The Denver Nuggets suffered a scare prior to their game one matchup versus the Los Angeles Lakers. Their bus carrying Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith, and others caught fire.
There were no injuries and they arrived on time, only to be the victims of another fire.
The Lakers shot 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol led the way, shooting 14-20 from the field, and finishing with 36 points. Kobe Bryant, the favorite for the MVP, started slow but got hot in the fourth quarter, where he scored 18 of his 32 points, capping the Lakers 128-114 victory.
Nuggets stars Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony had stellar offensive performances themselves, adding 30 points apiece.
But all this was for naught, as the Lakers were too efficient and they once again got a huge contribution from their bench players. Lamar Odom added 17 points, Luke Walton had 16, and Sasha Vujacic and Vladmir Radmanovich each had eight.
More important than the final box score or the margin of victory, game one set the tone for the rest of the series.
The Lakers stars came up big and their bench held their own. The Nuggets received a stellar performance from their stars, but it fell short. 14 points short.
The Nuggets struggled on defense, as we knew they would. One has to wonder, if their stars each score 30 and they still lose by double digits, what chance do they stand in the rest of the series?
Sure, they could use Allen Iverson not being ejected from the game, but that was with just two minutes to go, after it was all decided.
When Iverson got his second technical foul, it was clear that he, like all Nuggets fans, was frustrated with his team's performance on defense.
Can the Nuggets rally for game two? Do they have enough to close the gap and overcome, or will they continue to flounder on defense and end up sitting on their couches within a week?
If what we learned from game one holds true for the rest of the series, the latter seems most likely.
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