After what may be one of the best games the Lakers have played all season against the Pelicans, the Lakers could not keep the momentum going against the Denver Nuggets losing 111-99. The Lakers played great throughout the game against the Pelicans but were very inconsistent in what was the second of back to back games.
Mike D’Antoni went with the same starting lineup and Jordan Hill continued to look great showing a lot of aggressiveness. However, as a team, the Lakers could not get going trailing the Nuggets most of the game. The Lakers would cut the lead down to as little as four points but Nuggets were not going to hand this game over. There were chances for the Lakers both in the third and a couple in the fourth quarter but they would get cold offensively.
Pau Gasol quietly worked his way into becoming the leading scorer for the Lakers with 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 3 assists. It seems like Hill will be staying in the starting lineup after getting 18 points and 15 rebounds. Hill was battling throughout the game for every rebound he could get his hands on even though getting into early foul trouble. With Steve Nash out for at least two weeks, Steve Blake played well with 15 points and 11 assists.
The Lakers had trouble containing both Kenneth Faried, who scored 21 points, and Ty Lawson with 19. Off the bench for the Nuggets Timofey Mozgov had 23 points to lead the team and 9 rebounds. The Lakers will play again on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies who have recently been struggling.
Last Friday the Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans and lost with an 11-game winning streak being snapped. Anthony Davis dominated in that game scoring 32 points and 12 rebounds. On their second meeting of the season the Lakers got their revenge beating the Pelicans 116-92.
The Lakers had control the whole game and looked nothing like the team the Pelicans saw in their first meeting. Anthony Davis was in early foul trouble and finished the game with just 15 points and 5 rebounds. Mike D’Antoni went to a new starting line-up with Steve Nash expected to be out for at least two weeks due to nerve root irritation. Jodie Meeks starting at shooting guard with Steve Blake getting moved to point guard. Jordan Hill started the game for the first time this season and did not disappoint. Hill led the team scoring his career high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Jodie Meeks had a good game as well with 15 points and Pau Gasol added 14 points. Off the bench Xavier Henry had 15 points and had a highlight dunk over his former Kansas teammate Jeff Withey. Nick Young did well off the bench doing most of his work in the first half finishing the night off with 17 points. In total five players for the Lakers finished with double digits while the Pelicans only had three.
From the start the Lakers came out strong and did not take their foot off the gas pedal. The Lakers will play again tomorrow on back to back games against the Denver Nuggets. It is safe to say that D’Antoni will go with the same starting line-up again tomorrow with the way the team played tonight.
(USA Today Sports)
By Kevin R. Linares
Game one of the first round match up between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs went to the Spurs as they defeated the 7th seeded Lakers 91 to 79. The Lakers went in as the underdogs but were supposed to go in with the size advantage down low with their twin towers of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Both teams had trouble shooting but the Spurs were able to find their groove and run away with the win to lead the series up one game.
The Spurs big three, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili all gave the Lakers trouble on defense scoring double digits. Both Parker and Ginobili scored 18 points a piece. Ginobili did not expect to have a big impact and was limited because it is just the second game back from his hamstring injury but showed he is getting back to normal. Tim Duncan had a double double scoring 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
For the Lakers it was Dwight Howard who led the way with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Steve Nash, who finally took the floor after sitting out nine games because of injuries to his hip and hamstring, scored 16 points but did say after the game to reporters that he hoped to start again next game and was not yet 100 percent healthy. Despite having trouble getting in the paint Gasol scored 16 points of his own and added 16 rebounds.
A big factor in the game was the bench for the Spurs outplaying the Lakers’ bench. The Spurs’ bench scored 40 points while the Lakers’ bench struggled and only scored 10. Taking care of the ball was a big problem for L.A. as well having a total of 18 turnovers, twice as many as the Spurs.
Positive news for the Lakers is that Jordan Hill was on the active list and is getting closer to being able to provide a boost off the bench. The Lakers now need to adjust and look ahead to playing game two that will take place on Wednesday.