Game Report: Nuggets defeat Lakers 126-114
This game looked bad for the Lakers from the opening tip, with Kenneth Faried’s rebounding and boundless energy sparking the Nuggets to a home win against the Lakers, and in the process ending the Lakers five-game win streak.
The Lakers were so frustrated at being outworked by Faried that Dwight Howard put an arm in his face midway through the third quarter, and in the process earned a flagrant foul and an ejection. No Lakers spark resulted.
For the game, the Lakers were outrebounded 48-38, were outscored 58-38 in the paint, and allowed the Nuggets to shoot 12 of 22 (55%) from beyond the arc. That’s poor defense.
The fact that the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant with help from Steve Nash, turned in a rather great offensive performance was moot, as their defense was just that bad. Their poor defensive effort was more than enough to offset 29 team assists on 41 baskets (71%), and a very respectable 14 turnovers.
The game was notable for Pau Gasol shooting 2 of 3 on three-pointers on his way to 19 points on an efficient 7 of 11 shooting. However his six rebounds in nearly 37 minutes was part of the Lakers poor defensive effort tonight.
Steve Nash once again played a very efficient game, scoring 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting and adding eight assists, against only two turnovers. He also went 1 of 1 from the charity stripe, meaning that if he can hit his next ten he will pass Mark Price as the all-time free throw percentage leader.
Lakers’ Player of the Game
The Player of the Game tonight was Kobe Bryant, who scored 40 points on very efficient 13 of 24 (54%) shooting. It was the tenth consecutive game in which Bryant has scored more than 30 points, and the second consecutive game in which he has done it efficiently. Bryant threw in six assists, four rebounds, and two blocks for good measure.
Steve Nash may be second in all-time career free throw percentage, but he’s no Kobe Bryant when it comes to free throws. Kobe gets to the line often and then makes most (he was 9 of 11 tonight). Though Nash rarely misses, he rarely gets to the line, either.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Kobe Bryant has now played at least 40 minutes in ten straight games. That may be a big reason why he’s scored 30 points or more over that span, but at what point does it begin to do more harm than good to the Lakers season?
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
“What did it mean for the Lakers to lose Dwight Howard? ‘Not a whole lot,’ Mike D’Antoni said. ‘I don’t think he had a good game.’” – @Mike_Bresnahan, post-game tweet
“Faried just outworked every Laker on the floor. And his numbers reflect that. Like I said, pin tonight’s loss on effort.” – @LakersNation, post-game tweet
Friday, December 28 vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, 7:30 p.m. PST