2010-11 Game 76: Denver Nuggets 95, L.A. Lakers 90 (Double Take)

Box Score | Highlights

After Kenyon Martin put back a missed free-throw by Nene to clinch the Nuggets 95-90 victory of the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, emotion spilled out of the gritty power forward in the form of expletives aimed at the silicone-infused celebrities strung along the court-side seats at Staples Center. For Nuggets fans, this was a moment when we vicariously said what we’ve wanted to for a really long time, and thanks to Kenyon Martin, we got that opportunity without having to deal with the repercussions.

Many will point and say this is the best win of the year, but I disagree; this was the most telling win of the year, and what it told us is that the Denver Nuggets don’t even have to play to the best of their abilities in order to beat the two-time defending NBA Champion L.A. Lakers. Coming into Sunday’s game the Lakers were by far the hottest team in the league, having only lost once in their last 18 match-ups. You’d think playing on their home-floor with the best closer in the league, best coach in the league (in terms of championships) and best front-line in the league that the Nuggets would have to play nearly flawless in order to win, but that was hardly the case. Instead, the Nuggets came out sloppy to start the first quarter (which seems to be a trend these days) scoring only 21 points, and then duplicated that effort in the second by scoring even less (19). This nerve-racking display caused us to come limping into half-time with a total of 40 while shooting 29 percent from the field. Still, the Nuggets were only down by seven at that point and when the third quarter rolled around we were able to nudge things into a much higher gear (another trend), which resulted in 29 points and a tie game going into the fourth.

Once the fourth quarter began the back-and-fourth battle that had ensued all game long continued to fizzle until about the four-minute mark when Denver went on a timely 9-2 scoring run. It was then, when like we’ve seen so many times recently, the Nuggets seemed to collectively look each other in the eye, give a confident nod and proceed to beat the Lakers into submission. I’m still perplexed as to just how nonchalantly routine we stepped things up to close out the defending Champs on their home-floor. That to me is what was so amazing about this game. All night long we were trading buckets with the Lakers, throwing punches only to see them negated by questionable officiating, which left us susceptible to the counter-attack  in which the Lakers then capitalized on and built short leads off. But when it came down to it, when it was time to put up or shut up, the Nuggets revealed they were only playing rope-a-dope by coming back re-energized with a flurry of knock-out blows that connected one after the other. And as you could imagine, the Lakers were stunned. The crowd became hesitant with trepidation, unwilling to fully give away their hearts knowing the Nuggets likely had this victory within their grasp, and the Lakers knew it too. At half-time when Kobe was asked what the difference was between the “new-look Nuggets” and the old Nuggets he replied, “Not much; more of the same.” He might be re-thinking that statement as we speak.

Besides K-Mart’s blustering stroll along the side-lines of the Lakers bench after making a game-clinching put-back, the biggest story of the fourth quarter undoubtedly had to be Raymond Felton and his continuing emergence as the new “Mr. Big Shot” of the Denver Nuggets. After being held scoreless the entire first-half, Felton decided to change his shoes from green (in honor of the NBA’s “Green Week”), to his usual powder-blue color, and with that the comeback began. From the third quarter on Felton shot 6-9 from the field including 3-3 from downtown, and was the primary catalyst in the Nuggets second-half surge. Overall he finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. There’s no question that although Ty is probably the most talented of the mercurial point guard tandem, Felton is far more experienced as both a leader and a shot-maker; but the combination of the two together is proving to be deadly for opponents of every shape and size.

Other than Felton, everybody again had a fairly solid outing. Gallinari played a team-high 41 minutes and put up an impressive stat-line in the process, scoring 22 points on 7-13 from the field to go with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kenyon Martin also had one of his best games in recent memory by netting 18 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one block and of course one nasty tirade directed at the pretentious people of the front-row. From now on we may refer to this moment in Denver Nuggets history as, “The Shining.”

Closing Thought:

I’ll admit, this one was a little unexpected. When I did my piece earlier this past week detailing how the Nuggets might go about wining 50 games for the fourth consecutive season, I had this one pegged firmly as a loss. Quite honestly, I’m still a little shocked at the outcome of this game. We’ve heard rumblings for weeks amongst Nuggets fans about this team truly being a championship contender, but until tonight I never really gave that notion much consideration. From what I could tell, we were a deep, talented team motivated by the big trade centering around thou-who-shall-not-be-named, which brought many players to the Nuggets who felt disrespected and had something to prove. Even after countless wins against some of the best teams in the league, I just figured we were hot. But Sunday the possibility of our Nuggets truly being a championship contender came to fruition. I know it was only one game, but you can’t say that when you’re beating nearly every opponent on your schedule. So please Nuggets fans, take a moment to now stop, inhale deeply, exhale slowly and with that appreciate what a great team you currently have constructed for your viewing pleasure. It’s not often in sports that you get to follow something special, something groundbreaking, something historic; but right now, that’s a very real possibility. Enjoy.

