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Lakers take Game 2 behind Kobe’s 38, but Denver shows some signs of life

May 2, 2012, 2:10 AM EDT

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The Lakers took Game 2 from the Nuggets 104-100 on Tuesday, and took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series in the process. Kobe Bryant was spectacular for the majority of the night, and finished with 38 points. Andrew Bynum had a career playoff high of 27 points, to go along with nine rebounds and a couple of blocked shots. Pau Gasol was once again more than solid, and he and Jordan Hill once again helped control the glass with 10 rebounds apiece.

Despite all of that, however, this game was nowhere near as easy as Sunday’s win to open the series. The Lakers had leads of as many as nine points in each of the first two quarters, and went on a monster 14-0 run that lasted more than six minutes near the start of the third quarter that pushed the lead to 19.

Given the way the series started, it would have been a perfect time for the Nuggets to fold — only they didn’t. Denver began to get the tempo they wanted, led by Ty Lawson attacking the paint and getting to the rim for easy buckets. Lawson had 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and Denver had the lead all the way back down to five near the beginning of the fourth.

As the Lakers pushed it back to 13, Denver once again fought back, this time with a quick 8-0 run that had the game once again within reach. It was a four-point game with under three minutes to play, and Lawson missed a three that would have cut it to one.

It honestly never felt like the Lakers would lose; the four-point lead seemed like one that was much larger. But the point is, the Nuggets got going a little bit in this one. They were able to get the tempo they wanted at times, and held the Lakers to just over 37 percent shooting in the second half, while clawing back into the game multiple times. L.A. was able to hold on thanks to the team’s size advantage down low, and the fact that 13 second-half offensive rebounds led to 15 second-chance points.

It is more than possible that some of the positive things that Denver was able to do in Game 2 will carry over, and that they’ll shoot much better at home and be able to force the Lakers into playing at a faster pace than they’d like, and for more than just the spurts that we saw in Game 2.

It’s more likely, though, that the combination of the Lakers’ bigs and the way that Bryant has been able to perform will be too much for the Nuggets in this series, and they might not even be able to do what they need to for 48 minutes in order to win a single game — even as the series shifts to Denver for the next two.

  1. morgan420 - May 2, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Uh u done pissed koby off he’s turned beast mode on watch out he’s gonna be puttin up 35-40 points a game from here on out. Just watch you’ll see…

    • ahemahem - May 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      Not at all–Kobe scored because they doubled teamed the big guys. If they double down on Kobe, Bynum or Gasol will take the load.

  2. lakerade - May 2, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Jack counted them off: one two three four. Sweep #unlesstheplanistobideronrontime

    • loungefly74 - May 2, 2012 at 8:29 AM

      Ha! i like the hashtag. yeah, i kinda “hope” it goes 6 games just so we get ronron back. im sure there will be a psychological advantage with him on the court against the thunder…but i’m not gonna get ahead of myself, the nugs played tough and we still have 2 more W’s to get for this round.
      Golly…Kobe was putting up some amazing shots last night! that game was a perfect example of his great legacy as one of the best NBA players…ever.

  3. omniusprime - May 2, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Stick a fork in the Nuggets, they are done for this series. The only reason for the Lakers to slack off in Denver is that it might be good to lose two games to stretch the series to 6 games so that the Lakers have the player formerly known as Ron Artest back for game 1 of the second round against Oklahoma City. Then again the way Devin Ebanks is playing we might not need MWP so much.

  4. lakerluver - May 2, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    The LAKERS can’t let up in game 3. Gotta put this team outta its misery in 4 or 5 games. I like what I see thus far. Jordan Hill is a godsend, Ebanks is feeling in admirably for MWP, Sessions is doing his thing, Bynum is the BEST center in the league, Pau is Pau, and THE BLACK MAMBA is playing like a man starving for his 6th ring.

    • 00maltliquor - May 2, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Love the summary.

  5. 2wo22 - May 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Oh, “Denver shows some signs of life”

    … Meh.

  6. cosanostra71 - May 2, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    I’m really enjoying Jordan Hill’s play. He isn’t putting up superstar numbers but he’s coming in and giving good effort and grabbing rebounds by boxing out and taking up space defensively. I know he was mostly just a throw in in the Fish trade, but I was hoping he could end up being an effective backup and so far he’s been able to do that, stepping up when it’s mattered most at the end of the regular season and into the playoffs now.

    I’m also liking Ebanks’ play. I hope the Lakers keep this up, because they’re looking good.

  7. 00maltliquor - May 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Kobe was amazing last night. I know that makes the haters on this site mad as hell. BTW, where is that one nutjob that tries to discredit Kobe and hype up Durant based on a 6% difference on their shooting percentage at? Yeah, what’s up with KD’s shooting percentage now biiiiatch!?

    And did you see that one chase down block Kobe got on, who was it, Brewer? OooooooWeeeee! I’m loving the HELL out of Jordan Hill, one guy above me said he’s like a Godsent. Yes indeed. Thank the Lord we don’t have to depend on Troy Murphy or Josh “almost got it” McRoberts to back up the bigs. Ebanks has been solid. I’m just happy all the way around.

    As for the Nuggets. Wow. They are fast and deep. Just McGee and Faried alone as the bigs have to be the fastest 4-5 combo in the league hands down. Throw in Ty Lawson and that is scary fast. They have a ton of nice pieces but no real star or post presence on offense. Lakers in 5.

  8. zxrated - May 2, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Any win in the playoffs is a good win, but my Lakers played too big three heavy last night. We got out rebounded while Javale flexed on Bynum defensively when he was on the floor. The Nuggets are a good young team and we let the smell they piss in on our home floor. They will feed off that and get an even bigger boost from home cooking. If Bynum had focused on defense like he did in game one we would have crushed their spirit.

    The Lakers gotta come out and take that early home court hit by keeping it close early on. If we control the boards we will re-establish dominace. Blake Barnes & Ebanks need to be more involved in the offense. Sessions needs to be more efficent. The shot disparity of game two is concerning to me because that was at home, and role players feed off home cooking more so than the go to guys. I just hope we don’t fall back into the everybody standing around watching Kobe or pound it into Bynum against double and triple teams that result in elevated turnover, stagnate offense. Denver will run us out of the building if we revert to old habbits.

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