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Denver Nuggets

Deconstructing a 57-win team: Denver Nuggets Season Preview

Starting five: PG Tywon Lawson, SG Evan Fournier, SF Wilson Chandler, PF Kenneth Faried, C JaVale McGee
 
Key bench contributors: PG Andre Miller, SG Randy Foye, PG Nate Robinson, PF Darrell Arthur, SF Danilo Gallinari (expected back in December-February from a torn ACL), PF JJ Hickson
 
Offseason additions: JJ Hickson, Darrell Arthur, Nate Robinson, coach Brian Shaw
 
Offseason subtractions: Coach George Karl, SF Andre Iguodala, SF Corey Brewer, C Kosta Koufos
 
FACT OR FICTION: Did the Denver Nuggets spend the offseason dealing themselves out of the playoffs?

 
FICTION. Without one single All-Star player, the Denver Nuggets (literally) ran through the rest of the NBA last season. George Karl’s squad nabbed the third-best record in the Western Conference, winning a remarkable 57 games–just one less than the seconds-away-from-a-title San Antonio Spurs. They finished with the NBA’s fifth most efficient offense, ran the second fastest pace and racked up a deceivingly good 11th ranked defense.
 
But it all started and ended for the Nuggs on the run, as they were terrors on the fast break, destroying teams with run and gun specialists like Tywon Lawson, Corey Brewer, Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried and a sneaky set-up maestro in Andre Miller. They compounded this offensive attack with the league’s best offensive rebounding and started it all with fantastic rim protection from Kosta Koufos, JaVale McGee and Faried. Still, the Nuggets featured two facets of their basketball identities that absolutely belied their excellent record. Surprisingly, they were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA last season (.343%, good for 25th) and yet, they still sent opposing defenses scrambling. And yet, despite the facade of a reckless scoring avalanche, they were actually one of the most careful teams in basketball–only three teams in the league turned the ball over less. It’s for all those reasons just stated that the Nuggets were such a strange anomaly in the NBA last year: a fast paced team that couldn’t shoot three pointers well, never turned the ball over, didn’t have a single dominant scorer and lacked a post scorer whose hair didn’t look like a newborn baby’s.
 
Perhaps for those reasons, and many more, it was so easy for ownership to almost completely reshape the face of the Nuggets this offseason. In a matter of weeks, Denver had allowed the newly minted Executive of the Year, General Manager Masai Ujiri to take a job with the Toronto Raptors and had fired newly crowned Coach of the Year, George Karl. With a new front office regime in place, two starters were traded (Koufos to Memphis for Darrell Arthur and Iguodala sign-and-traded to Golden State) and the bench was almost completely turned over. New hires like Nate Robinson, Randy Foye and JJ Hickson were brought in to try and recreate some of last year’s reserve’s offensive energy that they no longer will have with Corey Brewer gone to the Minnesota Timberwolves and both JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler elevated to a starting roles. Coach Brian Shaw was finally given his shot at running a team and is almost certain to slow things down from the break neck speed Karl operated his squad at last year.… Read more...

MAMBINO Roundtable: Best/Worst of the NBA Offseason

With the NBA offseason tied up with a little bow and training camp still weeks away, we decided to sate our NBA appetites by wrapping up a crazy couple months. I threw out and e-mail and polled a couple of our brilliant young minds, and this is what we came up with:

 
KOBEshigawa
 
Best offseason move: Houston Rockets sign Dwight Howard to a four year, $88 million dollar contract
 
After years of hoarding cap room and trade assets, the Rockets’ master plan has finally came to fruition in just 9 short months. The first part of this signing actually came at the end of October, when GM Daryl Morey got James Harden for three guys named Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams. In thirty years, will anyone recognize any player there besides Harden?
 
If Howard is healthy, which I don’t have any reason to suspect he isn’t, the Rockets got a complete game changer that will change the complexion of one of the league’s most porous defenses last year. Towards the end of the season, Dwight showed that when active and engaged he’s still capable of dragging a team of athletically impaired old men to being a respectable defensive squad. Even before we look at his offensive contributions as a devastating finisher at the rim, Howard is already the season’s most valuable signing.… Read more...

(Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors and the Jazz dumping salary

Golden State Warriors get: SF Andre Iguodala (four years, $48 million)
 
Utah Jazz get: SF Richard Jefferson, C Andris Biedrins , G/F Brandon Rush, 2014 and 2017 unprotected first round pick (from GS), 2018 second round pick (from Denver), cash
 
Denver Nuggets get: G Randy Foye (three years, $9 million)
 
Atlanta Hawks get: PF Paul Millsap (two years, $19 million, via free agency)
 
Charlotte Bobcats get: PF/C Al Jefferson (three years, $41 million, via free agency)
 
If the two unprotected first rounders didn’t suggest it, the Warriors are in “win-now” mode. Duh.
 
The Warriors are going all-in with their current team after just their second winning season in almost twenty years. In a three team deal, the Warriors sent Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush (almost $24 million in salary for next season!) to the Utah Jazz, with Andre Iguodala coming to the Warriors and Randy Foye going to the Jazz, along with two unprotected first round picks. In two separate transactions, former Utah Jazz big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson will leave unencumbered from Salt Lake City, heading to the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats, respectively.
 
The Dubs will pay $39 million to just Stephen Curry, David Lee and Iguodala next year, without figuring in $9 million to Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green, as well as $14 million to center Andrew Bogut. The roster is capped out for the foreseeable future, especially when taking into considering at Thompson will most likely sign a eight figure extension in the next year or so, and Barnes doing the same the year afterwards. … Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Western Conference First Round Predictions

On Friday, we took a look at our Eastern Conference predictions. Even though one game is in the books, better late than never. Let’s get right to the other side of the bracket, the Western Conference:
 
1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 8) Houston Rockets
 
Why OKC takes it in 5 games
 
KOBEsh: It’s a 1-seed versus an 8-seed. That’s reason enough right there. 
 
But going further? You’ve got the league’s best and most efficient offense playing a squad with a middling 16th ranked defense, though they’ve certainly improved over the second half of the season. You’ve got two of the NBA’s deadliest scorers in Westbrook and Durant, and no one on the opposition that is at all suited to slow them down. You’ve got an experienced OKC front line that knows how to work advantages against a bunch of first-time playoff virgins, including Serge Ibaka whose mobility and shooting touch should tear up whatever platoon coach Kevin McHale chooses.
 
This shouldn’t be a contest. No further explanation necessary. … Read more...

How Good is Andre Iguodala? – Denver Nuggets Preview

Starting Five: PG Ty Lawson, SG Andre Iguodala, SF Danilo Gallinari, PF Kenneth Faried, C Javale McGee

Key Bench Players: PG Andre Miller, SF Wilson Chandler, C Kostas Koufas, C Timofey Mozgov, F Anthony Randolph

Notable offseason additions: SG Andre Igoudala, SG Evan Fournier (1st round draft pick), F Quincy Miller (2nd round draft pick), F Anthony Randolph

Offseason subtractions: SG Arron Afflalo, F Al Harrington, SG Rudy Fernandez, F Chris “Birdman” Anderson (via the Amnesty)

The biggest move of the NBA offseason saw C Dwight Howard finally relocate from Disney World to Disney Land.  A little talked about wrinkle in that trade was that the Denver Nuggets sent out forgettable players F Al Harrington and G Arron Afflalo (and I love you Al, will never forget the 21/5 you dropped in D’Antoni’s first year in the Mecca) and got back Olympian and NBA All-Star Andre Igoudala.  Hash tag NOT BAD!

No need to delve into how a team can send out a good but overpaid 2-guard and a forward who loves nothing more than to chuck 3’s and get back one of the 12 best Americans in the world, a 6’6″ perimeter beast who can defend any shooting guard or small forward and can run the offense too.  This is the NBA we live in and have grown accustomed to.  What we will delve into is what is the ceiling for this Nuggets squad, just two years after trading “franchise player” Carmelo Anthony (yeah, it’s in quotes for a reason), the Nuggets look poised to be a helluva lot better than Melo’s new team, the hapless New York Knickerbockers.

In last year’s playoffs, a young Denver team had the Lakers on the brink of elimination in round 1, leading 3-2 before ultimately losing in 7 games.  “Little Engine that Could” Ty Lawson pushes the team at a breakneck pace, and he may be the fastest guy in the League with the ball in his hands.  Last year’s rookie sensation Kenneth Faried, nicknamed the “Manimal” because of his freakish athletic ability, plays as hard and as hungry as anybody in the League.  The fastest guy and the hardest worker, on the same squad.  But wait, there’s more.

