Pivot Points: How Bad Was the LA Lakers' Loss to Denver? Ask Johan Petro

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer INovember 14, 2009

DENVER - MAY 03:  Johan Petro #27 of the Denver Nuggets drives against the defense of Brandon Bass #32 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 3, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 109-95. 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

To say the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night would not be doing justice to the word lost. I can think of a few better words like, battered, bruised, demolished, annihilated...take your pick from any of these.

How bad was it? Denver reserve, Johan Petro made his grand entrance with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the significance in this is that Petro is a more athletic version of Laker reserve Adam Morrison.

His substitution for Carmelo Anthony mid-way through the fourth quarter meant that either the Nuggets were getting blown out or that they had put the game out of reach, and in this case it happened to be the latter.

It's not like the french-born Petro is a horrible player; it's just that much like Morrison, he has been unable to realize his potential. His extended play highlighted several things for the defending champion Lakers and none of them were positive.

Kobe Bryant scored 19 points on 7-17 shooting, but when being defended by Nugget guard, Aaron Afflao he was only 2-10 from the field. Naturally, Afflalo has now been designated the latest version of the "Kobe stopper."

This is nothing new for Bryant, as he has seen various versions of this model throughout his tenure in the NBA, but now the designation will hold until Kobe is able to prove other-wise.

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The Lakers were due for a let-down after winning six straight games all without power forward Pau Gasol, and they were in the second game of a back-to-back after blowing out the run-and-gun Phoenix Suns.

The atmosphere in Denver was electric, as the Nuggets were looking for a measure of revenge from last year's dismissal in the Western Conference finals, and they were welcoming back suspended guard, J.R. Smith.

Even still, the manner in which the Lakers were beaten is totally inexcusable. The lack of effort displayed by the men in purple and gold should be shown in instructional videos of how not to play the game of basketball.

Consider the two teams went to halftime with the Nuggets holding a 58-56 lead and the Lakers only managed to put up 23 points after the intermission. Twenty-three points? On some nights Bryant manages to get that in a quarter.

This was definitely not one of those nights, and the Laker defense, unbelievably, was just as stagnant as the offense.

Denver guards Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson, repeatedly beat their counterparts to the rim and Lawson had a dunk over seven footer, D.J. Mbenga that is sure to be replayed over and over for the rest of the season.

Trying to find Laker positives in this game is similar to trying to tell an ugly girl that you would rather date her friend, in other words, an exercise in futility.

Laker center, Andrew Bynum did continue his torrid start to the season by chipping in with 19 points and a game high 15 rebounds, but for the Lakers that was about it.

I guess if you were really reaching you could say that Morrison won the battle of seldom-used reserves by out-scoring Petro two points to zero, and he logged more minutes with twelve to Petro's six.

As far as battles go, at least that was an area that the Lakers prevailed, but as far as the game goes, on this night, they without a doubt lost the war.