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Nuggets seek ways to deal with Lakers size in Game 2

May 1, 2012, 5:55 PM EDT

Lakers Bryant drives on Nuggets Gallinari of Italy and Mozgov of Russia during NBA Western Conference basketball playoff game in Los Angeles Reuters

Before the playoffs, George Karl said the Nuggets would go as far as Ty Lawson could take them.

In Game 1 against the Lakers, Lawson got into the lane only to find the long arms of Andrew Bynum there to block and alter shots. Lawson went 3-for-11 shooting with two assists. As a team the Nuggets shot 35.6 percent. Bynum had 10 blocks as part of a triple-double, Pau Gasol had a good game and outplayed Kenneth Faried, and the Lakers cruised to a 1-0 series lead.

Yes, Kobe Bryant had 31 points. Kobe is going to get his. If the Nuggets are going to change this series it will be because Lawson and the Nuggets have learned to adapt to the Lakers size. The ball is in their court to make the adjustments for Game 2, because the Lakers are not getting any smaller. Complain about the Lakers defense all you want

Two things the Nuggets need to do to have a chance in Game 2:

First, drive and kick. Lawson needs to still get in the paint, as does Andre Miller, but when they do and Bynum or Gasol greets them they need to kick out to Danilo Gallinari or Arron Afflalo in the corner. Or dump off to JaVale McGee who has cut baseline to the hoop when his man rotated. Move the ball. If you just try to shoot over Bynum it will be a long day. The Lakers love isolations against them and Denver ran too many of them.

Second is transition points — Denver got only 12 percent of its opportunities in Game 1 running, and they shot 5-for-8 when they did. They are the more athletic team, they need to take advantage of it.

Which means getting stops. The Lakers had an offensive efficiency of 109.6 (points per 100 possessions) in Game 1. For some comparison, the Spurs had the most efficient offence in the league last season at 108.5. The Lakers averaged 103.3 for the season. When you are taking the ball out of the net you are less effective running.

Expect Denver to do some of these things. Expect a better game from Lawson, Faried and Afflalo. It is possible McGee shows up, but who knows.

It feels like this will be a close game. But in a close game at the end, the Lakers still have Kobe and they have size in the paint, the Nuggets have youth. Sometimes youth is served. But it’s hard to see it being served four times in the next six games.

  1. 4thquartermagic - May 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Lawson gets intimidated too easily for a guy no longer a rookie. He needs to man up and attack the rim if the Nuggs got any shot.

    Also, not taking anything away from Bynum who had a dominant game, but he did have 30 illegal defenses the weren’t called last game. But it’s up to the Nuggets to attack so the refs will call it.

    • Hoss - May 1, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      Is that you George Karl?

    • adeedothatswho - May 1, 2012 at 10:20 PM

      Um, while I agree with you….seriously, who among us wants to run into Andrew Bynum??? I don’t want to be the next J.J. Barea…..

  2. lakerluver - May 1, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    NO team can deal with the LAKERS size. Now with the way the bench is playing the LAKERS are a serious threat to win it all. The West is ultra competitive, so it won’t be easy. However, it’s doable.

  3. rosesacl - May 1, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Nuggets want the refs to call more illegal defense calls…. Their were none to be called… Get ready for some bad calls against the lakers to make this series less of a joke….its coming

  4. rushbacker - May 1, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Well, there IS the three-second rule, ya know. . . it’s a legit complaint when the guy is just parked about six inches from the basket all game. The Nuggets wouldn’t have won even if they’d all been called, but that doesn’t mean GK is just making excuses when he points it out. This is the risk Denver took when they decided to ship out the 6’11” Nene and replace him with the (not quite) 6’8″ Faried. Kenneth rebounds well beyond his size, but you can only do so much with hustle when you’re giving up four or five inches in height. Love the kid, and he’s going to develop into a very good defender for his size with some experience– but ultimately, I’m afraid that a somewhat undersized starting lineup plus GK’s love for three-guard smallball at the end of games is going to be too big an obstacle for the Nugs to overcome defensively. This thing’s over if they don’t win tonight.

    • adeedothatswho - May 1, 2012 at 10:22 PM

      You only have to be an arm’s length away from a man, and Bynum’s arms are really, really long.

  5. brianbosworthisstonecold - May 2, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Looks like Kobe and sprite have kissed an made up.

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