It was a good week for the Los Angeles Lakers. They blew out the Boston Celtics last Wednesday. Then they beat Portland last Friday in a close game. Finally, the Lakers won their third straight game by beating the Mavericks in a Sunday afternoon game. Because of his accomplishments last week and the team’s record, Kobe Bryant won the Player of the Week for the Western Conference.
The Lakers faced the excellent Denver Nuggets team on Monday night. But the Nuggets were shorthanded; they didn’t have Danilo Gallinari in uniform due to a thigh injury. Did the Lakers take advantage? Did the Lakers win their fourth straight? Did the Lakers get back to .500?
Let’s check out the recap.
The Lakers got off to an interesting start. After Metta World Peace got a reverse lay-up in, he got a technical after he complained to the ref about a foul. That was only 23 seconds into the game.
Wilson Chandler scored seven straight points for Denver while the Lakers kept up. Kobe Bryant made a nice pass to Dwight for the dunk.
However, the referees set the tone with the game. After Metta got a technical, the Lakers got called for illegal defense for a second technical and then George Karl, the Denver head coach, got called for one.
3 technicals in the first though? Referees need to chill early #LakersTV
— Marquis Cotton (@CottonAIRE) February 26, 2013
Denver did what they did best early against L.A. by outrunning the old, plodding Lakers. Then the Lakers settled down as Kobe found Jodie Meeks for a corner three that gave them a 19-17 lead.
The Lakers lived behind the arc; their last made four field goals in the first quarter from three. The Denver Nuggets lived on the break, scoring 10 points on transition in the first. It didn’t help that Kobe got off to a 1-7 start.
At the end of the first, Denver led the Lakers, 35-29.
Consecutive turnovers by Metta World Peace led to fastbreak opportunities by Denver. Little-used Anthony Randolph scored six straight points (mostly off the break) and the game suddenly had a double-digit margin in favor of the Nuggets.
Lakers are getting ran out the building, smh!
— Steve Duffis (@DuffisBoy) February 26, 2013
The Lakers tried to gain some ground. Antawn Jamison’s lay-up was goaltended. Then Steve Blake made a nice behind-the-back pass to the cutting Earl Clark for the dunk.
But the Lakers fell cold and got careless with the ball. The Nuggets took advantage by, guess what, running. Faried’s fastbreak dunk put the Nuggets up by 13 points. With hardly any interior defense, the Nuggets feasted on the inside. Denver scored 50 points in the paint in the first half.
And at halftime, Denver continued to lead, 67-54.
Metta World Peace gave the Lakers five straight points early but after missing on a third shot, the Nuggets took advantage on the break again that resulted in a Ty Lawson three.
Artest giveth, Artest taketh away. #facepalm
— Matt Bilinsky (@mattbilinsky) February 26, 2013
The Lakers looked listless early in the third. They watched the Nuggets grab rebounds and waltz into the paint. It didn’t help that the Lakers missed their foul shots.
Well, Kobe did have an excellent highlight lay-up.
But that lay-up was quickly countered by a Wilson Chandler three. Every time the Lakers tried to rally back, Denver would counter with a three. An Andre Iguodala dunk put the Nuggets up 18. But the Lakers kept chipping in and was able to cut the lead just a bit more.
The Nuggets led the Lakers after three, 95-83.
Dwight Howard came alive early in the fourth. He had a lay-up on one end, a block on the other end, and then a flush back on the offensive end.
Whoa, that roll from Dwight. He’s looking active.
— Ben Rosales (@brosales12) February 26, 2013
The Nuggets looked a little wild early. Jodie Meeks, who is wild on the drive himself, cuts the lead down to single digits after a made floater. However, Nuggets made some nice defensive plays and it led to two quick Denver buckets.
After a missed Dwight foul shot, Metta was able to steal the ball away from JaVale McGee, which led to a Kobe lay-up. Another close Kobe jumper cut the lead to seven, the closest the Lakers had been at the time. But once again, the Denver Nuggets were able to counter with consecutive buckets. The Lakers just couldn’t get over the hump. A lot of missed foul shots (14-31), getting outhustled on the boards, one of the worst passing games Steve Nash has had in recent memory, and points in the paint (Nuggets had 78!) killed the Lakers.
Denver snapped the Lakers’ three-game win streak, winning 119-108.
POINTS: Kobe Bryant, 29
REBOUNDS: Dwight Howard, 14
ASSISTS: Kobe Bryant, 9
BLOCKS: Dwight Howard, 4
STEALS: Metta World Peace, 3