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NBA Playoffs 2012: A Couple of 3-Pointers Push the Lakers Past the Nuggets

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NBA Playoffs 2012: A Couple of 3-Pointers Push the Lakers Past the Nuggets
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It was Steve Blake's first TNT post-game interview of the year and let's just say it was well timed and well deserved. 

The Lakers gutted out a 92-88 win over the determined Denver Nuggets in the Mile High City and have taken a demanding 3-1 series lead as they head back to the Staples Center to try and advance to the next round. 

Before we begin to diverge ourselves in the Lakers' gutsy win over the Nuggets, let us simply point out that this game might have made history in a way we may not have even realized. For the first time in my lifetime, a woman has walked onto the court mid-game and didn't even seem to realize the repercussions of what she was doing at that very moment. Not only was it bizarre, it was down right idiotic.

But let's move on, shall we? 

If you didn't have a chance to watch the game, don't assume that Kobe was the hero of the day because he surely wasn't. Would you believe me if I told you the players of the game were actually Jordan Hill, Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake?

I sure wouldn't.....

To put it lightly, Kobe had an off night. Shooting a grimacing 10-of-25 from the field to go alongside five costly turnovers, it was essentially Denver's game to lose, and lose they did.

Bynum and Gasol both had solid nights as Bynum finished with 19 points and seven rebounds and Gasol finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. These are of course good numbers from the two big men and I would be lying if I said Bynum's inside presence didn't bothered the Nuggets tonight, but this wasn't Bynum's or Gasol's night to be praised, it was the bench's. 

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What really altered the outcome of the game were specific moments throughout the second half that slightly pushed the Lakers past the hometown Nuggets. With a couple of late-game antics from Blake, including a jaw-dropping left-handed block to save a crucial basket, and the hustle of Hill alongside Sessions' clutch late-game three, the Lakers simply had their day when it came to bench production. 

The story revolving around Los Angeles' success has always involved their bench production, and it finally created a fairy tale ending for what looked like a fatigued and drained Lakers team tonight. 

Win or lose, it's always a positive to see Sessions and Blake hit some outside shots, especially when it mattered most. Of course, any high level of play from Hill is a big plus. 

Now as they head back to Los Angeles in search for the series clincher, the momentum has shifted firmly in the Lakers' direction and it doesn't look like the Nuggets will have enough to pull out a miracle comeback. It wasn't an easy matchup for the Lakers at all, but they'll graciously take any series they can get.

Though hoping not to look too far ahead, the Lakers will face off against the Thunder in the next round if they can finish out the Nuggets—assuming Denver doesn't become the ninth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.

But enough of that. Let's reflect upon what the Lakers' role players have contributed in the absence of Metta World Peace—who mind you, will be appearing on Conan O'Brien tomorrow night on TBS—which is anything and everything that Blake, Sessions and Hill have done over the course of these last four games. It has been impressive and entertaining to watch these players step up to the challenge and the Lakers can only hope their level of play rises as they try and move on to the next round. 

Tip your hats off to Blake, Hill and Sessions tonight, they deserved the win and an applause. Hopefully Blake DVRed this game because who knows the next time when Craig Sager's hideous suit will be in the same vicinity of Blake. Enjoy it while it lasts, Blake, not everyone can say they have been interviewed by the almighty Craig Sager, you my friend have made it as a player and as a human being. 

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