After the worst playoff loss for the Los Angeles Lakers since Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks last year, Kobe Bryant and Lakers coach Mike Brown say they need Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to step it up in order to get the best of the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Coach Brown talked about the problems in the frontcourt via Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:
“We’re going to need more out of our two bigs,” Brown said as the Lakers faced the reality of going from a 2-0 series lead to a Game 7 in Los Angeles on Saturday night. “They’re our second- and third-best players. We’re going to need a lot more out of those guys in order to win the series. But not just scoring wise. Defensively. Defensively to follow the game-plan discipline and do it with some effort and some energy and really just lay it out on the line.”
After being told what Brown had to say about Game 6 in Denver, Kobe agreed:
“Of course I agree with that,” he said of Brown’s critique. “I talked with Pau a little bit after the game and I’ll speak with Andrew as well. It’s one of those things where psychologically you have to put yourself in a predicament, in a position, where you have no other option but to perform. It doesn’t matter what the defense does. It doesn’t matter because you’re emotionally at a level that is above that. That is the mindset that they have to put themselves in.”
With Gasol and Bynum combining for just 14 points, the Lakers were extremely inefficient in the paint and both big men being non-factors against the Nuggets on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
Despite vomiting and dealing with stomach pain before Game 6 due to gastroenteritis, Kobe came to play, scoring a team-high 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting. Unfortunately, Kobe was the only one that came to play on Thursday and his impressive performance while suffering from illness wasn’t enough to put the Lakers over the top or even close to competing with the motivated Nuggets.
Now that Game 6 is in the books with the Nuggets alive for Game 7, the Lakers will travel back to Los Angeles to try and closeout Denver for a third time. Fortunately, this time around they will have forward Metta World Peace back from suspension which might give this team a much needed boost.