2009 Western Conference Finals Game 3: Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Game Thread

How long can the Denver Nuggets continue their home court dominance?  They have won 16 straight games in the Pepsi Center and so far in the 2009 NBA Playoffs the Nuggets have won each of their six home games by at least 12 points.

Of course the Los Angeles Lakers are not the New Orleans Hornets nor are they the Dallas Mavericks.  As Kobe Brant has enjoyed pointing out after game two the Lakers had the best road record in the NBA at 29-12.  To put that in perspective there were 20 teams who failed to win as many as 29 games at home.

To expect another home blowout might be presumptuous.  Of course, after the four conference finals games that have been played the Nuggets three point win in game two has proven to be the largest margin of victory.  One of these games has to be over before the final possession, right?  If not health care facilities in Denver, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Orlando better stock up on defibrillators. 

After two games I do not know that any of us have a better grip on what to expect.  Was the resurgence of Linas Kleiza for real or was it a one night only special event?  Are Anthony Carter and Dahntay Jones both going to be restricted to spot duty?  Will George Karl trot out the big lineup again?  Will either of these teams run?  Can the Nuggets keep the battle on the boards even or will the Lakers size slowly wear them down?  Is this all we can expect out of J.R. Smith?  Is this all we can expect from Lamar Odom?  Is this all we can expect from Andrew Bynum?  Will Nene be the guy who scored 14 points in the first half of game one or will he be the guy who scored six points in the three halves since then?  How long can Kobe carry this team on both ends of the floor?  Will Phil Jackson demote Derek Fisher from potential game two hero to watching Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown from the padded folding chairs?  Who will blink first Kobe or Carmelo?

Pretty much all we do know at this point is both of these teams seem to be very evenly matched and you do not want to build up a double digit first half lead and end up scoring 103 points.  That has not worked yet.

I believe at this point in the series both teams feel just as confident as they did when the series began.  They are both laying in their beds right now thinking to themselves that they should be up 2-0.  Neither team has landed a blow that has rattled the other.  The only way I see that happening is if one team wins both of the games in Denver. 

As good as the Lakers are on the road, they do not play better there than they do at Staples Center.  On the other hand we can expect the Nuggets to play better than they did in those first two games when they were on the road.  While both teams are confident it is clear that the Nuggets have the advantage until the Lakers knock them off in Denver.  That might happen tomorrow or it may not happen at all. Plus if there was any doubt in the Nuggets’ heads before game one, they have been obliterated.

I am pumped because tomorrow I will be attending my first playoff game since the 2005 series against the Spurs.  If you want to say, “hi” or “you suck, quit blogging” or “go Nuggets” I will be planted in section 342, row 4, seat 1 and I will have my baby blue Nuggets shirt on.  I would love to get a chance to meet some of my loyal readers so if you have a minute stop on by.  I have a good bladder and no desire to pay what it costs for a hotdog and a Sprite Pepsi so I will be there all game long.

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

Featured Nuggets Blogs:  Pickaxe and Roll | Denver Stiffs | Nugg Doctor | Nuggets Nuggetz | Nugg Love check out the Kobe Stop Crying sign pictures and Chauncey’s inbound pass off the back of a defender from his George Washington days

Featured Lakers Blogs:  Forum Blue and Gold | Lakers Blog | Silver Screen and Roll

Take this with you:  Some numbers for your consideration:

  • Denver is 5-0 in the 2009 playoffs when Chauncey scores 25 or more points and they are 3-4 when he scores 24 or less. 
  • After only averaging three fouls a game over the Nuggets first seven playoff games, Nene is averaging five over his last five games. 
  • Carmelo has five straight 30 point playoff games setting a new Nuggets record.  Over the past 25 years only three players have had longer streaks and they are Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan all with streaks of six. 
  • Kobe has five technical fouls in the 2009 postseason and if he hits seven he has to sit a game.
  • jakester

    The more I think about it, the more I hate the 7-techs-and-you’re-out rule. I don’t think it will happen to Kobe, because I think the NBA would get WAAAAAAAYYYYY too much crap for it if it did happen. Which will mean he’ll get a much longer leash than he should, which will mean the Nuggets will lose out on points. Because who wants to be the ref that calls that 7th T? Or even the 6th?

