The Nuggets style of team basketball has proved to be quite the unstoppable force. Denver is currently 14-4 since the All-Star break. But, as per usual, the Los Angeles Lakers have been better as they are the immovable object in the Nuggets way. Kobe Bryant and Company are 17-1 since the All-Star break and sit only 1.5 games out of the No. 1 seed out West.
The particulars ...
Denver: 46-29 (15-22 on the road)
Streak: Won 5 and 8-2 in last 10 games.
L.A. Lakers: 55-20 (29-8 at home)
Streak: Won 9 and 9-1 in last 10.
Denver: Arron Afflalo (left hamstring) and Al Harrington (right Achilles tendon strain) are both game time decisions. Chris Andersen (right ankle sprain) is questionable.
L.A. Lakers: Kobe Bryant (left ankle sprain) will play. Devin Ebanks (stress fracture left tibia) is out. Theo Ratliff (left knee surgery) is questionable.
Season Series: Tied 1-1. Today is the last regular season match-up vs. the Lakers.
Opposition's Take: Silver Screen and Roll
The two biggest immovable objects for the Lakers: Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Bryant will go down as one of the best players to ever play in the NBA, but without his two big men - the Lakers are not a special team. With Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers won it all. With Gasol and Bynum they have won back-to-back titles.
The Superstar grew so unhappy with Shaq that he flirted with signing with the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2004, before L.A. traded The Diesel to to the Miami Heat, clearing the way for Bryant to have his own team (so to speak). With Bryant running the show the Lakers went 34-48 in the 2004-05 season and missed the playoffs. The next season (2005-06), L.A. went 45-37 and the Lakers were bounced from the first round of the playoffs. In the 2006-07 season, Bryant's Lakers were just 42-40 and again bounced from the first round of post-season play.
Then during the 2007-08 season the Lakers traded for Gasol and the team took off. The Lakers were 30-16 before acquiring Gasol and after he arrived on Feb. 5th, 2008 - the Lakers went 27-9 and cruised all the way to the NBA Finals (where they lost to the Boston Celtics).
The acquisition of Gasol, to go along with Bryant, Bynum and Lamar Odom, gave the Lakers the pieces they needed to be a superior team. The key word: team. It wasn't and hasn't been Kobe carrying these Lakers teams on his back. After Shaq left and before Gasol arrived Kobe led his teams to a 151-141 record. With the star studded teams with Gasol, the Lakers are 204-71 in the regular season and have two championship trophies.
This season, Gasol and Bynum are again massacring teams on the offensive glass. Gasol averages 3.2 offensive boards a game and Bynum grabs 3.4 offensive boards per contest. As a team the Lakers rank 5th in the NBA with 12.12 offensive boards a game. Compare that with the Nuggets who rank 27th in the NBA in offensive rebounds with 9.55 per game.
Creating second chance opportunities can make up for a lot of offensive issues and the Lakers do a fantastic job with their two seven-footers along with 6'10'' Odom at cleaning up mistakes or missed shots. The Nuggets always have their work cut out for them against the Lakers and Denver will have to work hard to keep the Lakers bigs in check this afternoon.
This Sunday day game is always a nice change of pace and one the Nuggets players are not accustomed to. Get to your televisions and find ABC as the Unstoppable Force Nuggets take on the Immovable Object Lakers.
Views you can use:
- The Lakers have a legit shot at overtaking the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 seed out West. With 7 games remaining and a match-up with the Spurs on April 12th, the 1.5 game lead the Spurs hold doesn't look too safe.
- With Chris Andersen ailing will George Karl use Timofey Mozgov against the Lakers today? On Feb. 11th, 2011 Mozgov, with the Knicks, played 29 minutes against the Lakers, scoring 7 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a 113-96 loss.
- The Lakers are 95-50 all-time during the regular season against the Nuggets.
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