Lakers – 96
Nuggets – 87
Lakers – Pau Gasol: 23 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks
Nuggets – Ty Lawson: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
The key word to this game was endurance. Both teams were winded from their seven game series and the fatigue was apparent. The Lakers, however, were able to endure long enough to end the Nuggets’ playoff runThe Lakers put up a balanced effort, getting production from a variety of sources. Kobe Bryant only scored 17 points, but distributed the ball generously, dishing out 8 assists. The Nuggets double team had some effects on Kobe’s scoring chances, but his efficiency was still noted through his passing.
Metta World Peace returned from his seven game suspension and provided energy for the Lakers. He scored 15 points and brought his top notch defense as he is known for doing. Steve Blake stepped up to the plate also, scoring 19 points including 5-6 from 3-point range. With the role players knocking down huge key buckets, the pressure on Kobe is lessened and allows him to spread the ball more. It also increases his confidence in his teammates and helps them have confidence in themselves.
With all that said, this game was won in the paint. The Lakers’ big men, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, stepped up to the plate and played like big time performers when it mattered the most. The two of them dominated the paint on both ends, especially rebounding the ball. They combined for 35 rebounds, including Gasol’s 11 offensive rebounds. Gasol added a team high 23 points to go along with his solid rebounding.
Aggressiveness, assertiveness, and will power allowed the Lakers to get the win. Players that put up lackluster efforts earlier in the series were able to put their weak performances behind them and come out full force in L.A.
The Nuggets did not bend over and hand the game to Los Angeles. They put up a solid fight, but the better team won. Ty Lawson and Al Harrington scored 24 points each, and Arron Afflalo added 15 points. Beyond them, no other Nuggets scored more than six points. The Nuggets fought hard but in the end, the better team won. The Lakers were just too much for Denver. They now move onto a fresh, young Oklahoma City Thunder team that has been resting since sweeping the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers will have to continue the same effort in an attempt to compete with them. May the best team win.