. 58-40 overall and 20-9 on the offensive glass. Their second chance points were a deciding factor in last night's game. 

Denver now head's back to L.A. with the series tied 2-2. Not many people give them much of a chance to upset the Lakers, but i think it's a very real possibility. Denver has been in every game down to the last minute. In fact, they've led most of the way in every game. The Lakers can't make either claim, as they were blown out in the 4th quarter and have usually entered the last frame playing catch-up. The Nuggets are also getting a better performance out of their bench and their other starters. The Lakers are still too reliant on Kobe Bryant and haven't featured Gasol, Bynum and Odom nearly enough. Last night Odom only managed five points in almost 30 minutes. Until the Lakers can show they are more than a one trick pony I don't see how they overcome the Nuggets. 

No comments:

Post a Comment