NBA Roundtable

Game Two: Los Angeles vs Denver

In 2009 NBA Playoffs, Game Log / Recap on May 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Game Two

The Lakers won the first game of the series, hopefully they can win again tonight.

First Quarter

  • No scores in the first minute after Fisher hoists a desperation three off the dribble over Kenyon Martin as the Lakers possession comes to a miserable end.
  • Chauncey Billups dribbles upcourt and hits a 22 footer on the right wing
  • Nice drive by Bryant along the baseline, threads the pass beautifully for Bynum for the dunk
  • Ariza tries to create off the bounce, loses his dribble twice, the Lakers possession bottoms out again — Kobe goes one on one and forces a long jump shot to beat the shot clock, hits it.
  • Carmelo misses a layup, Jones offensive rebound, misses a layup, taps out the rebound, it bobbles to Melo, Melo with a nice stutter step, blows by right, to the rim, layup plus the foul!
  • Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum didn’t make it past halfcourt before Denver took three layup attempts. Terrible effort from LA.
  • Fisher misses a runner in the lane, Pau Gasol rebounds and taps home the miss in one motion.

The game is tied 6-6 after four minutes

  • Billups on the left wing, drives left, gets the step, gets the baseline, draws the help, shuffle pass back to a cutting Martin coming down the lane, fouled on the dunk attempt, Kenyon makes two.
  • Bryant posts up Jones off the left elbow, gets fouled before making a move. Refs calling this one tightly in the early going. Sideline inbounds, opposite side of the court, another Bryant post up, Jones called for another foul — seemed harsh, that’s two fouls on Jones.
  • Ariza hits a three pointer after Bryant draws a double team out of the low post
  • Jones dribble penetration from the right wing, into the lane, drive and kick, Kenyon 20 footer out on the left wing, hits it!
  • Bynum has position inside, Kenyon is fronting, nice entry pass over the top, Bynum turns, tries to dunk, fouled by Jones. Bynum makes two.
  • Nice job by Ariza using his length to stop Carmelo from passing over the top out of the post. He eliminated the passing angle.
  • Fastbreak LA, Kobe Bryant on the 2-on-1, he goes all the way to the rim, fouled by Jones and Bryant hits the layup. That’s four fouls for Jones. JR Smith enters for him. We likely won’t see Jones again until the second half.
  • Carmelo Anthony beats Ariza easily off the dribble from the top of the key, holds him on his hip and stays inside the lane, Ariza can’t force him wide, help comes, Anthony passes it to Kenyon who was hovering on the baseline, layup for Martin.

Timeout — 13-12 Lakers

  • The Lakers create two turnovers — a blocked shot on Melo’s three, leading to an easy dunk for Pau on the fastbreak, and, Bynum ripping the ball away from Nene in the paint, then getting a short shot in the paint on the other end but missed the shot.
  • Lamar Odom checks in for Bynum
  • Billups bulls his way into the paint (out-muscled Kobe), Odom rotates, Billups finds an open Martin for the slam dunk
  • Pau Gasol gets another putback — Nuggets defensive rebounding is really poor
  • Ariza flips up a wild shot on the drive, gets it go and earns a three point play opportunity.
  • Kenyon Martin gets another dunk inside — Denver getting good dribble penetration consistently. That was JR Smith that time, who patiently worked his way into the space and didn’t make the pass until he had a wide open dunk for his big man (as opposed to the 15 footer he could have gotten him 4 seconds earlier)

Kobe makes two Fs to put LA up 23-16 with 3:20 to play

  • Great double team by Gasol as Melo tried to drive baseline, Gasol cut off the baseline, forced Melo into a spin move, then Ariza ripped the ball away from Martin, fastbreak, Denver get back, pass inside to Pau Gasol, he turns middle, gets stripped by Billups.
  • Kobe Bryant into the open court, down the lane, short runner off glass, hits it
  • A driving layup missed by Denver, tapped long, LA have numbers, bad fastbreak leads to a contested three pointer from Vujacic (stupid bloody shot to take), miss.
  • Pau Gasol posts up on the left post, spins baseline, Andersen is lost, Pau steps through and dunks the ball.
  • JR Smith falls down and loses the ball out of bounds

