Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 31 points, four assists, and two rebounds while Ramon Sessions added 14 points, three assists, and two rebounds. Andrew Bynum contributed with 11 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks, and three assists, and Devin Ebanks had 10 points. Jordan Hill tallied eight points and six rebounds as Matt Barnes had six points, five rebounds, and three assists. Pau Gasol had just three points and three rebounds in 29 minutes.
As for the Nuggets, Ty Lawson had 32 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Corey Brewer added 18 points. Kenneth Faried came through with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds as Andre Miller (four rebounds, two assists) and Danilo Gallinari (seven assists, four rebounds) had 12 points apiece.
Now, let’s break down the loss.
Here are a few aspects of last night’s loss we will analyze:
Kobe Bryant – Kobe had gastroenteritis and still managed to put up 31 points. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Even though the Black Mamba did his thing, the rest of his teammates weren’t able to come through.
Andrew Bynum – Although Bynum had 16 rebounds and 11 points, he was desperately needed on the offensive end. It is really not an encouraging sign for the Lakers’ big man to not produce offensively when he is very much needed.
Pau Gasol – Even more disappointing was Pau Gasol’s performance. Gasol was just 1-for-10 en route to just three points. Last time on “The Breakdown,” we spoke of Gasol’s importance to advance moving forward. Gasol must truly assert himself and revert to the Pau Gasol of the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons–especially when Andrew Bynum is not producing. Last night he absolutely faltered and disappointed everyone – from his teammates to his coaches to the fans.
Ramon Sessions – Sessions had a decent night, and if the guard play is going to dominate, he will have to make sure he scores efficiently and distributes the ball as well.
Bottom Line – The bottom line is that the Lakers should have defeated the Nuggets last night. In fact, they probably should have defeated them in Game 5. We honestly thought that the Lakers were a legitimate contender. We still do think that, but the Lakers are making it hard for us to back up that claim. They basically allowed a Game 7, and must absolutely demolish the Nuggets in order to win back credibility.
The Lakers brought this upon themselves, and are now faced with an elimination game. We are very confident that the Lakers will win, but now every other team still playing is seeing a serious weakness amongst the Lakers. We just hope that the Lake Show puts together a dominant effort to defuse any doubt that they are still a legitimate contender.