Is this the year tantalizing Italian Danillo Gallinari puts together an All-Star campaign?  The 6’10” small forward who Mike D’Antoni once labeled “the best shooter I’ve ever seen” put up a solid 17 and 5 last year before hurting his ankle.  Gallo will be 24 years old this season, but already has been in the NBA for four years and has solid career averages of 14 points and 5 rebounds.  Will the other former Knick small forward Wilson Chandler finally stay healthy?  He was a non-factor after returning from China last season due to injury, but when healthy Chandler is a defensive menace who flies under the radar.

We haven’t even got to the Bigs yet, and if we’re talking about the Denver Bigs we have to start with Pierre.  Who is Pierre?  Apparently, it’s the name of JaVale McGee’s alter ego.  In one sentence, that sums up JaVale McGee.  Talented big who is prone to immaturity and goofiness, does McGee have the focus to contribute over an entier season?  Is Russian Timofey Mozgov anything other than the guy Blake dunked on?  How about Anthony Randolph, the uber-talented 7-footer who oh-so-badly wants to play point guard and “do his thing”.

A lot of questions surround the young’uns on this squad, but the fact remains: this is a young team with some blue-chip prospects and a whole lot of tale… Read more...

NBA Free Agency Day One Round-up: Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace re-sign

It’s been 36 hours since NBA free agency began, and we’ve already seen enough evidence that the lockout didn’t make teams smarten up in terms of managing their funds. When Roy Hibbert, whose career highlights involve two guest appearances – one on the 2012 All-Star roster, and the other on Parks and Recreation – gets offered the same type of money that NBA Champion and incumbent Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler gets, there’s definitely something wrong with the way teams are balancing their cap.

But that deal’s not done yet. Let’s talk about the ones that have been offered, accepted and will be signed as soon as the moratorium ends on July 11th.

Kevin Garnett re-signs with the Boston Celtics, for a reported 3 years, $36 million

There are a few things that this deal is, and a few things that this deal isn’t.

First and foremost, this is a good deal for the Celtics. Even at age 36, KG made 2nd Team All-NBA Defense, manned the center position for over half the season and was the second-best player on Boston’s roster. His trademark intensity hasn’t abated at all in his 17th season, and though he can’t operate in the low post as effectively as he used to, his mid-range game and post defense rank as some of the best in the league. At the very least, the Celtics will get $12 million worth of value for next season, perhaps a little less the season after that, and at age 39 and in his 20th season, all bets are off for the third year of the deal. Obviously offering a 3-year pact was the tipping point for getting KG to agree so early in free agency, as other suitors would have come calling for either a higher annual salary or perhaps a bigger role on the team.

Garnett is the leader of the team, regardless of if Rajon Rondo is their franchise player and Paul Pierce is their fourth quarter go-to guy. He led the way in the defensive transformation of the C’s five seasons ago, as well as keeping a fiery intimidation that shrinks almost any team in the league in their wake. More than anything else with such a relatively long-term deal, KG, along with coach Doc Rivers, needs to be around to sustain the culture of this team.

What this deal isn’t is a “discount” of any type for the Celtics. The team re-signed a 36 year-old with bad knees whose going into his 18th season. Yes, he was healthy for the majority of last season, but what about the two before that? When Boston meekly submitted to Miami one year ago in a five game series (that they would have lost even if Rondo didn’t get hurt early – book that), “washed up” and “Kevin Garnett” were two synonymous words. I applaud KG for limping back, working on his body and remaking himself into the all-world defensive player he’s always been, but to suggest that he’ll stay this healthy for the next three years is foolish. The Celtics paid full price for Garnett’s services the next three years. No other team would have offered him that long of a deal, and though a two-year pact of an higher annual value would have been possible, it certainly wouldn’t have been for $36 million. If anything, they overpaid.

On KG’s part is this a move that codifies his desire to “win”? Surely. The Celtics will still be a contender in the East next year. He wanted to stay a Celtic, play for this coach, these fans and this team. However, this deal blew away everything that anyone else could have offered. Sure, this was a move geared specifically towards “winning”… Read more...

