Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nuggets vs. Lakers: Game 40 Preview

(Boulder-CO) You didn’t know that the Lakers have the fourth best record in the Western Conference, did you? Surprising as that may be, L.A. has been playing some really strong and disciplined basketball in the first half of the season, and it wasn’t until young center Andrew Bynum went down with a knee injury that required surgery that the Lakers even lost their twelfth game. Furthermore, the Lakers have already handed the Nuggets two losses so far this season with the second defeat squandering a 51-point effort by Allen Iverson.

Without Andrew Bynum, the Lakers have turned to Kwame Brown with very limited success. Bynum was averaging 13.1 points and team-highs with 10.2 rebounds and two blocks per game in comparison to the five points and five rebounds L.A. has been seeing from Brown. And without Bynum, the Lakers are down to only three players who are scoring in double-figures. Once again, leaving Kobe Bryant to shoulder even more of the load.

But the Nuggets are currently experiencing just the opposite. Linas Kleiza has been coming on strong, and with his latest 41-point outburst, the Lakers should be put on notice of him and J.R. Smith. Lately, Smith has been showing up with more regularity and it has been a blessing in disguise. In his last four games, Smith is averaging 14.2 points per game stemming from a recent rash of 8-22 from downtown and has been instrumental in sparking key comeback efforts. In his last five games, (with forwards Nene and Kenyon Martin out with varying medical issues), Linas Kleiza is averaging 15.6 points and six rebounds in almost 30 minutes per game. This now gives the Nuggets four players scoring in double figures, in addition to the league’s most potent scoring combination of Allen Iverson (27.1 ppg) and Carmelo Anthony (25.8 ppg).

Now, on paper, this game looks to be a great contest, but all the statistical categories that the Lakers and Nuggets were so similar in were in direct relation to a Laker team that included Andrew Bynum. Without Bynum, I think the Lakers are going to slide back into the middle of the Pacific Division and who better to send them into a two-game slide than the Denver Nuggets? Marcus Camby is having his best year ever, Carmelo is rebounding (finally), and Allen Iverson is still able to take over any game at anytime. All in all, Denver isn’t looking like a team in that much disarray seeing how they have all but lost their presumed starting point guard (Chucky Atkins) to a hernia that will take the majority of the rest of the season to recover from, and two power forwards indefinitely (Nene and Kenyon Martin) to a testicular tumor and a staph infection on the buttocks.

So, barring any kind of massive offensive showing by Kobe Bryant I think the Nuggets should be able to extend their current two-game winning streak to three games against the Lakers. I haven’t made a prediction in awhile, but I’m pretty confident on this one.

Go Nuggets!

5 comments:

NoYPi said...

NuggDoc,

Who do you think Coach Karl is going to support, the Nuggets or the Lakers?

Reason I ask is because it seems as though he doesn't seem to believe in his own team (see ESPN quoted comment below) and his son Coby plays for the Lakers:

From ESPN:
"I feel like a thief tonight," said Karl, whose team finished 4-0 against Minnesota this season. "We weren't the better team, but we won. I'm happy we don't have to play them again. If we did, we would probably lose."

Am I understanding this wrong? Or should he have been more specific by saying we would lose by the way we are playing or with us being so short-handed or something to that effect?

What's up with that?

Anyway, we really need to win against the Lakers this year. Them without Bynum and our Nuggets without Nene, Martin and Atkins is not even, but we're capable. ;)

Go NUGGETS!!

Nugg Doctor said...

Noypi,

I think what George Karl meant was the Nuggets didn't play good enough to really win that game, but rather Minnesota played just poorly enough for them to do so. As far as son, Coby, is concerned... I doubt he will even play. And if he does, may God have mercy on his soul if he is asked to defend Carmelo.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

ThaAnswer said...

I'm sorry but Jalen Rose has a column on ESPN.com about MVP contenders. Kobe, Lebron, Garnett...yea yea. Even a mention of Ginobli and Parker! AI never gets any consideration.

3rd in points, 7th in steals, 11th in assists (both of which have seemingly dropped recently). Not only is he getting screwed in the All-Star voting (I can only assume Chinamen are voting for the oft-injured T-Mac along w/Yao), but not a hint of MVP talk. Or maybe I'm bias.

Also, Damon Stoudamire. On the block. Sure think we could use him for the rest of the year. Chucky might as well hang it up and we need a point guard BAD.

NoYPi said...

I agree with you thaanswer. By definition valuable is:

1 a: having monetary value b: worth a good price
2 a: having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities /valuable friendships b: of great use or service /valuable advice

1 a & b: There is noone in Professional Basketball that earns his paycheck like AI. He brings it EVERY night, no matter what.
2 a: All of his teammates respect him for the hard work and endless effort that he brings. b: Like I said, service is in full swing EVERY game from AI.

Looks as though everything today in the NBA is a popularity contest. My opinion is that it is hard for these Player turned Commentators (or whatever they like to call themselves) like Jalen, Kenny, Charles "dumbass" Barkley (I used to be a fan) is that it is hard for them to be objective because at one point or another they were offended by one or more of AI's moves when he was young. Now they are probably insecure that a small guy like AI can accomplish more than they ever could.

Everything comes down to popularity, the All Star Team Selection, Rankings, MVP, or anything that comes from the "ex-Player Commentators", hell even the games that the networks pick to play on National TV! You always see the Spurs, the Lakers because of Kobe, the Cavs because of Lebron etc. The only time you see the Nuggets is when they are playing one of these teams! Like today!! I'll finally be able to watch another Nuggets game on TNT. I could go on and on about this but it will make no difference.

I just really hope we can get one back against the Lakers even if it's without Nene, Martin and half a Najera.

Go NUGGETS!!

Brandon said...

Nugg Doctor,

Hey Docta',

Looking forward to tonight's game. With Bynum out, look for Kobe to score 40 + and the Lakers to escape by a narrow margin.

Hoffman