Lakers vs. Nuggets: Fighting for Redemption in Denver

Jeff Little@@JeffLittle32Senior Writer INovember 11, 2010

DENVER - APRIL 08:  Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets drives against the defense of Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on April 8, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 98-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Happy Veterans Day! Despite the fact that mere words can’t really express the gratitude we all should have towards members of the Armed Forces both past and present for placing their lives on the line daily, we thank them for their service & commitment to this great nation.

The Los Angeles Lakers are in Denver, the mile high city, to do battle with the Nuggets. Both teams have a bit of a bad taste in their mouths after their previous games for different reasons.

The Nuggets are angry about taking a massive 31-point beat down on Tuesday by the Pacers in Indiana. The Lakers aren’t happy with their performance, despite winning, against the Timberwolves.

The Nuggets witnessed the Pacers have one of those once in a lifetime quarters of basketball. The Pacers stunned the Nuggets by knocking down 20 of 21 shots in the third quarter.

The Lakers won the game, their eighth of the young season, but left the game with several head scratching questions. The purple and gold appeared to be playing down to their competition or simply having a lackadaisical performance. Derek Fisher was right to call out the team for said performance. The Lakers were out-rebounded, out-scored in the painted area and, in this writers opinion, shot way too many three point shots.

A couple of things need to be said. The Lakers performance raises questions, maybe even concerns, but it's early. An NBA season is a marathon, you’ll lose games you should win and win some you rightfully should’ve lost, and every coach and player would agree with everything Fisher said.

This isn’t the best time for the Nuggets to face the Lakers. The Nuggets should put on an inspired performance for the home crowd and in the process bring out the Lakers ‘A’ game. However, the Nuggets are thin on the front line without Kenyon Martin & Chris Anderson and they’ve struggled mightily.

Carmelo Anthony is the best player on the Nuggets, but the team has also gotten solid play from Arron Afflalo. The Lakers need to play solid defensively and shut down the pick and roll play, stop the dribble penetration, control the boards and rotate out to three point shooters.

The Nuggets will be more perimeter tonight which means that the Lakers need to start their offense inside. The Lakers need to run their offense through Pau Gasol.

The purple and gold front line needs to be aggressive on both ends of the floor and dominate.

The Lakers need to use both excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to find high percentage shots as opposed to shooting three point shots. I realize that the Lakers lead the league in three-point shooting and it is nice to see those shots go down, but the strength of this team isn’t shooting behind the arc it is dominating the paint.

The Nuggets finally have a power forward that can shoot from distance in Al Harrington and he will look to have a big game, but the Lakers have to limit both his and J. R. Smith’s impact on this game. The Lakers will raise their streak to 9-0 with solid defense, ball movement and executing down the stretch.

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
Television -
• Los Angeles: TNT
• Denver: TNT
Radio -
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• Denver: KKFN AM 950 (Jerry Schemel & Mark Bertagnolli)



• Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
• Theo Ratliff (Sore Left Knee) Probable
• Luke Walton (Strained Right Hamstring) Probable
• Kenyon Martin (Left Patella Tendon) Out
• Chris Anderson (Right Patella Tendon) Out