State of Laker Nation Playoff Recap: We Can Finally Exhale

Before the game started, I had goosebumps. You hate being in a Game 7, particularly when you’ve had a chance to avoid it, but it’s a truly special moment in sports. I just wanted to get off to a good start and help the Lakers settle into their game. Being successful in a Game 7 requires managing emotions and playing in rhythm. This is where legacies are created and the palpable weight of history can sometimes suffocate a team.
After it was all over, Lakers 96, Nuggets 87, I could finally exhale. Denver put up a hell of a fight and will be dangerous next year, but there would be no more waking up in the middle of the night thinking, “What if…” Ty Lawson’s Speedy Bunch is gone and hopefully lit a fire for Round 2. Special props to Afflalo, Lawson, and Al Harrington for bringing their A-Game tonight and all series long. Overall, the Lakers exhibited a great team effort tonight, a game to be proud of. Denver never buckled and the Lakers earned every inch. They ground it out as a team, even when the shots weren’t falling.
Here are the highlights:
Your face says it all Pau.
  • The much maligned Lakers bigs. Pau and Andrew were the first teammates in history to combine for 30 points, 30 rebounds, 20 offensive rebounds, and 10 blocks. Dominant. Paufollowed through on the good omen of swishing his first jumper and both were much more aggressive at getting their own shot, even if that meant playing volleyball on the offensive glass. On one possession, Pau had 7 tips to himself in a row (authors note: I counted, it’s at 3:05) and ended up with a bucket. Defensively, they were much better at containing Denver’s explosiveness on the boards and contested everything in the paint. I love how the crowd gave Gasol props for his gritty performance after harassing him last game. He deserved it both times.
  • Metta World Peace’s triumphant return. Although he had 4 threes/steals, Tenacious MWP changed the game with his vicious defense and his physicality caused matchup problems all over the place. He’s a nightmare for Denver’s shorter bigs because they can’t punish him down low or rebound over him like they can Kobe/Barnes at the three.  MWP completely shut down Gallinari and Miller, holding them to a combined 2-19 with 9 turnovers.
  • Steve Blake was just a monster last night. His five threes, some of which were unbelievably tough shots, were absolutely pivotal and we don’t win without him. He also picked up his defense for Game 7. Happy for Blake – he’s an easy guy to cheer for.
  • Team execution. The Lakers executed well right out of the gate, keeping them from an early hole. By taking care of the ball and shooting less midrange jumpers, there was less fuel for Denver’s transition, which slowed the tempo and forced them to execute in the half-court. Although outrebounded, the Lakers protected the ball, blocked shots, and forced turnovers. Offensively, the Lakers seemed much more comfortable in their sets and moved the ball around unselfishly.
  • Kobe Bean Bryant.While the undeniable MVP of the series, Black Mamba was content to pick his spots and facilitate last night. He passed effectively out of double teams (8 assists) and let his teammates do the damage until late. Of course, Kobe still got to relish putting the nail in the coffin with a deep three. I was amused to see him high-five Justin Timberlake on his way back up the court. Only in LA.
  • Phenomenal postgame performance. A visibly psyched Gasol cursed on live TV, “I had to get my ass back in the paint.” Artest’s usual genius ended with a shoutout, “The only thing that’s important is basketba
Read more...

State of Laker Nation Playoff Recap: What?

(Seeking solace from one pathetic Lakers apologist to another, The CDP and I exchanged a series of e-mails regarding Denver’s laugher over a listless Lakers squad last night. Here’s our e-mail exchange, in the form of a game recap)

This kid’s Xmas ornament was as useful as Payton in purple and gold.

KOBEsh: There were so many parts of last night’s Game 6 that made want to hurl myself out a window and alternately throw my Gary Payton #20 Christmas ornament at the television. What do you think was the most egregious offense made by the Lakers last night?

The CDP: I’m gonna go with Mike Brown and his rotations, which have been a problem all year. Kobe may have been the only guy who showed up, but he was also sick and Brown played him 37 of a possible 42 minutes before sitting the last 6 minutes when the game was out of hand. More than that though, if your team doesn’t show up, you have to spice it up. In the third quarter, Pau was absolutely killing us as the Nuggets built a big lead.

