Saturday, May 30, 2009
After LA lost Game 2 at home, I really thought they'd have a lot of trouble getting by Denver. Since that Game 2 loss, the Lakers took 3 out of the next 4 from Denver and are heading back to the NBA Finals.
The Lakers have the most talented team in the NBA, but throughout the season, their toughness and consistency had always been questioned. LA had not won back to back playoffs game since winning Games 2 and 3 in the semifinals against Houston. After winning Game 4 in LA, many assumed the Lakers would do their usual and take the next game off and head back home to clinch Game 7. However the Lakers came back to Denver and jumped out to a big early lead and never took their foot off the gas.
Kobe Bryant made sure that wouldn't happen as Mamba had another typical stellar game with 35 points, 10 dimes and 6 boards.
After being dominated by Denver in front court the first 4 games, the Lakers finally got dominate play in the paint from Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Gasol had one of his best playoff performances last night with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.
Odom came out of his playoff conference finals hibernation with solid back to back games. Last night Odom put in a 20 point, 8 rebound performance. It was this type of play from Odom that Lakers so desperately need if they want to win the franchise's 15 title.
And LA couldn't have shot the ball better. On the road in one of the most electric atmospheres in the NBA, the Lakers shot 57.3% from the field, 56.3% from downtown and a perfect 24-24 from the line. LA's bench was also huge, getting 40 points off the bench.
Overall, a total team effort.
As for the Nuggets? Well, I guess a lot of people, myself included, were a little bit premature in wanting to put Carmelo Anthony's name with the likes of Lebron, Kobe and King James. After dominating the first two games, Melo cooled off. Last night, on his 25th birthday, Melo scored 25 points, getting 12 from the line, and shot only 6-17 from the field.
Now the Lakers must wait and see whether they play the Magic or Cavaliers. If it's Orlando, LA will get home court advantage in the Finals, but the Lakers were 0-2 against the Magic in the regular season.
If it's Cleveland, the Cavs will have home court but LA was 2-0 vs. Cleveland.