Ramblings…

  • You could tell to start the game that the Nuggets were nervous. Shots they’d normally knock down with ease were evading them regularly. Obviously as the game progressed they became more comfortable, but nonetheless, it was interesting seeing this development. I have long maintained that the Nuggets — like any small-market team in the NBA — have an inferiority complex when it comes to playing against the Lakers. It was this dark could that rendered our ’09 Nuggets tepid and hesitant in the final few games of the Western Conference Finals, resulting in our head-scratching departure after the series being tied competitively at 2-2. I feel like even when we win, there will always be this sense of a value struggle, and until we can actually beat the Lakers in a seven-game series I doubt it will ever fully evaporate. (NOTE: Kenyon Martin might have something to say about this.)
  • Watching Bynum play makes me realize two things: (A) Nene is still playing out of position and is naturally a power forward, and (B) Ty Lawson deserves a true center here in Denver. Maybe Mozgov can be that guy?
  • Speaking of Mozgov, the young Russian saw the most minutes he’s had since being traded to the Nuggets in February, and he was not bad considering he got thrown into a dog-fight and had to defend three of the better big men in the game. Moz had five points and six rebounds in 15 minutes of action, but it was his pure bulk more than anything that had an affect on the outcome of the game. His rebounds were almost always scrappy and his effort was top-notch. He had a few minor mishaps, but nothing you wouldn’t expect out of somebody in his position. Moz can play, and we saw clear evidence of that tonight. I know Karl has his wacky theories about playing too many big men, but Moz is too talented to just let rot away on the bench. Plus, he’s HUGE! Going up against Bynum (who makes Nene look like a small forward), Moz was just as tall and cantankerous when it came to opposing bigs trying to out-rebound him. Please George Karl, let the man play as it would be a shame to let all that size you were so happy about getting in the trade go to waste.
  • The officiating tonight was questionable, as usual when you play the Lakers. Although they finished with one more foul than we did, some of the calls seemed suspiciously premeditated, and some just made no sense whatsoever. It wasn’t ever the shooting fouls that bothered me, just more the out-of-bounds calls. I swear every 50/50 call seemed to go their way.
  • During half-time Karl had a quote that perhaps summarized his entire coaching philosophy. When addressing Ty he stated (paraphrasing, not exactly word for word here), “I trust you, but if you don’t figure it out, it’s on me.” Karl still came with a great game-plan today and coached honorably, but he’s never been one to take the brunt of the blame for anything, that’s for sure.
  • I just thought I’d throw in my two cents regarding “The Shining” (I only say this because Jack resides in the front-row where K-Mart began his diatribe, and because it naturally has it’s parallels/similarities). Basically, I loved it. As I said before, a lot of what he shouted are probably things many Nuggets fans have wanted to say for years, but because of a certain level of humility might have refrained from saying. Luckily for us, we have K-Mart to serve as our proxy, and boy is it nice. I know many people would probably be put off by his vulgar demonstration, but I salute his passion and defiance in the light of everything that the Lakers represent, including their superficial bandwagon “fans.”

Following segment by Charlie:

For the eighth straight year the Denver Nuggets will be competing in the NBA playoffs. What’s been most impressive to me over this six-game winning streak is the way they have done it – banged up and not playing their best. It’s one thing to win ugly against the Lakers in LA, but what is so invigorating is the way in which Denver has vaulted themselves into the playoffs by outmatching the defending champs with physicality and clutch execution.

As we’ve seen in the past few contests, the Nuggets offense has cooled as their trademark execution and flow is appearing in shorter spurts than we’re used to. In today’s afternoon game in L.A., we saw much of the same with some defensive lapses thrown in as key cogs Arron Afflalo and Chris Andersen were late scratches with injury.

So just how were the Nuggets able to beat the beastliest team in the league right now? A combination of pride and toughness seem to be fueling this team past all of the doubt and consternation surrounding their ability to compete without a closer or superstar threat. Time and time again we are seeing this team share the load on both sides of the ball with the method varying nightly, but the result mostly the same. The Nuggets are winning games by attacking with depth from so many angles it’s impossible for teams to know where they are getting hit from.

