So much for Mike Brown getting fired.
It was a weird game for the Lakers, with Metta World Peace returning, Pau Gasol playing like an animal and Steve Blake scoring more points than Kobe Bryant.
Now the Lakers will turn their attention to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Tweets of the Night
As always, it was a star-studded crowd at the Staples Center. Kanye West was in the house with Kim Kardashian, who may or may not have been there to scout her next boyfriend. J.A. Adande of ESPN did some hard-hitting reporting on their evening.
Kanye and Kim Kardashian didn't make kiss cam. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel did, though.— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 13, 2012
Andrew Bynum's effort was questionable at times, even early in the fourth quarter. Grantland's Sebastian Pruiti has the shameful details.
Andrew Bynum just let Al Harrington post him up...it wasn't a face up either...— SebastianPruiti (@SebastianPruiti) May 13, 2012
Steve Blake, however, was amazing throughout, prompting Not Bill Walton to break out this gem.
Steve Blake is doing things I once heard about from a cryptic hermit while hiking the trails of Torres del Paine in the Chilean Patagonia!— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 13, 2012
Gasol also played very well, which led Bleacher Report content programmer Matt King to think he may have come down with a sickness.
Pau caught himself a case of the trysies tonight.— Matt King (@TheRealMattKing) May 13, 2012
i'm glad this has been exciting. cuz there's no reason the nba should have us up this late watching basketball.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) May 13, 2012
With the Nuggets still threatening late, Kobe buried them with this nasty three-pointer. Justin Timberlake approved.
Grades for Key Lakers Players
Kobe Bryant: B+
Bryant got plenty of help from his teammates, and found ways to stay involved without shooting. He did a great job facilitating the offense, finding open teammates all night long. He finished with eight assists, and sealed the win with that late three.
Pau Gasol: A+
Why, Pau, how nice of you to join us.
With the series on the line, Gasol was absolutely dominant. He went for 21 points, 17 rebounds (11 offensive) and six assists.
This game was a great reminder of how good Pau can be when his head is on straight. If he plays like this in the next round, Oklahoma City is in trouble.
Grades for Key Nuggets Players
Ty Lawson: A
Lawson had another great game, racking up 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting. He blew past L.A. defenders at will, and kept Denver in the game when it looked like they were about to get blown out.
It was a breakout series for Lawson, who exploited the slow Lakers guards in nearly every game. Even though the Nuggets lost, Lawson deserves some serious respect after this performance.
Al Harrington: A
Denver needed someone on their bench to step up, and Harrington did just that.
The small forward was big on Saturday, going for 24 points in 29 minutes. Although the Nuggets are going home, you can't blame Harrington.
Game MVP: Steve Blake
That's right, Steve Blake.
The slow, old and generally boring backup point guard was the difference-maker Saturday. He caught fire from downtown, draining 5-of-6 three-pointers on his way to 19 points.
I never thought I'd say this, but without Blake, the Lakers would have been screwed.
As the Nuggets prepare their fishing gear, the Lakers will now get ready to face the Thunder in the second round.
With so many storylines surrounding those two teams, it should be a wildly entertaining series. Game 1 starts Monday night in Oklahoma City.