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Lakers down Nuggets thanks to… we’re not sure. It was weird.

Dec 31, 2011, 6:34 PM EDT

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers

You know those games where you just don’t really know what happened? You walk away and you acknowledge that the game was fun, but you just don’t really know what happened? Yeah that was Denver vs. L.A. at Staples today, Lakers 92-89 win.

In the final five minutes the following things happened:

Danilo Gallinari missed a game-tying layup wide open with 3 seconds left and no one has around him.

Kobe Bryant missed a free throw to put the game away with a four point lead and one second left.

Kobe Bryant lost the ball and turned it over on a key drive.

Nene missed a wide open dunk.

Andre Miller failed to secure a great pass after an offensive rebound put the offense in motion, and then Gallinari missed everything but backboard on a wide open three.

Derek Fisher bodied Ty Lawson out of the way in a pretty blatant way then rolled on top of the ball and not only did not get called for a foul or traveling, but managed to get a timeout.

In short, it was bananas.

But if you want to strip all that away and get back to actual reasons why the Lakers got a win? It’s simple.

Andrew Bynum. Bynum was dominant inside.

Bynum looked very much like the kind of young center you build around. He blocked shots, and more importantly, tipped in miss after miss. His ability to, well, be taller than everyone else was simply too much for the Nuggets. The Lakers are winning ugly under Mike Brown with aging stars and a weak bench. But they’re winning. Because they execute and the effort is there on each possession. They have what you need to win in this league, even when things go a little… weird.

Notes:

  • Nene is either still recovering from surgery or just not playing well. He looks tentative, he looks off. He’s not finishing when he should and of more concern, his box-outs and rotations are inconsistent. The Nuggets need more from him, especially for the money they gave him in free agency.
  • Ty Lawson needs to be running the offense exclusively down the stretch for the Nuggets.
  • Steve Blake continues with the patented “Laker who is en fuego early for no apparent reason” act.
  • Pau Gasol‘s range is simply deadly and it has a remarkable ability to confound the defense.
  • Where was Arron Afflalo the last five minutes of the game? Benching the best pure shooter on the team late doesn’t make much sense.
  • Danilo Gallinari used to be able to shoot threes, right? I’m not imagining this.
  • Kobe was efficient and productive… until late in the game, again. Lakers fans have to be a little concerned. Gallo makes that layup and everything in this game might be different.
  • At some point, we’re going to have to talk about Al Harrington‘s play, at both ends, and recognize that he’s playing exceptionally well. The offense? Sure, he’s got that. But his defense has been superb early, which no one saw coming.
  • Bynum’s patience has really improved, as has his comfort level in simply out-maneuvering defenders.
  1. jimothyvonstojavic - Jan 1, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    I can’t believe the lakers won. That sounds like the cavs wer scrimmaging their bench. Just awful.

  2. 00maltliquor - Jan 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Ok PBT/Matt Moore let me school you…

    Nene is who he is. I have been posting like mad about his REAL abilities on this site. Those who have read my post before know. He is far from a stud, point blank, he is over rated and over paid. END OF DISCUSSION. He is a nice player and a guy who can be key on a legit team, but is by far the main piece.

    Moving forward…

    Danillo can shoot threes, but when was he incredibly efficient in that area? He is very streaky. Never has been automatic. Yet.

    Gasol WILL impress. But will dissapoint in the next breath.

    Al Harrington has never gotten the respect he deserves. What he is doing now is nothing new. See Jamal Crawford after he left New York. Same d**m player, just a newfound respect for what they bring.

    Bynum has not changed, just the fact Odom is not there to soak up the minutes he deserves so you are all now getting to see what he really brings and why his trade value is so high. (before he gets hurt, sorry ‘Drew!)

    Sometimes I feel like all you writters do is listen to these “talking heads” and not really form your own opinion until someone else says so or you really watch and see for yourselves. Sometimes I wonder if we’re watching the same games throughout the season.

    • tubal22 - Jan 1, 2012 at 6:31 PM

      Because it’s WAAAY better to be “schooled” by random internet message board posters. Because they are much more informed/smarter than your average talking head.

      • 00maltliquor - Jan 2, 2012 at 2:04 AM

        That’s cool, man. Didn’t know anyone would get their panties in a twist about what I posted. But honestly, can you really say I’m wrong? I may be some random internet board poster but when you know/play/watch so much basketball for decades it doesn’t take a genius to crack some mystical code on player evaluation. Don’t hate.

  3. 303bengalguy - Jan 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    My Nuggets gave that game away. Disgusting… Gallo should be embarrassed for two of the worst shots ever taken by a “pro”. I hope Karl benches him. What a moron! That offensive set in which he took that 3 was a joke though too. It’s like everything fell apart all at once. Karl should bear some of the blame there as well I suppose.

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