Lakers Bounce Nuggets, Get Ready For Next Round

The Los Angeles Lakers put forth a great effort in Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets to win, 96-87.

In the first quarter, the Lakers built a narrow 25-24 lead. Steve Blake hit a huge three-pointer to bring the Lakers within one, 22-21, at one point. Pau Gasol was aggressive early en route to six points, three rebounds, and two assists, and Andrew Bynum also started out the game well by defending well (three blocks) and converting on his baskets. Metta World Peace was hustling on defense and created many extra opportunities. Kobe Bryant was relatively quiet with four points. For the Nuggets, Ty Lawson got out of the gate hot and put up nine quick points.

The Lakers opened up a lead early in the second quarter. Blake started the second quarter out hot; converting on two consecutive shots (a two, and a three-pointer respectively), and then dropped in yet another three-pointer midway through the quarter. The Nuggets made a push, but the Lakers finished strong and led the Nuggets before halftime, 48-42. Blake finished with 11 points (on 4-5 shooting from the field, 3-3 from three) in the period. Gasol played extremely well and aggressive, notching 13 points, seven rebounds, and five assists by halftime. Bynum was solid with eight points, six rebounds (four offensive), and three blocks after the first 24 minutes of play. Bryant played a facilitating role early; dishing out four assists, but also putting up seven points of his own.

In the third quarter, the Lakers came out extremely active. Metta World Peace dropped in a pair of three-pointers (he had nine points in the quarter), and was an absolute terror on defense. Kobe got himself going offensively, and Bynum as well as Gasol were extremely aggressive on both offense and defense. The Lakers built a 16 point lead at one time, but the Nuggets mounted a huge comeback and trailed by just one point, 69-68 after three quarters. Bryant scored seven points in the period.

The fourth quarter was an absolute battle as both teams fought to win each possession. World Peace stepped up his effort to an even higher level, and Pau Gasol went hard on the offensive glass to get numerous put-backs. Steve Blake continued his white-hot shooting (he dropped in another three-pointer). Kobe played quarterback the whole night, but dropped in an enormous three-pointer with under a minute to play; getting just enough separation to seal the victory for the Lakers. Every single player on the floor for the Lakers stepped up in a huge way, and the Lakers came away with a 96-87 victory.

The Numbers

Pau Gasol led the way for the Lakers with 23 points, 17 rebounds (11 offensive), six assists, and four blocks. Steve Blake came up huge with 19 points, three assists, two steals, and two rebounds. Kobe Bryant finished with 17 points and eight assists while Andrew Bynum notched 16 points, 18 rebounds (nine offensive) and six blocks. Metta World Peace had 15 points, five rebounds, four steals, two blocks, and two assists, but that didn’t tell half of the story when it came to Metta’s impact on the game. Ramon Sessions added just four points and two assists in 19:31 minutes of play. Jordan Hill had two points and three rebounds while Matt Barnes was scoreless but had four rebounds in six minutes of play.

As for the Nuggets, Ty Lawson (six assists, five rebounds) and Al Harrington scored 24 points apiece. Arron Afflalo added 15 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Javale McGee (14 rebounds, five blocks) and Kenneth Faried (10 rebounds) notched six points each. Danilo Gallinari had three points, three rebounds, and three assists while Andre Miller–who was hounded by World Peace all night–scored just three points, but had 11 rebounds and eight assists nonetheless. Corey Brewer added four points.

Now, let’s break down the victory.

Next Page: The Breakdown

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