From the tip, the Lakers were in consistent control. Despite Kobe Bryant struggling offensively in the first half, they were able to play Lakers basketball and keep the tempo moderate. Slowing the game down threw off Denver’s uptempo offense. In the half court set, the Lakers’ height was too much of an obstacle for the Nuggets. First time All Star Andrew Bynum lived up that title on the defensive end by tying an NBA Playoff single game record with 10 blocked shots en route to a Triple Double. Devin Ebanks effectively filled the void created by the suspension of Metta World Peace. He played with confidence on both sides of the ball bringing energy to his Lakers team. This was a pretty convincing victory for Los Angeles.
Stars of the Game:
LAL: Kobe Bryant, SG, 31 points (shooting 9/14 in the 2nd half), 9/11 Free Throws
DEN: Danilo Gallinari, SF, 19 shooting 50% from the field, (5/6 Free Throws)
LAL: Andrew Bynum, C, Ties NBA Playoff record with 10 blocked shots, 13 rebounds
DEN: Arron Afflalo, SG, Defense made Kobe Bryant work for his baskets
There were two words that summed up this game: Height and Tempo. The Nuggets could not compete with the height of the Lakers. Additionally, Denver played into the slower Lakers’ tempo which made it difficult for the Nuggets to get into their offensive flow. The two Los Angeles All Stars played like such today which contributed to the victory.
Top 3 Concerns:
- Bench scoring (DEN: 43, LAL: 23)
- Andrew Bynum’s lack of shot attempts
- Post players need to have their presence felt on both ends of the court.
- Perimeter shooting needs to be improved
- Ty Lawson needs to assert himself more into the offense
Arron Afflalo played exceptional defense on Kobe Bryant. Kobe will not be able to be contained forever. Therefore, Denver must make the extra effort to keep everybody else on the floor limited. JaVale McGee is going to have to step up if Denver expects to put up a fight in this series. His athletic ability at 7 feet tall can be Denver’s answer to Andrew Bynum, or at the minimum, Pau Gasol. He cannot make silly plays and must make the easy shots that are presented to him. He will need to rebound, especially on the defensive end, thus limiting the Lakers’ second chance opportunities. Also, Denver will need to find additional offense. Danilo Gallinari was carrying the load offensively for the majority, if not entirety, of the night.
Kobe Bryant started the game off very quiet, but was still able to generate for his team. His four first half assists got his team involved and the offense flowing. He was not scoring but his presence was not absent. The Lakers got scoring elsewhere, efficiently, as they had six players in double figures of whom, four shot 50% or higher (Jordan Hill, Andrew Bynum, Devin Ebanks, and Ramon Sessions). Steve Blake also provided energy & three point shooting off the bench (3/6 from 3 point range).
3 Keys to Next Game:
- Integrate Andrew Bynum into the offense
- Devin Ebanks will have to continue his efficient and confident play
- Get more production from the bench
- Get the Lakers’ big men into foul trouble
- Maintain uptempo play
- Swarm the paint on defense
Tuesday, May 1
10:30 PM ET
Also, Be sure to Follow Me on Twitter!