Credit George Karl for getting Timofey Mozgov solidly in the rotation with Chris Andersen sidelined. Al Harrington might have thought he’d be next in line for big minutes and a larger role, but it was Mozgov’s size and strength that put Denver in a position to match the overpowering length of L.A. Mozgov made some rookie mistakes and at times was part of a defense that looked uncomfortably out of sync. Once you add Kenyon Martin’s toughness and trademark intensity with the size to match the big bodies of the Lakers, Denver became by far the more physical and aggressive team. It was the biggest factor in the Nuggets win, evident by both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum finding themselves worn down by the strength and quickness of Denver’s front-court at game’s end. The Lakers bigs hit Denver in the mouth early but in the end the Nuggets were the ones doing the punching and Mozgov was a big part of that throughout.

On offense it was uglier than it looked. While the Nuggets moved the ball early and often, rarely did they look to be constantly aggressive scoring the ball. In the first half it was Danilo Gallinari dragging the Nuggets through while Raymond Felton took over that role in the second. Had it not been for Felton’s hot hand late, the Nuggets would have had no scoring punch out of their bench. When it mattered, the Nuggets were able to will buckets in and JR Smith — who struggled to score all night — made two of the best passes of the game to Mozgov for a dunk and Felton for a wide open triple. Like I said, this was an ugly offensive performance out of both teams but when crunch time hit it was Denver with a better commitment to executing and finding the open shots.

What Denver did well all night was force turnovers and challenge the Lakers physically. There was no tough guy bravado or showmanship. It was hard-nosed basketball and a belief that the Nuggets were not only going to compete but outmatch the defending champions in what they do best. The Lakers played to their size advantage all night and fouled Denver to keep them out of a transition game. Instead of trying to force something else the Nuggets responded to the challenge by beating L.A. at their own game. It came down to pride and execution in the clutch against the best finisher in the game. Only this time, it was the team with no closer and a greater collective pride that was doing the finishing.

Advanced Stats

Pace Factor: 99.1 – Surprisingly fast despite L.A. fouling as much as they could to slow it down
Offensive Efficiency: 95.9 – Not terrible against a solid defense like LA’s, who were able to make Kenyon Martin the focus of Denver’s offense far too often
Defensive Efficiency: 90.9 – Solid, the reason Denver was able to win as the Lakers were unable to get a single easy basket most of the fourth quarter

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  • Andrew

    Fantastic, and I agree with all of the points here. It wasn’t that they beat L.A. in L.A. It was the way they did it. Gritty, grinding play at the end to finish off the champs. I also loved K Mart’s “love ballad” to the faux faker fans at the end. Fantastic!

  • nordmoose

    GO Nuggets!
    (I’m leaving off the “K” from here on out. This team has earned the full legit name at this point, eh?)
    I have to agree with your statement that this game was the most *telling* of the year. It certainly wasn’t the best but boy did this game tell me something. To be a fan of this team is awesome and they’re a bloody fun team to watch.
    Work stuff had me following the 30 second updates on that major sports website for the first half (the gameday thing stresses my already crippled desktop). I loaded up and made it to a teevee by mid-way third quarter.
    My take on the game, overall, echoes, again, your view on it, Kalen. Entering the 4th, it was rather impressive how …. the word isn’t ‘malleable’ and it’s not exactly ‘scrappy’…but I was quite pleased to see how the Nuggets just simply dogged their way into some of those turnovers, created some issues for LA with their defense and, ultimately, dogged for the buckets that got them the lead. Some of the shifting and contorting I’m feeling from the personality of this team….be it the uncertainty of which player is going to step-up (and in which half!?) to their, well, doggedness on D or passing the rock to get their offense rolling; I’m really loving how this team *figures it out* and grinds out the “W”. Remember how cool that Knew Terminator was? Schwarzenegger was a badarse, protecting that kid, running that bike through those aqueducts (in LA, eh?), and so on…but how cool and tough was that Knew Terminator? Dude could turn to fluid and you just couldn’t quite figure out what else this guy could do or what he would come up with next.
    The Lakers are a badarse team. No doubt. They’re big. They’re strong. They’ve proved to be one tough club. But I can’t help but be reminded of that movie sequel and wonder,…are we seeing a new generation and direction for professional basketball play? Granted, it can be well argued that it’s really just a rejuvenated return to a more classic “Basketball” … but for this year, with this team; it wasn’t planned and certainly wasn’t done ‘on purpose’ but, as you suggest Kalen, this team has a very real shot to compete for a title. “Accidentally.”, Serendipity whispers.
    This is my moment from today. About 3:15 left in the game and the Lakers had to call a time out. The Nuggets had just gone up 6. The look and demeanor of Gasol after KMart (wasn’t it he?) made that floating banking lay-up thing – Pau looked stunned. He looked completely lost. I imagined him saying something like, “What’s happening? Teams aren’t supposed to play us this way. This isn’t supposed to happen like this.”
    I thought it was classic. It was my ‘tell’ of the game.

