Culture of Hoops

Denver Nuggets Strike Gold Against The Los Angeles Lakers

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

In the words of James Worthy, postgame, “I need a drink!”

The Los Angeles Lakers played the Denver Nuggets at home on Sunday, and it got ugly in the second half, which led to the Nuggets beating the Lakers, 137-115.

Things started off great, and the Lakers were really moving in rhythm with Kendall Marshall at point guard. Pau Gasol was also on fire, scoring 12 of his 25 points in the first quarter. However, they played very little defense, and that quarter ended with Denver up 29-26.

The second quarter was a lot more of the fast-paced Mike D’Antoni offense, filled with jumpers. However, things fell apart a little without Marshall directing the troops. Eventually, he went back in, and helped the Lakers to a 61-60 halftime lead.

The third and fourth quarters saw virtually no defense, but lots and lots of offense. It’s not everyday that a team scores 115 points and still manages to lose a game. So, what happened?

Turnovers and rebounds. Both teams had 15 turnovers apiece, but just because the other team struggled doesn’t justify the Lakers’ consistent problem with turning over the ball, which doesn’t seem like something that has been addressed. More troubling than the double digit TOs is the rebounding in this game. The Nuggets had 20 more rebounds than the Lakers, who only had 38, 10 of which belonged to Gasol. Gasol’s rebounding was fantastic for one of the first times this season. The Spaniard split his 10 rebounds between offense and defense, which he hasn’t done in a long time. However, no one else was eager to get the ball after a shot, leaving the team with only nine offensive rebounds (Nuggets had 17; nearly double!).

The Numbers:

4 – The number of Lakers who scored in double digits: Pau Gasol (25), Jodie Meeks (23), Nick Young (21), Robert Sacre (15).
50 – The Lakers points in the paint. Jumpers are exciting, but winning is even better. More points in the paint will help them win more games.
30 – The number of fastbreak points the Nuggets scored on the Lakers, who had nine of their own. This is another testament to the desperate need for this group to play some more defense. They’ve got a team who works hard and shouldn’t have a problem learning to play D, but eventually it comes down to who wants the ball.

Takeaway:
The Lakers snapped their six-game losing streak on Friday, but during that streak, fans learned one thing: this is the most exciting losing team you’ve ever seen. If you don’t look at the score, the pace of the game is entrancing. However, it’s not helping them win. This game looked like so many of their others. They played hard until the end, but they still couldn’t pull it out.

Featured image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

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