Lakers lead 27-19 with a little over a minute to play

  • Bryant misses a lay in, he was posting up on the left block, his defender tried for the steal going baseline, Kobe sealed him off and protected the pass, help came as Kobe shot the layup, miss.
  • Vujacic makes a nice block but got too much body on the side, fouled Billups, he goes 1-2 from the FT line.
  • Turnover, Bryant ahead to Vujacic, three pointer at the buzzer, misses

Second Quarter

Lakers lead 31-23

  • JR Smith’s pass gets deflected out of bounds. Active defense from LA.
  • Ariza played good defense on Carmelo Anthony in the first quarter
  • Baseline inbounds, thrown into the backcourt, violation. Wow, bad pass.
  • Pau Gasol draws a double team out of the low post, passes to Odom for the 17 footer left elbow extended, misses, Gasol grabs the offensive rebound, posts up again, finds a cutting Odom for a layup.

Lakers lead 20-10 for points in the paint. Kenyon Martin has 8 of those 10 points in the paint, I think the other bucket was Melo’s layup in transition.

  • Vujacic has his shot blocked by JR Smith … Billups takes a quick jumper after dribbling upcourt, miss
  • Vujacic slow to react as Odom leaves him a 20 footer on a plate on a hand off screen, miss.

Take Vujacic off the court — he’s been atrocious so far, and was atrocious in game one, and very poor throughout the playoffs — I’m getting sick of his lack of contributions and his poor decisions.

  • Kleiza gets a three pointer from the left corner — 9 point game after three minutes
  • JR Smith just picked up his third foul, after nine minutes of playing time. He’ll likely sit for the remainder of the half.
  • Nice pass inside to Odom for the slam dunk — 11 point game — that bounce pass to Odom off the pick and roll on the right wing came from Farmar
  • Melo splits a pair at the line — Melo has only 3 points, he is 1-6 from the field.
  • Walton posts up Carter, beautiful touch pass over the top off the catch from the left post to the opposite side of the rim to Bynum for the layup
  • Andersen takes a 17 footer, rebound Odom … beautiful bullet pass from Farmar to Brown was cutting down the baseline for a layup

Timeout George Karl — Lakers lead 41-27 after five minutes

  • Carmelo knocks down a catch and shoot 20 footer on the right sideline
  • Walton has his pass deflected, he forced the issue here and trapped himself along the baseline … fastbreak Denver, layup Anthony. 10 point game.
  • Farmar beats Kleiza down the baseline, layup
  • Carmelo Anthony hits his third straight basket in as many possessions
  • Odom back irons a three badly, ugly ugly miss
  • Carmelo Anthony runs up quickly, stops and pops from 15 feet outside of the right hand side of the lane, hits it. Four straight shots on four possessions.
  • Pick and roll between Melo and Nene, Melo runs to the baseline, tries a 16 footer, close but no cigar.

Phil Jackson is desperately trying to get Kobe and Ariza in to stop Anthony’s run.

  • Great pass inside to Ariza for the wide open dunk. Nice cut off the Bynum screen.
  • Anthony creating off the dribble, slithers into the paint, fouled on the layup attempt.
  • Kobe Bryant easily works his way into the paint out of the post, short shot good.
  • Carmelo muscles Bynum out of the way on his drive and finishes the four footer. Nice drive from the right elbow down to the rim.

Kenyon Martin has zero rebounds so far — Nuggets getting out-rebounded by six. Carmelo Anthony also has zero rebounds, Denver’s starting forwards have no rebounds.

Four minutes to play — Lakers lead 49-38

  • That possession was all about “Nene hasn’t had a shot in a while” — Nene forced an isolation from 20 feet out at the top of the key, no attempt to pass or look for a pass, tried to take Pau off the dribble who was standing way back off of him, and he fumbles the ball leading to a turnover
  • Lakers inbound the ball, Bynum runs full court, Nene still thinking about his shot attempt, doesn’t get back, pass ahead to Bynum dunk!
  • Bynum misses a fadeaway J from 12 feet — he had great position, seven feet from the rim, too much fade, made his shot more difficult
  • Carmelo Anthony went over to Karl and asked for Kleiza to enter the game, and he did sub in.
  • Carmelo is being defended by Bryant, and he draws a foul immediately, and hits both at the line.

