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NBA, Playoff Blogger Faceoff / May 19, 2009 / 4:00 pm

NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff: Lakers vs. Nuggets

lakersvsnuggets
Welcome to our first ever NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff, where we pit our favorite team-related writers against each other to let them tell why the teams they represent will win their first round matchups. We gave them no set format, no style guide – we just told them to do their thing. Check it out and join in the debate in the comments section.

Next up: Lakers vs. Nuggets

WHY THE LAKERS WILL WIN
Written by Kurt of Forum Blue & Gold

Denver
is playing the best basketball it has in decades and any Lakers fan who dismisses Chauncey Billups needs to go back and live through the 2004 NBA Finals again. This is not your father’s Denver Nuggets.

That said, the NBA is all about matchups, and in a lot of ways this is a better matchup for the Lakers than Houston. The first key will be Andrew Bynum, who needs to play like the game seven Bynum all series long. And he needs to stay out of foul trouble. When he is in, he has a length and size advantage that has bothered Nene in the past. More importantly, it forced Kenyon Martin onto Pau Gasol and while Martin will take out his frustrations with Mark Cuban on Gasol. Pau has a considerable size advantage and will get his points in this matchup.

Another key — the Nuggets foul a lot. The Lakers in general — and Kobe in particular — thrive against teams that send them to the line. Plus, if the Nuggets are in foul trouble they do not have a deep front line of good defenders to deal with Bynum, Gasol and Lamar Odom.

Dahntay Jones is not the kind of defender that slows Kobe — he relies more on athleticism than strength (ala Shane Battier). But look for the Nuggets to give Kobe his and not let the other Lakers step up.

The Lakers need to keep Melo in check and attack, and they will be just fine.

WHY THE NUGGETS WILL WIN
By Nick Sclafani of Nugg Doctor

If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.

The Lakers were the best in the West all season long. I’m actually happy that L.A. beat the Rockets, because I really didn’t want to play a quasi-healthy Houston team. Remember what the Nuggets goal is here – it’s not just to make it to the Western Conference Finals. It’s to win a championship. A trip to the Finals might have been easier against Houston, but it wouldn’t do as much for the Nuggets’ long-term as a win over L.A. would.

The time that Denver got off while the other series was going seven games was beneficial. I’m not worried about the Nuggets’ focus. Carmelo had a little bit of a tweaked groin, so it’s good that he’s gotten some time to let that heal. His groin is good now. In addition to that, here’s some more insider news. I was at the Pepsi Center this weekend – the place was buzzing this as Carmelo, J.R., Bird and K-Mart came back into a private gym on Saturday night at 5 p.m. to get an extra workout in. I actually heard them talking about strategy – “If Houston wins, we’ll do this, If L.A. wins, here’s how we’re going to deal with Pau…”

Even if he wasn’t there at that workout, I credit that sort of thing to Chauncey. He’s changed the culture of this organization at every level with his professionalism and his flat-out disregard for the Nuggets of old. And because his brand of basketball has proven to be successful in Detroit, everyone else has taken stock in it. But more than any other player, the one guy who has really benefited from Chauncey is J.R. Instead of pulling up from all over the court at any point in time, he’s exercising discretion, and getting his butt down to play defense. I’d go a step further and say that Kenyon Martin is another guy who realizes that this might be one of his last chances. He’s not going to be playing for another six or seven years. He’s got three or four good ones – this might just be his chance.

Obviously Kobe Bryant is a bad, bad man. As we saw in the Dallas series with Dirk playing out of his mind, I think we’re OK with one player scoring 35 points per game. But I worry about the Lakers’ size – Pau at 7-feet, Bynum at 7-and-change, Lamar Odom at 6-10. That’s the one thing about Denver –we’re a little bit undersized. L.A. has size at every position.

If there’s any kind of X factor out there it’s that the Nuggets don’t need one player to have a tremendous game. Being 8-2 in the post-season, there were a lot of games when Carmelo had 20, Chauncey had 20 and other guys stepped up too. This is a very well-rounded team. The rest of the team realizes that if Carmelo isn’t going to have a big game, they’ve all got to have a good game.

Ultimately, it all relates back to Chauncey. Last year, AI and ‘Melo averaged over 52 points per game. But defensive teams put the clamps on those two guys and no one else stepped up. This year we have the pieces and the team mentality to get it done, no matter who we’re playing.

To read all of the Playoff Blogger Faceoff entries, GO HERE.

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  • that’s whats up

    at this very moment J.R. Smith is yelling to his teammates: “I’m Open”

  • Taj

    Nuggs in 6… Denver is too deep. Front lines will cancel each other out Denvers guard play will be the key..

  • K Dizzle

    lol @ nuggs bein deeper than LA. that’s funny

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN aka BINO BROWN STR8 UP N DOWN

    I know TAJ – LA is TOO shallow…especially up front.

