2009 Western Conference Finals Game 6: Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Live Blog/Game Thread

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Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Game 6 Live on ESPN360

This is it.  I have had a lot of people ask me if I think the Denver Nuggets can win a game seven from the Staples Center.  While I do not love their chances of winning that game, they first have to earn the right to play a game seven by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in game six at the Pepsi Center.

As George Karl said today there are not many adjustments to make and any alteration is bound to be a slight one.  At this point both teams know each other inside and out.  It comes down to execution. 

Denver will be looking for bounce back games from players like Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith and Nene while the Lakers will be hoping they can get another exceptional effort from Lamar Odom. 

A few minor changes that I would like to see is better execution of the trap the Nuggets like to spring on the sideline off the screen and roll.  The two trapping players need to smother the ball handler.  In game five they allowed themselves to be spread out and provided too much room to locate an open teammate.  Also, the positioning needs to be better from the other three players to cut off any pass that can lead to an immediate scoring opportunity. 

I would like to see Melo post up more often.  If the Lakers double him, it will open the lanes for players to cut to the rim.  If he is not doubled, he is a quick dribble from getting to the rim.  No matter what the Nuggets will need better movement off the ball than they established in game five.

Do not force the three ball.  Players like Chauncey, J.R. and Kleiza all need to shoot a couple of threes, but if it is not falling, try something else.  I can live with a 1-4 or 1-5.  I cannot live with another 1-10.

Play with controlled desperation.  I do not think Denver will suffer from a lack of effort tonight, but they cannot afford to lose their focus as they have been wont to do from time to time this series.

As you would expect I think the Nuggets will win tonight.  There is certainly a chance that the Lakers will relax ever so slightly knowing they have an ace in their pocket that is home court for game seven. 

Denver Nuggets Game Notes

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Take this with you:  The Nuggets have lost seven straight close out games tying the all time record held by the Hawks (1968-78) and Hornets (1993-2002).  That sounds bad, but let me spin it for you.  It is not easy to set any all time record so I suspect Denver will end that string tonight.

Also, Carmelo turns 25 today.  If he is as aggressive tonight as he was in the fourth quarter of game five I think it will be a memorable occasion.  I wonder if Rocky will manage to throw another cake at a Lakers fan to commemorate the moment.

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  • Kay

    I don’t care, I’m still proud of our team. They accomplished a lot this season. I remembered when everyone said they wouldn’t even be 8th seed. But they were 2nd and went to the Conference Finals. It was good times. Go Nuggets 2010!

  • runningdonut


  • stephenmp

    Most infuriating stat of the night: “This will be the Lakers’ THIRTIETH trip to the NBA Finals…” Second-most infuriating stat of the night: “In their 61 seasons, the Lakers have made the playoffs 56 times…”

    I asked this in the comments section of another blog: Does the NBA really have anything the least bit effective in place to induce a little parity? I know that David Stern and ABC and all the various advertisers like Vitamin Water and Nike are completely thrilled that the Lakers are in the finals AGAIN, and it’s apparently because it will be so good for the ratings.

    But I can’t fathom WHY that’s going to be good for ratings. To me, I see that FIFTY PERCENT of the league’s championships are owned by just TWO TEAMS, Lakers & Celtics. Add the Bulls, Spurs, and Pistons to the list, and just those FIVE franchises account for something like EIGHTY PERCENT of the titles.

    Is it really, truly good for the ratings to have the same few teams going to the finals over and over and over? Who are all these people out there saying “Oh boy, the Lakers are going AGAIN! If they hadn’t made it, I wouldn’t have watched!”?

    I, for one, will not be watching a single second of the finals this year. I didn’t watch one second last year, either. It feels to me like something is fundamentally wrong with the NBA. I don’t feel like the team I’ve been rooting for, for decades, has an honest shot at ever making the finals. It must be rigged. The Nuggets seem to be one of the many franchises who exist for the same reason as the Washington Generals. The Lakers just need somebody to beat on their way to the finals, so hey, let’s put a team in Denver.

    Again, I just can’t understand why the prevailing opinion wouldn’t be “What, the Lakers again? Yawn.”

    It’s two simultaneous sources of disappointment tonight — one, that the Nuggets didn’t make it, and two, that it’s because they lost to the Lakers. Part of me wants to feel hopeful that maybe the Nuggets can build on this and finally make it next year or the year after, and part of me wants to just stop following professional basketball altogether.