Despite Jordan Hill being our most effective big for the series, Brown waited nearly 9 minutes before throwing the Spaniard on the bench. Even the bottomless reserve of energy and hustle that is Josh McRoberts could have mixed things up. To me, it’s unclear that Mike Brown has been able to hold his bigs accountable, either through rotation choices or off-court film sessions. I was angry that Pau was bricking jump shots, but the problem with our bigs last night was the story of the series: lackluster or non-existent help defense and marginal effort on the boards.  Considering the context, it’s a fair question. Was this 3 point, 3 rebound “performance” Pau’s worst game as a Laker?

Not to pile it on Coach Brown here, but I just looked at the NBA leaders in minutes played to see where Pau and Kobe ended up. Pau was number 2 (behind only Durantula) and Kobe number was 11 for the season despite missing 7 games to injury. When I look at the top 20 in minutes played, I see one thing in common: youth. Kobe and Pau are the only players north of 30 to make the list. I understand why Brown felt he had to ride his workhorses to a respectable regular season record, but this kind of minutes management is unbelievable. I have a word for it: anti-Popovichian. A 33 year old Kobe’s average jumped nearly 5 minutes a game this year, the exact opposite of where he should be trending.

KOBEsh: Going back to an earlier point you made, doing a quick scan of Pau’s Lakers career game logs, only two of his games come even remotely close to last night’s meltdown:

3/26/10 vs. the Thunder (75-91 Loss):  9 points, 5 rebounds, no assists, 1 block on 3-10 shooting in 27 minutes
4/20/11 vs. the Hornets (87-78 Win in Game 2 of the Western Conference opening round): 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks on 2 for 10 shooting in 36 minutes.


Since it was a loss and the overall stat line was worse, Pau’s game against the Thunder over two years ago was remarkably atrocious. However, seeing as the game against the Hornets last year was in the playoffs, even with a slightly better night, could you count that as his 2nd-worst game as a Laker seeing as it was a playoff game? Regardless of which was worse, we can all agree that Gasol’s essential no-show against the Nuggets last night was far and away the most terrible contest he’s had in purple and gold.

I agree with your assessment of Brown’s rotations; Pau and Andrew just weren’t bringing the energy last night, but I think it was mostly on defense. Denver has found a way to effec… Read more...

State of Laker Nation Playoff Recap: Luckier than you think

The next morning after Game 3, I estimated that while the Nuggets have to be near perfect to beat the Lakers, LA merely only has to play hard to beat Denver. Looking at the Game 4 box score, a truer statement couldn’t have been written.

The formula for Game 3 in the Nuggets/Lakers playoff series was the same as in Games 1 and 2; slow the game down, feed the ball to the inside, pound the boards and limit turnovers. Every part of the Lakers offensive and defensive attack is meant to slow the Nuggets’ run and gun attack down to turn the highest scoring team in the league into a mere over matched and undersized squadron of role players. With a 3-1 series advantage, the Lakers seemingly did that.

Last night the narrative was pretty simple: Steve Blakers and Ramon Sessions hit some gigantic shots in the fourth quarter to put down a surging Nuggets squad. Everyone has been pretty focused on this:

But that’s why MAMBINO is here; to expose some unseen corners of the contest you just watched.

The truth is that even though LA controlled the 2nd half, limiting the Nuggets to just 37 points after a 51 point first half, the Lakers were lucky to win this game. Here’s why:

  • Danilo Gallinari finally stepped to the plate in Game 4, and sliced up the Lakers D to the tune of 20/6 on 9 for 16 shooting. Defensively, he was able to contribute as well, checking Kobe and the Lakers cadre of small forwards as best he could, including this titanic flop on a screen from Pau Gasol:
    • For all of their 4th quarter heroics (by the way, it was a tie game with less than a minute on the clock), Steve Blakers and Ramon Sessions got simply overpowered by Andre Miller, who outmuscled them to the tune of 15/7/3. 
    • The Lakers, who scored more than 100 points in their other two series victories, only threw down 92 on a bad shooting night from Kobe and zero points from starter Devin Ebanks. 
    • The Nuggets, who found a bit of their shooting stroke in Game 3, went back to Awfultown from behind the 3 point line, shooting just 3 for 19. 
    • After compiling double-doubles his last two games, the Lakers were able to contain Kenneth Faried with a relatively marginal 6/7 performance.
    • LA found an answer for Ty Lawson. They limited his run-outs, clogged the lane, and thus, limited his effectiveness. He finished the game with a very mortal 11 points and 6 assists.