    LOL

  • liukz

    WHY THE HELL IS EVERYONE SAYING:
    “what are the lakers bigs going to do with Kmart defense?
    he was a beast agaiNst Nowitzki”

    DIRKS PPG AVERAGE IN THE DENVER SERIES : 34.4 PPG

    what a defense!

  • http://mylakersnation.com Lakers Nation

    don’t even try to go against Kurt! he’ll destroy all who challenge him much like how the Lakers are going to wreck shop tonight!

  • Drink the Haterade (KB24 Chip 09)

    One commentator said Kobe is going to feel like he just got his get out of jail free card–classic

  • Taj

    Thats clearly not what I said…

    Their front lines are both good.. LAL has Gasol, Odom, and Bynum(depends if he shows up)and Ariza. Nuggs run KMArt, Nene, Birdman, Melo, Klieza… So…They are pretty evenly matched. Denvers bench has been consistenly more productive than LA’s throughout the playoffs. Thats why I consider them to be a deeper team.

    Maybe thats clearer…

  • Marci

    Nuggets in 6.

  • bigdoggchad

    Everyone says that LA’s front court is going to dominate the Nuggets’ big men? LA’s bigs didn’t even dominate the Houston bigs and they were 6’6″, 6’7″, 6’9″ and less athletic then Denver’s big men. Bynum and Odom are way too inconsistent to be counted on. Nuggets in 6.

  • dk

    Like I said before children, Lakers in 5… You people amaze me with your lack of knowledge.

  • bigdoggchad

    Why does everyone think the Lakers can just turn the switch off and on? They used to say the same thing about the 2004-2008 Pistons. But the difference is that the Pistons won a Championship and knew what it takes to win a ring. The Lakers haven’t won a ring so how do they how to turn on a switch when they haven’t even played at a level needed to win the Championship?

  • dk

    Nugg doctor had to write a book top defend his team lmao…. I cant wait to see how dumb these newfound Dnever fans feel when they realize they have to jump ship, again.

  • dk

    *to defend * Denver sorry ….

  • mjs

    The Nuggets are playing great and have better leadership. Nuggets in 6.

  • UncheckedAggression

    I definitely feel like way too much faith is being placed on the Nuggets. Suggesting that the Nuggets are deeper than LA is crazy.

    I hope the Nuggets can make a series out of it, but I’m not convinced they can win.

  • dk

    @ The Nugg Doctor

    The Lakers nor their fans needs your positive reinforcement. We know who Kobe is and we know about the rest of our team to. What you need to do is rethink that worthless essay you wrote and concentrate on your teams many weaknesses that will be exposed this evening…

  • LakeShow84

    Only difference with this team is Billups..

    And suddenly they are deeper than us?? suddenly the same front line that got ate up last year is going to suddenly out hustle our frontline?? Shit IMO Kenyon Martin couldnt hold a match Scola.. and Chuck Hayes would give Nene fits as well..

    Everyone listing Houstons height like that shit matters.. How tall was Bill Russell again??

    I hope we smash these foos so all you TOOLS can vanish for now..

  • dk

    @17
    You should be ashamed, ” hope ” ! ;)

  • LakeShow84

    Oh we’ll win no doubt..

    SMASHING would be winning in 4-5 games.. So all these cats on here talking can put they foot in they mouths.. backing the Nuggets.. shame on you guys! LOLOLOLOL

    You all better hope we dont win this series.. ill have words for everyone from Charles Barkely to OJ Simpson..

  • dk

    @19 Thats much better, but its fact man, its obvious. Anything short of a copule guys putting up 40 they aint got a chance. Well dominate at home and steal either game 3 or 4. It will look just like the Utah series but a little more exciting and at a better pace. Its written.

  • LakeShow84

    And so it shall be!!

    lol good times..

  • dk

    @21 Im going away for 9 days were there is no phone or internet, so you and Lakers Nation make these bandwagon punks fucking pay :) Lakers up!!!

  • LakeShow84

    We got this DK..

    you know these bandwagoners will be off the horse quick when they hear the first shot.. Have a good one doo..

  • http://www.nuggdoctor.com NuggDoctor

    @dk

    I didn’t offer the Lakers any positive reinforcement. I merely granted them the respect worthy of a team in this situation. Furthermore, you act like you’ve seen the game played already. Do you think the Nuggets are just some group of punks off the street?

    I hope you do because you’re about to see just how good this team really is and maybe then you’ll show some respect for an opponent.

    The Lakers are not unbeatable. Just remember that.

  • deeds

    Since when does Denver NOT have good depth with front line defenders? I’m pretty sure that’s the strength that everyone has been raving about these past two rounds.

    Still think Lakers take it though. They will show up in enough games to win 4, then lose in the finals…again….because they are soft

  • dk

    @24 Funny you should put it that way, Your moms told me pops was soft after every finale…

    Lakers by 7

  • dk

    OMG are you serious the line is 6.5 DENVER!!! WTF Wheres my phone?!?! Im getting rich tonight!

