Lakers Gameday | 05/19/09 | Lakers 105, Nuggets 103

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105
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Denver Nuggets 31 23 22 27 103
Los Angeles Lakers 23 32 19 31 105
103

Lakers Game Leaders
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Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
40 Points
Field Goals: 13 of 28
FG: 46%
Pau Gasol Pau Gasol
14 Rebounds
Defensive: 8
Offensive: 6
Derek Fisher Derek Fisher
6 Assists
13 Points
2 Rebounds
Luke Walton Luke Walton
+9
5 Points
3 Assists

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  • Kobe Bryant Postgame Quotes
  • Lakers 105, Nuggets 103: Postgame 1
  • Lakers - Nuggets Running Diary 1
  • Odom’s Back Still Sore, But Improving
  • Sasha Post-Shootaround Video
  • Lakers - Nuggets Preview

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    Post-Game Numbers
  • 46 - Points in the paint by the Nuggets, inspired in part by the decision making of Chauncey Billups (eight assists) and Carmelo Anthony (four assists), who took advantage of L.A.’s aggressive defense: “I could always see gaps when penetrating, guys slipping to the basket, because they overload the (strong side), and I’m always going to try and make the right play.”
  • 12 - Missed free throws by the Nuggets in 35 attempts. L.A. made 20-of-24, including 11-of-13 in the fourth quarter.
  • 11 - Consecutive postseason games in which the Lakers have beaten the Nuggets.
  • 9 - Field goal attempts from Pau Gasol, only five more than Andrew Bynum (16 minutes). Denver’s Nene did a great job of being physical with Gasol, often shoving him off his spots, though Gasol still managed 13 points, 14 boards, three assists and two blocks that included the crucial swat of Anthony with 2:30 to play.
    --Mike Trudell, Lakers.com

  • STARTERS
    Los Angeles Lakers Denver Nuggets
    Guard
    Derek Fisher
    D. Fisher
    Guard
    Kobe Bryant
    K. Bryant
    Forward
    Trevor Ariza
    T. Ariza
    Forward
    Pau Gasol
    P. Gasol
    Center
    Andrew Bynum
    A. Bynum
    Guard
    Chauncey Billups
    C. Billups
    Guard
    Dahntay Jones
    D. Jones
    Forward
    Carmelo Anthony
    C.Anthony
    Forward
    Kenyon Martin
    K. Martin
    Center
    Nene
    Nene

    Lakers Gameday Articles and Updates
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    • POST-GAME
    • FRANK HAMBLEN PREVIEW
    • GAME PREVIEW
    • SCOUTING REPORT
    • LAKERS UPDATES
    Bryant's free throws give Lakers 105-103 win

    LOS ANGELES(AP) Those wildly inconsistent Lakers showed up for their Western Conference finals opener against Denver and still managed to defend their home court.

    Kobe Bryant scored 40 points, including six free throws in the final 30 seconds, to lift Los Angeles to a 105-103 victory over the Nuggets on Tuesday night after the Lakers trailed most of the game.

    Pau Gasol added 13 points and 14 rebounds and Derek Fisher had 13 points for the Lakers, who faced a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Gasol's two free throws tied the game for the last time at 99 before Bryant went to the line, offsetting a 3-pointer by Chauncey Billups and a free throw by J.R. Smith.

    Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points, Billups added 18 and Kenyon Martin had 15 for the Nuggets, who hadn't played since taking care of Dallas in five games last Wednesday.

    Game 2 is Thursday in Los Angeles.

    Bryant, who was 9 for 9 from the line in the fourth quarter, made two for a 101-99 lead with 30 seconds left. Trevor Ariza stole the inbounds near midcourt and the Lakers were able to run the clock down to 10 seconds when Bryant made two more free throws.

    Billups hit a 3-pointer to get the Nuggets to 103-102 with 5 seconds left, but then Anthony fouled Bryant, who made his final two foul shots.

    Smith made one free throw with 3.2 seconds left and missed the second intentionally. Bryant grabbed the game's last rebound.

    "A good one, an important one,'' Bryant said of the win. "Like I told the guys in a timeout, this is a different series. We felt kind of down on ourselves with a slow start. ... I told them to forget about that, this is a different series.''

    The Lakers were back in action 48 hours after closing out Houston in seven games in the conference semifinals.

    "We just had to push through it, we didn't come out with the kind of energy we wanted, guys were fatigued, a little tired,'' Bryant said. "But it was a gut check for us.''

    Denver led most of the game in its return to the conference finals for the first time in 24 years. But the Nuggets couldn't stop Bryant over the final 6:48, when he scored 15 points, including seven straight to help the Lakers improve to 7-1 at home in the playoffs. They are 8-0 this postseason when scoring 100 points.

