Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ground Hog Day For Nuggets As Lakers Take Game Two


By Payton Wales

Los Angeles, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum continued their campaign of carnage on the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night at the Staples Center in what turned out to be a similar defeat of the Nuggets as in Game 1.

The Lakers served up a 104-100 win against the Nuggets with another impressive Bynum performance. The Lakers center scored a career-playoff-high 27 points, even with officials on the lookout for what Denver had alleged hours earlier as his illegal style of defense. Bynum continued to patrol the paint, blocking two shots and altering several while also grabbing nine rebounds to follow up his first career triple-double on Sunday.

Denver coach George Karl told the media prior to tipoff, Bynum was guilty of multiple rule violations after Game 1, saying Bynum and the Lakers played illegal defense constantly during the opener. Karl tried to up the gamesmanship before Game 2, saying Staples Center is not a noisy, intimidating road building, but more like "a Broadway stage."

Phil Jackson was not available for a sarcastic quip to put Karl in his place due to the fact that he no longer coaches the Lakers.

The Nuggets would put up a better fight than they did in Game 1, pulling the lead within four points late in the third and fourth quarters, but the Lakers would stave them off both times to take the series to a 2-0 lead.

A bright spot for the Nuggets was point guard Ty Lawson's improved play. He scored 25 points and dished out seven assists to help stimulate the Nuggets offense and shake off a poor Game 1 performance. Kenneth Faried added 14 points and 10 rebounds on a Lakers defense, which though suffocating in Game 1, loosened quite a bit in the second half of Game 2, allowing the Nuggets to close the lead on several occasions.

Corey Brewer (13 points on 5-of-7 shooting) and Al Harrington (11 points) helped stimulate the Nuggets bench production, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Nuggets from losing their ninth-straight playoff game on the road.

The Lakers only used three of their bench reserves and would see very limited production from them. Matt Barnes scored only two points and Steve Blake left an egg in the points column. Lone bright spot Jordan Hill had six points and 10 rebounds off the bench amid arising legal troubles.

The Nuggets struggled to contain Bryant all night as the veteran put on an exhilarating shooting display, going 11-for-14 in the first half. Bryant would continue the shooting display throughout the game, scoring a total 38 points on 15-of-29 shooting. It was the 83rd occurrence Bryant scored 30-plus points in the playoffs, climbing closer to leader Michael Jordan who accomplished the feat 109 times.

The Lakers, who led by 19 points at one point in the third quarter, saw their lead start to dwindle as the Nuggets pushed an 18-4 run and entered the fourth quarter down by seven. From there, they would manage to trim Los Angeles' lead  to four with 1:14 left to play before Ramon Sessions hit one of his patented tear-drop shots to maintain the four-point lead to finish out the game.

Game 3 will be played in Denver on May 4.


Game Notes:
  • The Lakers have not trailed in the series so far.
  • Fans had to buy their own tacos tonight due to the Lakers allowing 100 points.
  • Andrew Bynum was not called for illegal defense in the game. Weird.
  • Apparently the Nuggets don't play well on Broadway stages.
  • Kobe Bryant is 11-0 in the first round after winning Game 1.



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