    Thanks again for the good perspective and quick write-up, Kalen.

    Loving the Powder Blue’n’Gold!
    Go Nuggets!

    • Kalen

      Spot-on Terminator reference. Our theme for the playoffs should be “Come with me if you want to live.”

  • magster

    Just so satisfying to defy the ESPN conventional wisdom at the Staples Center.

    If we ever do win the championship, we need to go through LA to do it to make the experience better than perfect.

    • nordmoose

      I always use too many words.
      My ‘post script’ here tries to say just this….well pointed out, mags.

    • Kalen

      Agree Magster. Beating L.A. in a seven-game series would be almost just as good as wining the Finals.

      • nordmoose

        Only if we win the series on their court and in less than seven. That MIGHT come pretty close to being better than a championship.
        Otherwise, give me the pride of the Nuggets being world champs for at least one year – just how awesome would,…sorry,….will, that be?

  • jmac

    i just finished watching the tivo of this game. best part for me was that the nuggets played good hard d but overall they really played one of their worst games since the trade. tons of turnovers and poor offensive series. and how many missed free throws? i’ll take hard gritty play over “not having to draw up a play and let the superstar win it” — to paraphrase mark jackson — every day of the week.

    if phil jackson and kobe really think this is the “same old nuggets team” and “all they do is pick and roll” – then, great. i hope the writers keep writing it up that way and teams keep putting their head in the sand. nothing to see here…

    really liked seeing timo get some time to play (not great, but a factor) and jr did nothing but play hard out there. nice. on to OKC. next!

  • nordmoose

    Post Script:
    Forgive me here but in finally actually getting to see the some of the action on the floor (Kobe’s game-time “requests” for better officiating (read ‘whining’) and now reading some of the comments from Laker fans and writers (check out the apology piece by the Kamenetzky Bros. at espn LA) … I guess all the gruff folks give them is earned. I thought it was friendly ‘sports rivals’ banter but, wholly cats! Do those fans/writers approach things with rose coloured glasses! It’s gotta be the “LA”, “Southern Cali” and “Hollywood” thing that distorts their ability for perspective, eh?
    I give the Lakers credit, the credit they earn and deserve from playing ball,…world championship ball. But the perspective it would seem I’d need to swallow to get a clear understanding of basketball and sport from exclusively following that fan/writer base? Uhg.

    Go Nuggets….if even just to mess with the Lakers reality that much more.
    Oh yes,….and thank you K-Mart.

  • lurker from LA

    “It’s gotta be the “LA”, “Southern Cali” and “Hollywood” thing that distorts their ability for perspective, eh?”

    Nah. It’s the 10 championships since 1980.

    Good Luck against the Thunder.

    • nordmoose

      Never said I don’t give credit where credit is due. In fact, I’m on record for quite the opposite.

      I’ll take your good luck wishes. Luck (or some friendly/missed calls by the refs or whatever it may be) plays a roll in basketball, doesn’t it?
      I hope we have and use some luck in each and every win, frankly. “Fortune favours the prepared.” m’pappy and some other famous folks have said.
      Thank you, LA lurker, for the wish. OKC’s a tough club and we’ll need our best to take 1 of 2 much less both of them this week – and those games in round one? Heck yea, we’ll need some good ball and some luck to win.
      Thanks for your support, mate. Really. I know I’m not going to bother to participate on a Lakers blog and I appreciate your fair and sportsmanshipish visit here.
      Good luck to your Lakers too.
      Go Nuggets!

  • http://bigleaguewiffleball.com/ Jon L.

    Diesel win by the Nuggets! This was a momentum builder by Denver, but if they stay the fifth seed, who knows if they can beat the Thunder.

  • lurker from LA

    The Nuggets are a great story, and a very good team, and I usually like this blog.

    I could do without people bagging on Lakers fans, but that goes with the territory.