    Bryant got the better of Anthony, his U.S. Olympic teammate.

    "It was a lot of fun, he's a bull down there,'' Bryant said. "I am a little out of my weight class, but I'll give it my best shot.''

    Neither team led by more than five points in the third quarter, when Laker starters Andrew Bynum and Ariza both picked up their fourth fouls.

    The Lakers used a 9-0 run, including seven straight by Fisher, to go up 70-66. From there, though, the Nuggets ended the quarter on a 10-4 run to lead 76-74. Billups had five consecutive points, including a free throw after a technical foul on Bryant, in the spurt.

    The Nuggets moved the ball well and aggressively drove the basket in taking a 13-point lead in the opening quarter, but hurt themselves by going 12 of 21 from the line in the half. Billups, who missed three free throws in the first two playoff series combined, missed his first three of the game.

    The Nuggets controlled the first half, leading until the final 1:10 of the second quarter. That's when Josh Powell hit two free throws to give the Lakers their first lead.

    The Nuggets went back in front before Fisher hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Lakers into halftime leading 55-54. Fisher was 0 for 6 before connecting from the right baseline, which was emblematic of the Lakers' shooting woes. They hit 38 percent from the field, with Bryant going 7 of 16.

    Notes: The Nuggets fell to 2-3 on the road in the playoffs this season. ... Denver F-G Linas Kleiza played despite a fracture on the tip of his right thumb. ... Faces in the crowd included Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Justin Timberlake, Drew Barrymore, John Mayer, Josh Groban, Andy Garcia and figure skater Michelle Kwan.


    Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

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    FRANK HAMBLEN PREVIEW

    Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen sat down with us to preview Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, explaining why Denver’s improved defensively, talking about George Karl’s 30-30-30 formula and the importance of Chauncey Billups.

    Hamblen also detailed how unlike Houston and Utah, Denver doesn’t run many clearly defined offensive sets, focusing more on simple pick and rolls and isolation post ups.

    LAKERS - NUGGETS PREVIEW

    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers stepped off one thrill ride and, after little time to catch their breath, have to jump on another.

    No big deal, Kobe Bryant said Monday, the only day the top-seeded Lakers had to prepare for the Western Conference finals against Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the second-seeded Denver Nuggets.

    "You just get after it. We're pretty familiar with this team,'' Bryant said.

    Game 1 is Tuesday night at Staples Center. The Lakers will be trying to get back to the NBA finals for the second straight year while the Nuggets will be trying to get there for the first time.

    "Honestly, when we played them in Denver, the second-to-last time we played them, I told Melo, 'I'll see you in the Western Conference finals,' because I just felt like they had all the pieces there,'' Bryant said. "They had the depth, the toughness. They had the camaraderie. It's no surprise to me that they're here.''

    The Lakers advanced after an erratic, baffling semifinal series against the Houston Rockets. After being pushed to Game 7, the Lakers responded with an 89-70 win on Sunday, getting a brilliant performance on both ends of the court by Pau Gasol, who had 21 points and 18 rebounds.

    The Nuggets have been chilling since Wednesday night, when they eliminated the Dallas Mavericks and advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 1985.

    "They are going to come in with a lot of confidence and be ready to play,'' Bryant said. "They're going to come out on our home court and put on a show. We've got to be ready.''

    The Nuggets are ready, having eliminated New Orleans and Dallas, each in five games. They just hope the rest doesn't lead to rust.

    "We're very confident,'' Anthony said. "Not cocky, but confident. In the back of our minds we know what we did to get to this point.''

    While the Lakers are Hollywood, the Nuggets are talented and entertaining in their own right, with Billups, Anthony, Nene, Kenyon Martin, Dahntay Jones and Chris "Birdman'' Andersen.

    The Nuggets say they'll have to step it up defensively, which the Lakers did in eliminating the Rockets on Sunday.

    "We're playing at a very good level, a very efficient offensive level,'' coach George Karl said. "Defensively, we have not been special. Against New Orleans we were pretty good. The Dallas series turned into an offensive game. I don't think we can win an offensive game against the Lakers. We have to win at least two games with our defense.''

    Martin, who along with Nene will be matched up against Gasol, agreed.

    "They have great offensive talent, so we are going to bring our best defensive game we are capable of playing,'' Martin said. "I think we proved during the playoffs we can stand up if we put our heads into it. It's just a matter of us going out and doing it''

    The Nuggets have gone 1-10 against L.A. the last two seasons, including a four-game sweep in the first round of last year's playoffs, when Denver became the first 50-win team in league history to get swept in the first round. Karl hasn't won at Staples Center since taking over as Denver's coach midway through the 2004-05 season.

