Found May 11, 2012 on
Fox Sports West:
Moments after the Denver Nuggets' easy 113-96 Game Six victory, point guard Ty Lawson ended his national television interview with six words no Laker fan wanted to hear Thursday night:
"Game Seven. Los Angeles. Let's go," he said, a large smile crossing his mouth.
So it was onto the chartered plane for the hour-and-a-half flight back to STAPLES Center in L.A. and a chance to make history.
A win Saturday night against the staggering Lakers would make Denver just the 22nd team to win a seventh game on the opponent's home court. The hosts have won 86 times in that situation.
However, the way the Nuggets have embarrassed the Lakers in the first two close-out games, shows that the momentum has become the sole property of George Karl and company. Also the Lakers have some recent experience in blowing 3-1 series leads, having done so against the Phoenix Suns in 2006.
Lawson, the game's leading scorer with 32 points (also adding 6 assists and 5 rebounds), is confident about his team's ability to pull off an upset.
"We already gave away two games in this series," he told TNT's Craig Sager. "We gave one away here and another one in L.A.. We can win if we stick to the game plan."
At least Denver has a plan.
In the last two games the Lakerswith the exception of Kobe Bryant, who shook off the flu Thursday and scored 31 after getting 43 on Tuesday--haven't had a clue. Especially the two big menAndrew Bynum and Pau Gasol-- who combined for 14 points on 5 of 21 shooting. And their bench was outplayed and outscored 40-27.
Defensively, Gasol had a plus-minus of -29, worst in the game, while Bynum wasn't much more effective with a -22.
The man who breathed new life into the Nuggets with his "close out games are easy" bulletin board material last Monday, said Denver has totally out-worked the Lakers in both losses.
"We haven't been playing with their kind of intensity," said Bynum, who did grab 16 rebounds and block four shots despite his offensive play. They're doing it and we're not (matching) it.
"It was tough looking at all those baskets these guys were making. They were playing hard, walking around with kind of a swagger. For us (to be successful) we have to want to stop guys (and) we need to figure it all out before Game Seven."
And of course he couldn't let an opportunity to take a swipe at coach Mike Brown, saying he didn't understand why he wasn't in the game during the final quarter, saying 'I didn't play in the fourth. That kinda sucks."
For the record, the Lakers were trailing by 22 points at the end of three quarterswith Bynum playing 30 of a possible 36 minutes. And TV cameras once again caught him staring into space, looking unhappy, while Brown was talking during a timeout.
Karl, who said he had an early morning revelation Wednesday that the Lakers weren't much better than his team, feels his guys once again went out and proved him right.
"There's no way I thought what happened tonight (with the blowout) was going to happen," Karl said. "I thought the guys carried on with intensity and aggressiveness and energy.
"I thought the two things that were vastly (better for us) tonight were our passing and out three-ball. We had good playmaking, and guys were making good basketball plays with Ty and Andre (Miller) running (the offense).
"Our defense was also good throughout the game, until the end when the game was out of hand. Then we (let up) a little bit and weren't very good. But this was a big game...and Saturday will be even bigger."
Brown felt that his team's defensive deficienciesespecially in challenging one of basketball's most fundamental plays.
"We were bad with our pick-and-roll coverage," said Brown, who had to be disgusted watching his team give up 50 points in the paint. "They got what they wanted. (We) did the coverage correctly maybe eight percent of the time, if that."
And that obviously isn't anywhere near enough if the Lakers want to avoid blowing a 3-1 lead for the second time in six seasons.
"We've got to do a better job," Brown said slowly as if to emphasize his point. "It's going to have to matter to us; we're going to have to work harder and want to get...the...job...done.
"If we get the same type of effort and execution of our game plan, it's going to be a long night Saturday night."
And a much longer summer should they lose a third consecutive close-out game.
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