Timofey Mozgov and the Nuggets didn't show any quit, but the Lakers did what they needed to.
Anyone who normally reads this site knows I'm a glass half full guy. I can see the good in just about any situation. Well, after watching the Nuggets impose their will, at times, last night and still never play with a lead ... my glass is beginning to look half empty.
Lakers head coach Mike Brown has gone to a system of playing two seven-footers at all times against the Nuggets. The Lakers are determined to clog the lane, get back on defense, and control the boards. Kenneth Faried is a serious threat on the glass and Brown knows it. Enter Jordan Hill.
Hill appeared in just seven games for the Lakers after coming over at the deadline from the Houston Rockets. JaVale McGee, who came to the Nuggets at the deadline as well, appeared in 20 games for the Nuggets. McGee averaged 20 minutes per game in his 20 appearances to just 11 minutes per game in seven games for Hill. But Brown is going off sheer size alone ... and it's paying off.
Through two games, Hill has played 24 minutes and 21 minutes and has collected 10 rebounds in each game; to go along with 16 points. It's role players like Hill that swing series in their team's favor. While he may be getting more talk for allegedly choking a family member, Hill has been an unsung hero thus far against the Nuggets.
The Lakers are big - with Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill. The Nuggets are small with Faried and Al Harrington doing their best against the monstrous lineup deployed by Brown. But the Lakers are not just big ... they are also talented, experienced, determined, and nearly flawless.
The Nuggets are not a flawless team. George Karl's system is dependent on creating chaos. The high-risk and high-reward defense gets burned more than someone making toast with a blow-torch. That same defense can also lead to big time victories when executed to perfection, but how long will we have to wait?
The free flowing offense leads to announces saying year-after-year, "Denver struggles in the half court." Only Chris Andersen remains from that Western Conference Finals team and he has been relegated to the bench. So, we have new faces yet remain in the same places ... down big to a dangerous team.
The Nuggets must now try to win four games in just five tries. Can it be done? It could, but I have a feeling we may be seeing Cool Hand Luke trying to box Dragline. Luke keeps coming back for more and more and more, but it just isn't enough ...
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