    "Well, I think you can pull some things from that,'' Billups said. "But like I said, we're just a totally different basketball team right now, so none of that stuff really matters. It's playoff basketball. It's a different intensity, it's a different focus. Everything is different. "

    Los Angeles won the season series 3-1.

    "Their personnel is obviously challenging,'' Gasol said. "We have a really good team and we are feeling really good right now after yesterday's win. We're ready to step up and continue this right path we're building.''

    The Lakers were wildly inconsistent against the Rockets, looking all-world one game, then getting railroaded the next. Bryant said they decided at halftime of Game 6 - which they ended up losing by 15 points - to turn up their defense a notch, something they think they can carry into this series.

    Asked if the Lakers deserved the beating they took from the media for their split personality, Bryant laughed.

    "I mean, I always find that stuff entertaining to read,'' he said. "We as a ballclub, we know what we have to do. I'm definitely more upset than anything anybody could write about. We're harder on ourselves than anything anybody can write.

    Said Gasol: "I think what we went through with Houston made us grow as a team. Hopefully we'll show that.''

    Bryant and Anthony became friends last summer when they were teammates on the U.S. Olympic team, which won the gold medal in Beijing.

    "He's like a brother to me,'' Bryant said. "Truly, I love him. We spent a lot of time together last summer. He was the one I was the most close with on the team.''

    Said Anthony: "That's my man. That's my guy, but I don't know him this week.''

    ---=

    AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.


    Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
    LAKERS SCOUTING REPORT

    Denver is a potent offensive team that is playing at a very high level right now. They come at you in waves. The primary options are Chauncy Billups and Carmelo Anthony. The next wave features Nene, JR Smith who comes off the bench hungry to score and Kenyon Martin. Finally, reserves Chris Anderson and Linas Kleiza have clearly defined roles that contribute to their success. Denver Nuggets 3 Up TwistHaving said all that, it is on the defensive end that the Nuggets have made the improvements that bring them to the conference finals. They play with an attitude that fits with their size and athleticism. We expect them to devote a lot of their defensive focus on Kobe just like they did in the regular season so once again our spacing and ball movement will be key to getting a good shot on each possession.

    Preparing for the Nuggets presented a couple of obstacles the first being the fact that we had about 48 hours to move from the Houston Series to this one. In the first two rounds we played teams that used some clearly defined offensive sets. Denver does not operate that way the majority of the time. They do have some sets that they will use but the primary focus of their offense is simple screen and rolls and post ups.
    Click here to read the full scouting report more...

    LAKERS UPDATES

    LAKERS IN THE CONFERENCE FINALS
    With their Game 7 victory over the Rockets on May 17, the Lakers advanced to their 39th Western Conference/Division Finals series in franchise history (29 Los Angeles, 10 Minneapolis). Currently in their 61st NBA season, the Lakers have participated in 64 percent of the NBA’s Western Conference/Division Finals since the 1948-49 season and have advanced to the NBA Finals on 29 occasions. Since moving to Los Angeles, the Lakers have gone 23-5 in Western Conference/Divison Finals while going 6-4 in Division Finals during their time in Minneapolis. The Lakers have won five consecutive Conference Finals series with their last loss in the Conference Finals coming to Utah in 1998 (0-4). Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is 11-1 all-time in Conference Finals series (5-0 Los Angeles, 6-1 Chicago).

    LAKERS vs. DENVER IN THE POSTSEASON
    The Lakers and Nuggets have met four times in the postseason (1979, 1985, 1987 and 2008) with Los Angeles advancing on each occasion, most recently defeating Denver 4-0 in the 2008 Western Conference First Round. The Lakers have won 13-of-15 postseason games against the Nuggets, losing once at home (7-1) and once on the road (6-1). The latest these two teams have met in the playoffs was in the 1985 Western Conference Finals (4-1). In 1979, the Lakers defeated Denver 2-1 in the Western Conference First Round while they swept the Nuggets 3-0 in the 1987 Western Conference First Round.

    LAKERS IN BEST-OF-SEVEN SERIES

  • The Lakers are now 66-29 in best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (60-28 Los Angeles, 6-1 Minneapolis)
  • The Lakers are now 61-34 in Game 1 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (57-31 Los Angeles, 4-3 Minneapolis)
  • When winning Game 1 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 54-7. (50-7 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis)
  • When losing Game 1 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are now 12-22 all-time. (10-21 Los Angeles, 2-1 Minneapolis)
  • When losing Game 1 at home of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are now 8-3 all-time. (7-3 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis)
  • The Lakers are now 55-40 in Game 2 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (52-36 Los Angles, 3-4 Minneapolis)
  • When winning both Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 38-1 all-time. (37-1 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis)
  • When splitting Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are now 26-12 all-time. (21-12 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis)
  • When losing Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 2-16 all-time. (2-15 Los Angeles, 0-1 Minneapolis)
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