'Melo Wants Redemption

ChiCitySports .ComCorrespondent IMay 25, 2009

DENVER - MAY 23:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 23, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

75 days of going 16-0—now ruined.

Game four of the Western Conference Finals will be held at Pepsi Center, as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets. We found out in game three just why the Lakers were the top dog of the Western Conference heading into the playoffs.

The Nuggets haven't lost in 75 days at home, going 16-0. So everyone was eager to see how the team with the best road record would do in the postseason.

The Nuggets proved to be the superior team through the first three quarters of game three—the fourth quarter was where they started to slip.

Kobe and Gasol led the team to success by pulling together a 32-18 final quarter.

Bryant went 5-of-6 in late-game free throws. The Nuggets couldn't manage to pull together a run and went 0-3 in three point attempts.

This led to a surprising 103-97 Lakers win.

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"We worked really hard. I'm proud of our team," Gasol said. "Even though the odds were against us, they competed. That is what led us to being able to finish off the game."

Both teams went to practice Sunday. Fisher worked on his shooting, probably because his numbers have dropped.

Kobe will need another go-to man in Fisher if they want to get past the Nuggets and go to the Finals.

The player who has surprised me is Trevor Ariza. He has now twice read the Nuggets' inbound play, and his three-point shooting numbers have slightly increased.

The Nuggets need to control Kobe in game four. For some reason, they are giving him way too much room. Bryant's gotten anything he's wanted when it really counted.

I do have to admit, Bryant isn't getting to the line as much as he normally does, so kudos to the Nugget defense.

Chris "Birdman" Andersen has been putting up numbers above the season average in these conference finals.  He managed to score 15 huge points in game three.

If you saw the look on Anthony's face after game three, you better believe he will play better in game four. I'm thinking 'Melo is going to get around 30 points.

I'm predicting the Nuggets to win this game by four points.

Some Numbers To Consider, Brought To You By ESPN:


Second-half points for Carmelo Anthony, all on free throws, as he went 0-for-4 from the field.


Field goals made by the Nuggets in the fourth quarter on 22 attempts (22.7 percent). Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith combined to shoot just 3-for-11, while Anthony was 0-for-2.


Straight road playoff wins for the Lakers in Denver.


Free throws missed by the Lakers. All seven players who attempted a free throw missed at least once for the Lakers, though the team made 11-of-14 in the fourth quarter.


Free throws made by Kobe Bryant in 17 attempts, who took, and gave, all kinds of contact throughout the game.


Second-half points for Bryant, en route to 41.


Shooting percentage for the game by the Nuggets.


Field goal percentage by the Lakers in the fourth quarter on 9-of-15 shots, highlighted by two threes from Trevor Ariza and the big dagger from Bryant.

Cudi - VSN Writer