The Denver Nuggets overcame poor shooting and turnovers to grind out a victory against one of the worst teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers (it feels good to say that). Denver needed overtime, but a clutch three pointer from Danilo Gallinari with a minute and a half remaining in the game created enough space for the Nuggs to close out a victory from the free throw line, 101-94.
Kobe Bryant lead all scores with 27 points. He started the game hot going 6/10 through the first three quarters, but tough defense by Wilson Chandler late caused him to go 4/14 combined in the 4th quarter and overtime. The Lakers have always depended on Kobe late in games and will always so long as he is there, but LA has a team of scrubs and at this stage of Kobe's career I don't think he has the legs to carry this team for 82 games and be able to close out the close ones. All of his jump shots were short at the end of the game and Chandler was all over him defensively. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was hoping Kobe would take the tough shot for LA.
Ill Will didn't just step up on defense, he was white hot from three for a stretch. Chandler lead all Nuggets with 19 points, going 5/11 from three. He tacked on 8 defensive boards, as well. Ty Lawson was getting it done on his drives. He racked up double digit assists early in the third quarter, then aggressively focused on scoring on his drives from their. Lawson finished with 18 points and a season high 16 assists. The offense was drastically ineffective when Ty was on the bench. The fact that he lead all Nuggets in +/- with +16 only confirms it.
Los Angeles shot 37.1% from the field and 12.5% from three. Some might look to pat the Nugget defense on the back, but they benefited from running the "Josh Smith" defense. Intentional or otherwise. The Lakers just have bad shooters, from Swaggy P.U. to Wayne "He's still in the league?" Ellington. LA had great success when Jeremy Lin drove to the basket and he lead the Lakers single handed on a run in the third quarter. But the term of the third quarter was not "Linsantiy", but "Sacre Bleu!" Robert Sacre, who should only be leading the team in towel waving, scored 10 of his 13 points in the third quarter. The man averages 5.3 points per game. He played one less minute than Kenneth Faried, yet outscored him by 5 points.
How did Denver pull out this game? They shot 60.5% from the line, had more turnovers, and shot 37.8% from the field. The reason they won was because even though they missed 27 threes, they still made 7 more than LA and more importantly, they held LA to just 9 offensive rebounds. In a game full of missed shots, Denver was able to box out on defense and secure rebounds. No Laker had more than 2 offensive boards and Timofey Mozgov had 6 offensive rebounds by himself. Denver was more physical when shots were in the air and they minimized second chance points for a team struggling to make baskets.
Stiffs, we made it out of Staples Center with a victory. Is that enough for you? How do you like our chances at home against Chicago on Tuesday? What is the deal with cranberry dressing? Please share your thoughts below.