    Plus, it unfairly punishes players whose teams play longer series. It just seems so arbitrary, and gives too much discretion to the floor refs – while at the same time, potentially handcuffing them, as again they will not want to be “that guy” who makes Kobe miss a Game 7.

    Thanks for the awesome link to the state HS championship game, by the way. As a GW alum (albeit a few years older than Chauncey) it makes my heart proud!

  • jakester

    Oh and as for Kenyon’s rebounding, don’t forget he’s PLAYING WITH A BROKEN FINGER in his non-shooting hand. He’s still an asset on the court, but I have to think that affects his willingness & ability to corral rebounds.

  • magster

    How many T’s do Carmelo and Kenyon have?

    I was half expecting the league to give Kenyon a flagrant 1 for the foul on Ariza. Since Kenyon didn’t get a flagrant, that foul was a fairly pivotal moment, as Ariza was feeling pretty high and mighty after that first dunk, and not so much after Kenyon helped him hip check the floor.

  • magster
  • jakester

    Magster – KMart has 5 T’s after that BS double tech called on him & Gasol. He did a GREAT job of keeping his composure there – for Kenyon. But of course, there’s 0% chance that will be overturned should Martin pick up a 7th any time in the next several games. And let there be no doubt, we are a decidedly worse team without Kenyon Martin playing.

  • Bee

    GO NUGGETS!

  • andreefor3

    I’ve always thought that 7 technicals was waaaaay too many for a suspension. I understand that players like Billups pick them up when they argue calls on the behalf of other teams, and that it can be a sign of good leadership, but having watched each series, I can’t imagine picking up 7 techs.

    It also gives players from teams less likely to escape the first round a longer leash to act out. Remember game 4 of the Dallas series, the only game dallas won? I don’t have the stats, but they racked up a ton of flagrant and technical fouls throughout, which contributed to the out-of-control atmosphere in American Airlines Center. Scary situation worsened by the league’s rule.

    I think the limit of techs per playoffs should be fewer, but should be per series rather than for the whole playoffs. At the least, it would prevent raucous games in dangerous atmospheres like Dallas in game 4.

  • andreefor3

    Hard to believe we can be outplaying them by so much and the score is tied. We should be up by 17 with the caliber of play from both sides.

  • Josh Hopp

    I was secretly expecting a 20 point lead at the half. so much for that.

  • jakester

    Most! Frustrating! Game! EVER!!!

  • jakester

    Melo, CB7 & JR a combined 12/39 or 31%

  • jakester

    yep, definitely the single most frustrating game in this history of sports

  • andreefor3

    When JVG commented on Carmelo’s non-factor play in the second half, he neglected to mention that Melo was injured in some way – the way he couldn’t stop touching his eye afterward and saw virtually no third-or-early-fourth-quarter action. Something definitely happened on that foul from Walton.

    I’ve never seen what Simmons calls a “stomach punch” game. Kobe’s three to go up 96-95 was brutal and was absolutely the difference between the win and the loss. But Ariza’s deja-vu steal was absolutely devastating. You saw it coming a mile off and again, had the ball been taken in the backcourt, we would have stood a much better chance.

    With end-game inbounds situations obviously being a problem , is it better not to take it out of bounds? Just to slow it down, put the ball in Billups’ hands, and try to get an easy look? I know it’s counterintuitive, but as we’ve read, Karl doesn’t have a wide variety of inbounds plays. Are we better off not taking that timeout?

    Also, it’s tough to put anything on Billups with his massive 4-point play midway through the 4th, but the difference in Game 2 was his ability to draw the foul and get to the cup. Tonight, he never produced down the stretch.