    • nordmoose

      Wasn’t meaning to ‘bag’ … whole point of the ‘post script’ was my reaction to a relative … shall we say ‘oriented-ness’ of the vast majority of what I’ve read from your team’s followers. The ‘section 140′ at espn and what I’ve read coming out of peeps who seem to know and follow the Lakers, I was surprised to see how biased it was. Just my view. Just my take. Just my read. Not meaning to ‘bag on’ anyone … I’m just now personally witnessing what many others say and observe – that there might be something different with how fans and followers of the Lakers experience and articulate their experience.
      Personally, I LOVE experiencing a good game with someone who’s pulling for the other team. I can recognise good ball and a good play and a good player. I can also root for my team like a madman. I have found that good sport has plenty of room for both. If the chance appeared, I’d exchange a few rounds with you, toast good games and pull for our respective teams. Unless you think your Lakers can do no wrong and every loss or upset is illegitimate…wouldn’t be much fun then.
      You get it, eh lurker?
      I’m not bagging all Lakers fans and I’m certainly not bagging you, brah…unless you’re completely unreasonable as a fan in which case I am. But that’s bagging all lamearse fans like that, no matter the team. I just happened to notice today, as I’ve heard over and over and over, that there really are a lot of them that the Lakers (unfortunately perhaps?) have as fans.
      :)
      Cheers.
      And Go Nuggets!

    • Kalen

      Thanks for the comments Lurker.

      The Lakers are always going to be the one team that I dislike with a passion, and I think most Nuggets fans probably feel the say way. I could see how my wording could be taken as harsh, but you’ll notice none of it was directed towards the real die-hard fans, just the celebs who make appearances for their image. I value your input being from the opposing side, so please don’t take it personal. I just feel like it’s not often I get to bash an arch-rival, so I might as well do a good job of it when I do.

  • Western Slope Travis

    Terrific article. I agree with all of your points. I was coming unglued watching every loose ball go the Lakers way. What really upset me though was in the second quarter (I think), Kobe went and complained to the refs about not receiving his typical “phantom calls” early in the game, then the very next possession, Denver is called for three very questionable fouls in the same possession. It is going to be though for the Nuggets to beat the champs and the refs in a 7 game series. This game gave me hope though. It was awesome to see the Nuggs play a less than stellar game and still beat the Lakers in LA. Their shooting (sans Gallo and Felton) was sub par, and their free throw shooting was dispicable, yet their defense carried them to the victory. The coastal media machine will tell you how the lousy play of the Lakers or “early start hangover” handed the Nuggets a win, but the truth is, a short-handed Nuggets team outplayed and outworked the Lakers, plain and simple.

  • Coxy

    What does ‘Knuggets’ mean? I’m seeing it around and don’t understand. Go nuggets!!!

    • nordmoose

      I believe it’s the popular way of writing “Newggets”…meaning “post-trade Nuggets”, eh?

  • lurker from LA

    The “Kn” refers to the Knicks.

    • nordmoose

      I did not know that, lurker.
      I kept hearing “Newggets” and just assumed the “K” was a more clever spelling for that.
      Thanks for schooling me.
      :)

  • Jacob

    Impressive win. If you can beat these Lakers on the road while
    1) missing 2 key rotation players
    2) the refs aren’t co-operating
    3) you shoot 55% on free throws

    you can beat anybody.
    I think there’s a serious chance that the Nuggets will make a deep run in the playoffs.

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    In Australia its hard to find many other people into the NBA. But one thing that really annoys me is how every second person who does follow the NBA is a Lakers “fan”. It’s the same kind of glory supporters who claim to be massive Man Utd or Yankees fans. Funnily enough I’ve met a bunch of Miami “fans” just in the last 6 months too.

    Thats probably the biggest reason I hate the Lakers.

    I absolutely believe we can win a championship and it only took me about 4 games into the post melo era to see the potential and jump on the nuggets with $50 at $81 (or +8000 i think u say in the US) odds just to win the West.

    Wouldn’t it be the ultimate Irony for a team with zero all-stars to win it all in this “post decision” era.

    We have 8 players who average 10+ points per game.
    EIGHT!!!

    • Coxy

      I’m an Aussie nuggets fan too!! Loved mello before he left and nearly wanted to follow him and support new York but u love all of our players and after about 2 games I was sold on their play and team orientated grit and hustle. I love it!!!

  • Todd

    Great game to watch, Ive held this belief that after trading Melo, the guys they brought in would make this team scary good. Well start getting scared OKC. everyone always blabs about you need one superstar in the playoffs, well so far that hasnt translated into wins for OKC, the Cavs with Lebron or the Magic with Howard. I look to see this team deep in the playoffs.

  • Archon

    Great win Denver but let’s slow down on hanging up the championship banner. I know that wasn’t Denver’s A game but it definitely wasn’t the Lakers A game. Having said that I can’t say the Lakers played horrible and they usually win games like that at home.

    I think Oklahoma is overrated so I wouldn’t be surprised if you beat them but I still like to see who “wants it” for Denver in a close playoff game.