  • dk

    By the way, that rest shit is overated. Denver’s gonna have to warm up on the road, while the Lake show is gonna come out fresh!

  • the cynic

    Bynum is awful on defense

  • dk

    At cynic

    the glass is half full

  • dk

    Wow wheres the fuck saying the Lakes get all the calls? I dont know where you grew up but were im from the team favored by 6 on the road, gets the calls. So far this is ridiculous, let them play homos

  • K Dizzle

    Kobe!!! ….apparently I gotta say more than that

  • calvin brodus

    @dk

    ur retarded. nuggs are a 6.5 dog, not favorite. and the nuggs are gonna pay out tonight.

  • LakeShow84

    Gotta love it when a home team walks into ur Arena and shoots 20 free throws in a half..

    Fuck em we still got the lead..

  • calvin brodus

    @lakeshow

    what you should be loving is the nuggs shot 12-21 from the line for 57%. if i were you, id hope the keep getting to the stripe.

  • K Dizzle

    Adjustments for game 2:

    Ariza – don’t worry bout scorin, just get on Melo like Battier on Kobe….that is all

  • LakeShow84

    Damn we cant BUY a foul..

  • K Dizzle

    Damn! How KMart get 15? Didn’t see that comin

  • LakeShow84

    and these mothafuckas is leadin a march..

  • L

    Denver is gonna beat LA…oops I mean the REFEREES beat LA

  • K Dizzle

    Box that dude out!!!He the only one doin anythin…

  • L

    Lamar Odom one of the worst finishers in the NBA

  • ponky_alolor

    damn lakers getting out-hustled again. frigging box out!!

  • L

    WOOOO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • K Dizzle

    What we’ve learned:

    1) D-Fish is a valuable piece of the squad. Draws charges, hits the 3, provides leadership (that was for you, Ian – jk)Haters fall back.

    2) Gasol ain’t soft. Was a beast on the boards.

    3) You can’t stop Kobe, even with the refs tryin to give Denver the “upset”. Why is Kobe the best? Cuz at crunchtime, he can get it anyway he wants it AND hits his freebies (OH SHIT, CHAUNCEY WAS OUTTA BOUNDS!!!)

    4) Carmelo is the TRUTH. I appreciate dude more now. Scores, rebounds, passes and took up the challenge of tryin to shut down Kobe

    I’m out
    Peace

  • dk

    Whatever i read it wrong, we won anyways and the fouls were biased BS all game! Who won? Oh well I was wrong Kobe sucks… Denver got owned by Mamba while melo gay was gettin away with ridin his bac

  • LakeShow84

    GET THEM MOTHERF#$%$%S!!!!

    Good game.. Couldnt believe how that game went down with refs though..

    AND to anyone who about to say anything about Kobe getting to the line in the final minutes that was to make up for a whole game of bullshit..

    Props to Melo for a GREAT game..

  • dk

    Well Im gonna give Denver props for playing amazing… But you fuck bandwagon fans cant say we just watched the Lakers in Game 4 or 6 in Houston right? Oh, the Lakers cant beat Houston Blah, Blah, Blah… Whos coach will make the best adjustments next game? SHOULD I REPEAT THAT? Whos coach will make the best adjustments next game? Karl with all his rings? SHOULD I REPEAT THAT? Naw, people know whats up…. Houston up!

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN

    WAY to waste a CLASSIC MELO OUTING, DENVER.

    5:10 left in the third quarter, that whole Lakers possession was IMPROV and OUTSTANDING….because DENVER’S D was OUTSTANDING. That’s the possession of a winner.

    GOOD GAME! Can’t wait for mo

  • dk

    KObe got his ass beat all game! Right? lmao…. LAkeshow is right, he earned a few calls… I seen Melo hop on his back in the paint to throw him off balance!!!

  • dk

    @50 You know thats right!

  • dk

    Lets hope the Orlando series is hot too! I cant wait to see the coaching battle in that one! Captain Panic to the rescue!!!!

  • dk

    Im having flash backs of George Karl making amazing coaching adjustment and decisions in the Seatle / Denver series ( Both those years !!!) Lakers! We could be in trouble!!!!! lmfao!

  • dk

    George F*$cking Karl to the rescue! wheres my clipboard!? He got dis! 70/85 all time playoffs ( I mean 86 )… All the Lakers need is Dikembe making out with the ball on the big screens all game lol!!!! GEORGEEEE!

  • dk

    @36 Well George better get them in the gym… Hit those throws Nene!

    @ Lakeshow There gonna give them more calls because them sorry ass bitches cant hit a free throw!!!

  • dk

    To save you ignorant guys some button presses… Phil Jackson 201/88 playoff record… Lets adjust! Thats like comparing a brain surgeon to a chiropractor!

  • Taj

    Again… Guard play was the key. D Fish stepped up, while guys like Carter and JR Smith litterally threw the game away. Nuggs need to shoot better from the stripe though. Coulda stole one!!!