Dec 31, 2011, 6:34 PM EDT
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.
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.
- 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.