    • nordmoose

      A sensible voice of reason. I keep trying to remember what you say here, Archon,…but it’s difficult; this team is just fun to watch and get excited about!
      Oh yea…and don’t forget that the Lakers might have given that one to the Nuggets yesterday. I saw it referenced a few times that they really dread those early Sunday games and might not have bothered to bring their A-game. I don’t know the Lakers’ preferences and why they choose to get up for what games they get up for but, you’re right….A-game vs. A-game is not what we saw and a seven game series would look very different than the play yesterday (were it to go seven, of course).

  • ParkHillNative

    Nice work, Kalen — your best game recap yet. Also enjoyed the great bonus summary from Charlie.

    I can’t read lips too well — can anybody tell me what Kenyon was saying? If you have to reply “This is a family blog,” I understand.

    • Kalen

      Thanks PHN. I happen to be a very good lip-reader if I do say so myself. And yes, we like to consider this blog family friendly, but I’ll tell your right how that if you strung together as many four-letter words as possible and threw in a few “mothers” and to go along with them, you’d probably get something close to what Kenyon said. It was the longest profanity-infused tirade I’ve seen K-Mart go on during his tenure as a Nugget, and that’s saying something. The camera guy was zooming in on him when he began his strut, but once it was close enough to read his lips you could tell the guy in charge must have been saying “Cut away! Cut away! Cut away!!!”

      • John

        Kalan, since you meantioned lip reading, there was a shot of one of the officials talking to Karl, and then turning off what I guess was a mic, and then saying something else. I think this was in the 3rd quarter. Any idea what he said. This was after Karl recieved his T.

        • Kalen

          Huh, I must have missed that. Sorry. Sounds interesting though. I always wonder what players, coaches and refs are saying. I try and read lips as best as possible but in professional sports there are so many cuts, it’s hard to get a shot long enough usually.

  • ParkHillNative

    Also, to the aggrieved Lakers fans:

    Kalen is right, a great number of us Nuggets fans hate your team and are tremendously aggravated by you fans, and I’ll tell you why I think that is. It’s because your team benefits from more unfair, built-in advantage than any other sports team, but I’ve never encountered a single one of you who’s able to admit it.

    Everything that people hate about the Yankees is even more true about the Lakers.

    Remember when the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010? That’s what’s called a “feel-good story.” I’ve visited New Orleans once and liked it, but have no ties to that area and have never gone out of my way to root for any of their teams. But when the Saints won it all, I was very happy for those long-suffering fans celebrating in the French Quarter.

    I could never, ever be happy for spoiled-brat Laker fans in that way. Every time your team hoists that trophy, all there is to say is “Well, there you go. The bully won again.”

    People aren’t happy for you the way they were happy for those Saints fans, and it seems like you don’t understand why, and it seems to upset you a lot, so a great many of you go around on other teams’ blogs talking a lot of trash and rubbing your team’s unearned success into other fans’ faces. I’m not accusing anybody of behaving like that in today’s comments section, but it happens with great frequency over at Denver Stiffs.

    So yeah, too bad your feelings are hurt.

    • VoiceOfReason

      Prove it. The easiest way for you to justify your team’s shoddy play is because the other team must be cheating…the fact that some teams may simply be better escapes your consciousness. Most people retire their childishness in grade school…might be time to catch up. Better teams win because they are better, not because they’re bullies. Feigning victimization in a basketball game is just silly.

      • ParkHillNative

        Dear idiot,

        Go here and look at the salaries:

        http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

        And the FLakers can afford this because of the huge, glamorous market they play in. And the NBA commissioner is on record as saying he wishes the FLakers were in the Finals every year, which is why he had the refs screw over the Kings in ’02.

        The FLakers pay a huge amount of luxury tax every year and still clear a giant profit, something other teams cannot afford to do. The “soft salary cap” structure benefits the FLakers even MORE than the lack of an MLB salary cap benefits the Yankees.

        You’re just a typical idiotic FLaker fan, unable to see the plain truth in your face. Only spoiled brat idiots like yourself are unable to recognize this. I’ve only scratched the surface here, I could go on all day, but you’re too stupid to understand.

