The Nuggets crushed the Lakers to knot the series at two games apiece. Only 48 hours removed from an outstanding effort by Los Angeles in the Pepsi Center to take a 2-1 advantage, the Lakers came out lethargic and got beat.
The Lakers were out-hustled, out-rebounded, out-muscled, out-worked and out-played in game four. They could be fatigued—showing the effects of going through a tough seven–game series with Houston.
The worse part about it was that the loss came on a night that Denver was playing with a sub-par Carmelo Anthony. Chauncey Billups also had an off-night but finished with 24 points. Anthony & Billups combined to shoot 10-for-32 from the field.
The Nuggets received a strong contribution from everyone on the team—all of their starters were in double-digits. The Nuggets bench, led by JR Smith’s 24 points, out-scored the Lakers bench 42-24. The Lakers were destroyed in the rebounding category 58-40.
The Lakers trailed in this game from start to finish and really didn’t even compete in this author’s opinion. The officials unfortunately became part of the story by allowing the game to get out of hand.
I’m never one to say that the officials took a game from a particular team and I’m not going to start now. Nor am I going to say that the officials were the reason the Nuggets won. Plain and simple, the Lakers took a beating by the Nuggets.
However, the officials were too involved in this game as evidenced by the unfair advantage given by the disparity of free throw attempts, 49-35. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers in scoring with 34 points on 10-for-26 shooting from the field and 2-10 from behind the arc.
Eighteen was a magic number for Denver in this game. The Nuggets out-rebounded the Lakers by 18 and out-scored them in the paint by 18. Denver also had 10 more points than Los Angeles on fast break points.
The Lakers as a team shot way too many three point shots (31), when you consider that they have a size advantage in the post. Pau Gasol is shooting 62.5-percent from the field and not getting enough touches. The Lakers need to make the adjustment of running their offense through the post.
The series is now tied at two games apiece heading back to Los Angeles.
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