    Are all those things lucky?  No, not at all. The reason why Faried played below the precedent he set in the previous two games was because Jordan Hill, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol boxed him out harder than before. Ty Lawson’s production was basically cut in half because the Lakers’ guards funneled him into defensive traps with their big men. The Lakers were able to control their turnovers and keep down their fouls, allowing Denver to shoot only 12 free throws, down from the 23 in Game 3.

    However, Denver only shot 3 for 19 on threes, missing tons of open looks that could have decided what was ultimately a 4-point game. Also, for a team that generally shoots 73% from the line, the Nuggets outdid themselves yesterday with just a 58% stroke from the charity stripe. It’s not like Denver had small changes from their usual production; they had pretty radical departures from their norm. Did the Lakers convincingly defeat the Nuggets yesterday? Yes. In the words of Steve Kerr mid-way through the fourth, you just felt like the game was the Lakers to lose, no matter what the score was at the time. The Lakers completely controlled the pace in the 2nd half and made the Nuggets play the game THEY wanted to play. However, as much as I felt like LA couldn&#… Read more...

    State of Laker Nation Playoff Recap: The Nuggets Hustle Shuffle

    A few days ago, The CDP described 4 in-game deficiencies that YOUR…Los Angeles Lakers flashed during Game 2 in this 7 game series against the Denver Nuggets. To paraphrase, they included:

    Battle of the Boards: The Lakers should never be outrebounded by this team… Denver has a lot of athletes and their team was hitting the boards hard, but the Lakers have got to do a better job of utilizing their length and boxing out on rebounds.

    Defend the 3: Although Ty Lawson was shredding our interior at will, Denver’s offense only operated in spurts because they weren’t hitting the three. As KOBEshigawa pointed out at halftime, if they were hitting their jump shots, this would have been a much tougher team to defend and the Lakers might have been in trouble. The Lakers rotated to the perimeter much more quickly in the second half, but will need to be more consistent here on the road.  

    Mental Focus: Their stars played like stars, but they also whined like them. Kobe/Andrew both failed to get back in time on several plays because they were complaining about non-calls.


    If you watched Game 3 from the Rocky Mountains last night, you’d think that the Lakers collectively read The CDP’s post last week and decided to see if they could still win while doing all of those things on the road. To absolutely no one’s surprise, it came back to bite the Lakers on the backside, harder and faster than Marv Albert could fathom.

    Battle of the Boards: If this was a battle, then Denver was the white man with the firesticks and the Lakers had arrowheads and tomahawks. Though the rebounding disparity was only +10 for the Nuggets (and +6 on the offensive boards), the Nuggets bludgeoned the Lakers inside, getting every one of those +10 boards in key situations that could have swung the momentum LA’s way. I can’t sum it up any better than JaVale McGee’s stat line for the night: 16 points, 15 boards (6 offensive), 4 blocks in 28 minutes on 8 for 12 shooting. Just brutal.

    Defend the 3: Just as I discussed on my preview for Game 3 on Silver Screen and Roll, the Lakers were lucky to escape LA with two victories, considering the Nuggets were putrid shooting from distance, with a 24% clip from 3. Not the case last night – the Nuggets shot 36% from behind the arc, capitalizing on the open looks the Lakers had given them in the 2 games prior. Still, 36% isn’t a blistering percentage, but when Denver is outrebounding the Lakers and hoisting up a staggering 15 more shots (unreal!), it’s going to catch up eventually.

    Mental Focus: The Lakers just didn’t have it. Defensively, the Lakers couldn’t control the perimeter nor the Nuggets scoring inside. As much potential as JaVale, Faried, Lawson and Gallo have, there’s no way Denver should be outscoring Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum in the paint by 20 points. I hate to point to JaVale McGee’s stat line again, mostly because I feel like I’m picking on a 12 year-old, but my God: 16/15 with 4 blocks on 75% shooting. Combined with Faried’s 12/15, the Lakers simply got toasted inside.

    Offensively, the Lakers really lacked rhythm and surprisingly for a Mike Brown-coached team, hustle. The offense was quite stagnant and slower than usual, with possessions ticking by without much ball movement or interior play. Timofey Mozgov started the game in lieu of the much less effective Kosta Koufous, and with such a big body in front of him, Bynum was ripe for the double team (woo!). However, when the cover came, the Lakers offense seemed to just s… Read more...