Lakers vs. Nuggets recap: Another painful loss

The Nuggets lost to the Lakers at home tonight 93-89. Denver had a chance to either tie it or win it on their last possession; they went for the win, but came up shy as Al Harrington's fade-away three didn't find its home. Not only did the Nuggets lose to the Lakers, but they lost center Timofey Mozgov at the 10:01 mark of the third quarter after he made a layup to give the Nuggets a 49-46 lead. Tough night for Denver and now they fly to Portland for their third game in as many nights ...

Tough night for the Nuggets. Execution was again their undoing.

One night after shooting 39-73 for 53.4% against the Clippers, the Nuggets come out and go 33-74 for 44.6% against the Lakers.

One night after going 12-21 for 57.1% against the Clippers from long range, the Nuggets go just 5-22 for 22.7% against the Lakers tonight from downtown.

Danilo Gallinari's streaky side continues to show itself as he goes from shooting 7-10 against the Clippers, including 5-5 from downtown, to putting up another stink-bomb tonight going 1-9 from the field, including just 1-6 from deep. When 66% of your shots come from long range and you're only shooting 16% on those attempts, your coach (George Karl) has every right to bench you.

Sure, Gallo can defend and rebound, but if he's not doing the right things on offense his coach has shown that he wont hesitate to find somebody that will get the job done. Although, Arron Afflalo proved not to be the difference maker as he missed his only attempt in the fourth quarter with 1:10 remaining and Denver down 91-87.

The Nuggets are now 15-8, while the Lakers are 14-9. This Lakers team is not a great one. This should have been a game the Nuggets came out and won, but they never really played with any urgency or with a feeling that they just had to have this game. To wit ...

With time running down in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets were playing like they were down 15+ points as Denver blew four out of five possessions in this order:

2:48: Nene misses a 15-foot jumper from near the foul line. Nobody around for the offensive board (89-85 Lakers).

2:28: Ty Lawson misses a 25-foot three-pointer that just never seemed to have a chance to go in (89-85 Lakers).

1:39: Nene makes bunny (89-87).

1:10: Afflalo misses an 11-foot jumper while team is still setting up offense (91-87 Lakers).

After that shot I just got the sense that L.A. would close out the game rather easily and Denver would be losing a game where they just didn't seem to care about the final outcome. Very strange feeling.

Then with the Nuggets on a fast-break the ball gets knocked (by Harrington) out of Afflalo's hands and it goes out of bounds of Kobe's foot. The play is reviewed and upheld as Nuggets ball.

An inbounds play occurs, Nene feels Andrew Bynum overplay the pick-and-roll that was in the process of being set up and the Brazilian slips the screen, gets the ball, and makes an easy dunk, and it's 91-89 ... there is hope.

One defensive stop and Denver can either go for the win or the tie. Karl trusts his team, they play tough defense, ball movement finds Bynum wide open under the hoop, he goes for the dunk, Nene blocks the shot (lots of wrist, maybe all wrist) and the ball goes out of bounds off Bynum or Pau Gasol and is called Lakers ball, of course. The play is reviewed and overturned, Nuggets ball.

An inbounds play occurs, Lawson tries to take 97 year-old Derek Fisher off the dribble and he can't do it. Lawson dishes to Harrington and he is covered by Metta World Peace at the top of the key, Big Al drives a few steps inside the foul line, then backs up, and fires off a fade-away three-pointer ... rolled out. The Nuggets foul with :02 and the Lakers put the game away.

Just a very odd feeling to this game. Denver couldn't get the lead and once again allowed the Lakers to basically control the pace of the entire game and play with a 4-5 point lead for much of the contest. The Nuggets must know by now that they must control the pace against the plodding Lakers and yet, they just can't get it done.

Bynum looked like a beast as he went for 22 points and 10 rebounds on 10-13 shooting. He's so damn big and just destroys the Nuggets. Kobe had an awful night shooting 7-23 from the field, but he finished with 20 points (how?!) and had 9 assists to go along with 5 rebounds.

After the game on Altitude's broadcast, Kobe was asked if Karl's defensive strategy bothers him. Kobe replied that Karl's teams have never defeated him in a playoff series ... face slap.

Views you can use:

  • Harrington had 9 points in the first half and 15 points in the second half. The only reason the Nuggets made a contest out of this one was because of Al's 10 straight points from the 5:47 mark to the 3:29 mark. Al was 4-4 in that stretch with two big three pointers. The only issues, the Lakers scored 7 points of their own during that hot-streak.

  • After Bynum was fouled by Kosta Koufos on a lay-up attempt, looked like a decent block attempt and not a hard foul at all, Bynum got in Koufos' face. K2 barely responded until Bynum said something that got Kosta's attention. Was good to see Kouf step in Bynum's face as he needs to show some toughness and a nasty side ... which he really hasn't ever shown.

  • Harrington said of the last shot that he took that the first option was for Lawson to take the 102 year-old (Fisher ages during the recap!) Fisher and tie the game. Harrington was the last option, but wound up with the ball anyways. Another instance where the young guns are not stepping up ...

  • Mozgov wont travel with the team to Portland tonight, according to Benjamin Hochman. X-Ray revealed it was just a sprained left ankle.

  • I need to stop writing for these Nuggets games ... they keep losing when I write and dklsdkls kdj;laksdjas ahhhhh!!!

Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nate_Timmons
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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