      • nordmoose

        Prove it?
        I guess I’m missing something with your contribution here Voice’o’Reason. What are you challenging PHN to prove?
        As far as “the best team wins”,…um. Where to begin with that one? It’s true, overwhelmingly and at the end of the day, the better teams win. But.
        Did you watch the NCAA tourney this (or ANY) year? What of the two teams that played last night? Is the best team in the country the national champion in college basketball?
        “The easiest way for you to justify your team’s shoddy play is because the other team must be cheating…the fact that some teams may simply be better escapes your consciousness.”
        I don’t know if you’re referring to any specific team but I think PHN was opining the fact that it seems a WHOLE LOT of Lakers fans (not exclusively Lakers fans, of course) could be the target of your criticism here, Voice. There is an aire of entitlement that some/many LA fans/followers have that when they loose, it wasn’t because the better team won or that they were out played, out teamed, out coached, out whatevered – but that “Lamar was steamrolled” or “Kobe was fouled” or “it was a Sunday matinee start”, etc.
        Take a look at comment 24 here, from joe90503. He begins by making what I think is a fairly legit point but instead of being able to leave it there, it seems he gets rather defensive and then offensive with his comments. What’s the real need/motivation for that, eh? If there’s such knowledge and confidence in ones team; that you KNOW ‘your’ team is THE best (thus, by your calculation, Voice, that team should win WAY more than loose) why isn’t that good enough right there? Why does there seem a following of apologists that trail these teams (Yankees, Lakers, etc.) that don’t seem to be able to see the world, the competition, the sport without their rose coloured glasses, tinted so their team can do no wrong. It’s really absurd.
        No doubt, in the NBA, the Lakers are the historical benchmark for winning. I don’t know that anyone questions that. But that being the case, there’s no license for fans to be delusional in their support. They have the freedom to be so – they have the freedom to write articles/blogs, wear jerseys, get season tickets, banter with fans from other teams, etc. But they don’t have exclusive license for/to any of it.
        And the Lakers don’t have license to win. They have the freedom to be the best team/franchise (as even the Knicks and Clippers and Cavs and Heat do) but it’s illegit for any team, city, owner, fan-base, etc., to act or expect entitlement. That’s just plain ol’ common sense BS.
        With a few franchises, it certainly seems, there’s a sense of entitlement. In the fans of some of these franchises, it seems, there’s an incomplete ability to recognise the game, the sport, the history, the respect, the effort, the abilities, the successes, the failures, etc. in a reasonable or ‘objective’ way (and if you want to argue the scientific and philosophical underpinnings of ‘objective’ I am well prepared to do so).
        There are a lot of ‘spoiled-brat’ fans out there.
        There are some spoiled-brat players out there.
        “Feigning victimization in a basketball game is just silly.”
        Exactly.
        If a team or a player out-plays another, it’s just silly not to be able to be straight up about it. I will let PHN and others speak for themselves, but that unqualified victimization that is all too common with some clubs,…it gets really nauseating.
        No one is crying because one team has more championships. I certainly don’t have my lowish opinion of the Lakers because they have more banners or beat the Nuggies in the Western Finals a few years ago. I have my opinion based on the absurdity of watching all the animated complaining I’ve seen over ghost fouls; I get sick of all the excuses; I get tired of all the ‘favourite child syndrome’ whining when it doesn’t go their way.
        You are SO right Voice. It is just silly.
        Go Nuggets!

        • ParkHillNative

          Thanks for chiming in, Nordmoose.

          And to clarify, I don’t dispute that the better team usually wins, and I don’t dispute that the FLakers are a better team than the Nuggets.

          My point is, the FLakers have a lot of unfair advantage that makes it easy for them to build that better team. The Nuggets can’t afford year after year of a $90M payroll. The FLakers never have to make hard choices. They just seek out the players they want and pay them any amount necessary to get them, and still clear a giant profit. This is easy for them because of the huge, glamorous market they play in. Unlike the NFL, The NBA does absolutely nothing to neutralize this advantage, and the results are easy to see.

          And I already pointed out in another comment that yes, the market alone isn’t what assures their success. They do make very skillful and astute use of their incredibly abundant resources. But again, this is easier for them than any other franchise.

          If the NBA modeled itself more after the NFL, and strived to achieve parity, a team like the FLakers would still have a lot of success due to their good management — but they wouldn’t be in the Finals 50% of the time.

  • Warner

    This team is really starting to develop an identity as mentioned above. Like Kobe said, “They come at you in waves,” I couldn’t have said it better myself. We might not come out fast or strong but we come at you with relentless scrappy play (Felton symbolizes this quality) and we wear you down. Once the 4th quarter comes, every nuggets fan who has watched this new squad is just expecting them to shift into that 5th gear and pull away. Someone always throws this team on their back and we get the “W”. This defense is really refreshing as well for fans and George Karl is appears

    • nordmoose

      LOVE the defense right now. Maybe it was just me but I give complete credit to the D for that second half/4th quarter yesterday. I had a hard time believing the refs let some of that play continue but I’m happy for it. The rock was bouncing about and getting kicked around, bodies were flying and these Nuggets were going after it and the Lakers – constantly and with zest. Kobe got that backside wide open for that clear baseline/wing drive for the slam but other than that, I don’t remember the D breaking down.

