Only this Nuggets team - they of the consistently inconsistent - could pull off such a splendid, defensive-led victory over the NBA's best team...just five days removed from being humiliated at home by the NBA's second best team.
Prior to tonight's victory, the Nuggets had held only one other team under 80 points all season long at that was the Orlando Magic...in Orlando. What does this all mean? That the Nuggets can beat anyone defensively as long as they believe they can.
And what made this game even better was that it was all about Chris Andersen and J.R. Smith, each of whom played fearlessly against the Lakers from the moment they walked onto the floor. I'm just kicking myself for forgetting to start the Birdman in place of Nene on my fantasy team this week, because Bird's had the best week of his NBA career.
In fact, J.R. played so well defensively, that head coach George Karl (who deserves credit for giving J.R. ample PT tonight) actually complemented him by saying: "I thought in the fourth quarter, that's by far the best defensive game I've ever seen him play."
Karl complements J.R. Smith and the Nuggets beat the Lakers? WHO KNEW?!!
Sorry for the tardy and short Nuggets/Lakers preview. What should have been the big story of the week has been supplanted by the sad real life story of the Rocky Mountain News closing down and all of their employees joining the ever-increasing ranks of the unemployed.
But if sports provides one positive thing for us, its a distraction (albeit brief) from real life events. And for tonight, at least, we get the ultimate distraction: watching the Nuggets attempt to defeat the Lakers for the first time in nearly two years. In case you're curious, the Nuggets haven't beaten the Lakers since April 9, 2007, back when - believe it or not - this incarnation of the Nuggets actually played pretty well against the Lakers.
But these are not the 2006-07 Lakers that folded like deck chairs against the Suns in the playoffs leading to a turbulent off-season in which Kobe Bryant demanded a trade. These Lakers are likely repeating as Western Conference champions. So if our Nuggets are to somehow knock them off their newfound mantle, they - at a minimum - need to learn how to beat them when playing at Pepsi Center.