Friday, November 21, 2008

Game 13: Nuggets @ Lakers

(Boulder-CO) I was hoping last night's Lakers vs. Suns game would go into quadruple overtime so Kobe wouldn't have had the luxury of watching the fourth quarter from the bench. Unfortunately, L.A. blackened out the Suns easily, 105-92.
The Lakers are now 9-1 and can still boast the league's largest positive point differential of +13.9 points per game, or should I say wins? The Lakers can also rub the last eight straight wins over the Nuggets - including three wins during last year's regular season, a four-game sweep in last year's playoffs, and a, 104-97, win already this season - in Denver's eye. But... Can they say they've played these Denver Nuggets? I think not!
Sure, the Lakers are a great team. Bynum is back and is playing like a beast. Kobe Bryant could still be the best overall player in the world. Pau Gasol is averaging a double-double of 16.2 points and ten boards. Lamar Odom may not like coming off the bench, but that's not stopping the 6'10" power-point from giving Phil Jackson solid contributions nightly while Vladimir Radmanovic is quietly shooting 45% from three-point range as a starter. So.... So... So what?
Of the nine wins L.A. has stacked up this season, the Nuggets are one of only four teams (Dallas, New Orleans, and Chicago being the others) to keep the Lakers' margin of victory to just seven points. And that first loss to the Lakers was before Chauncey Billups came to town. Since Mr. Big Shot has settled into the Denver landscape, the Nuggets have held opponents to an average of 92.5 points while winning seven of their last eight and defeating the reigning NBA Champion Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs on their home floors. Furthermore, the Nuggets have drastically improved their efficiency offensively by cutting down their turnovers and not relying on the fastbreak as heavily; both of which should improve their chances against the Lakers tonight in L.A. because Kobe and Co. are not prone to turning the ball over or losing the battle of the boards.
Now here are two critical aspects of tonight's game: First, Denver has to get production out of its bench. Before Wednesday's victory over the Spurs when the Nuggets received just 14 points worth of support from its reserves. The Denver bench had been averaging 33.3 points from its subs in the three previous match-ups. Against the well balanced Lakers, who have a combined total of almost 40 points out of their bench players, this is pivotal. The second critical aspect of tonight's game will be field goal percentage. Both teams shoot comparably from the field so my conclusion is, not accounting for any other major development, that the team that shoots the higher percentage tonight will win. Now, I know that's not exactly pin-pointing the exact date of the end of humanity, but believe me when I say that it just might boil down to something that simple tonight when two of the hottest teams in the Western Conference square off.
Go Nuggets!

5 comments:

Robert said...

I've got a thought on tonight, and I want opinions about it from the Doc and anybody else (even btalk).

Forget about Kobe.

Everybody is talking about slowing him down, and it irks me. Do we not remember the Lakers three years ago? When it was the #24 Show, they were questionable to even make the playoffs. It's only since they've rounded out their bench and solidified their 4/5 that they've been this dominant. Hell, even some of the people saying "You have to stop Kobe" acknowledge he never would have won 3 Rings without Diesel.

So just put J.R. on him, or Dhantay, someone with longer arms than Chauncey or AC. But don't double him all night. Instead, smother Bynum and Pau with an extra helping of Predator, Nene and Kenyon. Make sure Vujacic doesn't get hot, and Kobe will have to remember how to win a game all by himself. He might put up 50, but that wasn't working before. At least, not all the time.

Regardless of the outcome, J.R. will relish the chance to show & prove. And I think it's our best chance to win.

I can't be the only person to have thought of this, right?

Robert said...

Radmanovic. Vujacic. Whatever.

Nugg Doctor said...

I'll agree with you to an extent. It would be wise to make Kobe beat us honestly on defense rather than allow him to just pick his passing lanes to wide open big men, but that's a huge-tall-stiff order. Kobe is capable of putting numbers like 81 up on anybody, so doubling him if he's getting off still has its place too.

But I do like the idea of playing Bryant straight up if at all possible. Not shuting him down, but making him work really hard for everything should be the Nuggets goal tonight.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

jjgarcia23 said...

So here is my take on tonight if the nuggs keep the game under 100 then I say its a close game and we win.. If we try to run with them and any of our variables are off (ie our bench) tonight then I say we lose in a game of scoring.. over 100...

on the side note you mentioned yest about our bench suckin it up... well I read today an interesting article of the top 20 dissapointments so far this season.. It ranked JR Smith as the #3.... stating his dropping stats in shooting percentage, points, 3pt percentage... etc.. Maybe we need to look to strengthen our bench for a run this season by looking at possiblities in moving JR?? any opinions Dr? I mean we move one all star for a similar level player with a level head (in chauncey) why not try it some more... and see what we could score.. or do you think JR will come arond mature and develop into the player we need now... get at me.. later

Robert said...

Gaaaah!!!!

Move the Prodigy?!?!

No sir. No no no. The kid is a basketball savant, and when the wind blows the right direction there is literally no one in this league capable of stopping him. Having JR Smith on your team is like owning a pack of wolves. Sometimes it might bite you in the ass, but if it goes right there's no stopping 'em.

Besides, if you listen to his interviews and look at his eyes, it's obvious he belongs on the Nuggets. If only for figurative reasons.