      LOVE the defensive effort.

  • Thrice1187

    The way these nuggets look right now I feel like we should definitely make it past OKC in the playoffs. However I get the feeling all the media outlets want to see Durant and the Thunder go further in the playoffs this year and I honestly don’t see many calls going our way in that series. Hopefully we’ll play well enough to overcome any unfair adversity and keep on truckin’! Anybody kinda get that feeling about that series. It seems the media favorites always get the calls like the NBA has this hidden agenda and the nuggets are never on the good end of it…

    • Ernie

      I wouldn’t worry about that so much with OKC since it’s about the smallest market out there and the Nuggets have a decent profile because of the former Knicks on the team. Superstars always get calls, but the NBA wouldn’t benefit more from OKC advancing so I am expecting a fair fight. San Antonio has done well despite a small market. As for the Lakers, after Sacremento and 2002 we should remain suspicious.

  • http://sportstatistics.blogspot.com/ Leffty

    Great win for the Nuggs. Lawson had a rough game, but I think he’s been the Nuggets’ catalyst during the second half:

    http://sportstatistics.blogspot.com/2011/04/post-carmelo-nuggets-are-they-really.html

    More playing time is doing him some good.

  • wowza

    All good input from:
    The Fun Factor
    The D
    The who’s gonna step up
    all of it

    And while yes, I’m looking forward to the playoffs, I don’t want to kinx anything. OKC is tough. And got better and bigger at the trade deadline. The end of the season is going to have an electric atmosphere that we haven’t seen before, and hopefully prepare the team for the post-season.

    and the one thing I have to add is in regards to that “insert K-Mart word of choice” Non-Call on Fisher when he nailed a corner thee in the 2nd Quarter! Big Month didn’t stay on either team’s bench for an extended period of the game, but that shot was killer to what the Nuggets were doing. And yes ONE announcer actually called it out, but they were so freakin biased towards the Lakers; it was rediculous.

    Let’s go enjoy the pursuit for (at least a round’s worth of) Home Court advantage.

    Cheers!

  • lurker in LA

    @ Park Hill Native

    Neither “aggrieved” nor “hurt”, and AFAIK, I am the only Laker fan who has stopped in here.

    Been hearing rants like yours for a long time. Price we pay for rooting for a dominant franchise in a big market, and relative to the postives, it is a very small one.

    I’m out–may see your team in the playoffs, may not.

  • Andrew

    I agree with parkhillnatives reasoning for being a Faker hater and I love AussieNugs term “glory supporters”. I live in SoCal and don’t begrudge the hard core L.A. fans their glory, but I can’t stand the band wagon, glory supporters who have no ties to L.A. but cheer for L.A. because they know they’ll win. I also dislike the delusional Laker fans who refuse to acknowledge their inherent advantage (though because of the cap, it isn’t near as bad as the Yankees). Lurker, like many of my friend out here, seems to be neither type. So, props to him.

  • joe90503

    I think the Nuggets playing well after Melo trade is good for the league and the city. However, the jubilation that some of you are showing might be a bit premature and irrational. This Lakers team will lose to any team in the league, including Cleveland on the road, during the regular season. While I wouldn’t say that the Sunday’s loss doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean much other than that the Nuggets are playing fairly good ball right now. I do hope the Nuggets will make it past their first and/or second round opponents in the playoffs, because I will enjoy watching the Lakers ending your team’s season for the third time in the last four years.

    By the way, if you think having a great ownership and brilliant front office as inherent advantage, then I’ll accept your opinion. However, we know that there are two teams that make your argument seem even more delusional–NY Knicks and LA Clippers.

    Enjoy your regular season win over the soon to be 3peat Champs of NBA.

    • ParkHillNative

      “By the way, if you think having a great ownership and brilliant front office as inherent advantage, then I’ll accept your opinion. However, we know that there are two teams that make your argument seem even more delusional–NY Knicks and LA Clippers.”

      Yes, here’s the thing: The FLakers have a ridiculous amount of built-in advantage because of the big, glamorous market they play in. AND, they are also a well-managed franchise, unlike the Knicks or the Clippers.

      The difference between you and me is that I am capable of recognizing that BOTH of these things are true, whereas you are only capable of recognizing that one of them is true.

    • Ernie

      I’ll never understand the point of going to a rivals website to antagonize the fan base. What could you possibly get out of it?

      Not that it affects my attitude. Great win for the Nugs, proves they have a chance this year. Tonight’s game more important though as there is a chance for home court against OKC.