Carmelo has 16 points on 6-12 shooting — three minutes to play — Lakers lead 51-40

  • Gasol tries to Martin off the dribble from the right elbow, drives baseline, cut off by Martin, pivots, shoots over the top, misses. Good defense by Martin but Gasol’s size advantage will always allow him to get a good look at the rim.
  • Bryant draws a foul on Melo by driving to the rim — commentators giving out about Nene not even attempting to protect the rim
  • Pick and roll between Billups and Nene at the top of the key, Nene makes the catch at the FT line, help rotates over, nice bounce pass to Martin for the dunk
  • Melo misses a layup on the fastbreak, but Kleiza gets the offensive rebound … Melo on the left post, short shot, blocked … out to Kleiza on the right wing, he hits a third three pointer — he has 8 rebounds too — excellent first half from Kleiza, himself and Melo have been the two best Nuggets players
  • Billups drills a three pointer, kickout to the perimeter, pump fake, loses the defender, hits the three — five point game after back to back three pointers
  • Odom gets left all alone at the FT line, Nuggets thought he was passing, he steps through and takes the layup, misses it
  • Billups hits two FTs after Fisher bumps him off the dribble — three point game — 10-0 run from Denver
  • Bryant stripped on his dribble drive, out of bounds off of Denver … Gasol picks up a loose ball foul after a missed shot off the baseline inbounds play, Kleiza takes two more FTs, hits two more FTs

Lakers lead 53-52 — one point game — 12-0 run from Denver. Great finish to the first half from Denver, 30 seconds to play.

  • Odom settles for a lightly contested 20 foot jump shot, hits it
  • Billups holds it for the final shot, Kobe defendng him, blows by Kobe after two stutter dribbles, goes left, to the rim, blocked out of bounds
  • 3.2 seconds — baseline inbounds — Billups bounces it off of Kobe’s back, Billups gets it back and gets an easy layup.


Superb 14-2 run by Denver to close out the first half. We have a ball game on our hands. Kleiza was the star of the first half.

Terrible finish to the half from LA.

Third Quarter

Lakers lead 55-54 to start the half

  • The Nuggets start the half off with a turnover, Bryant and Ariza on a two-on-one, Ariza to the rim, fouled. He splits a pair.
  • Carmelo Anthony gets Fisher on him on the switch, Melo makes the catch 17 feet out on the right wing, faces up and shoots over Fisher, hits it
  • Lakers turn it over … Billups with a nice pass inside to Martin for a dunk, Martin fumbles it out of bounds … turnover.
  • Jones just picked up his fifth foul
  • Pau Gasol passes out of the low post, right block, fakes the pass to Fisher, then sends the ball to the left corner and Ariza drains it
  • Melo hits another jump shot — he has hit 7 of his last 9 shots — hand off screen from Martin 21 feet out

Odd stat — quickest foul out in the playoffs — Travis Knight in just 6 minutes

  • Bryant flips up a runner, misses it, gets his rebound and hits a fallaway J from 8 feet. Lakers up 3.
  • Chauncey Billups takes a high arcing shot off the pick and roll, misses it, rebound Martin tapped to a cutting Jones for the layup
  • Ariza fumbles a defensive rebound and loses it out of bounds
  • Oh man, that was a strong move from Melo. He caught the ball on the left elbow, drove across the FT line, then down the lane, muscled his way by two defenders and then muscles the shot blocker out of the way on his way up, misses the layup, rebound Melo, putback Melo, miss … now he’s pouting that he didn’t get a call, leaves his team playing 5-on-4 and they give up a Fisher jumper. Nice strong move though.
  • Nene finishes inside. Nice pass from Martin from the FT line to a cutting Nene. He gets a three point play opportunity, misses it.

Tie Game 64-64 with 7 minutes to play

  • Denver are 11-16 from the free throw line tonight.
  • Good defense by Denver to deflect the ball away from LA, and forced a 24 second violation after contesting a long jumper into an air ball
  • Nene picks up his third foul — offensive foul bumping Gasol, looked a bad call
  • Ariza blows by Melo out of the right corner, Jones beats him to the spot, but Ariza jumps over Jones and slams it home — wow, his length there was hugely impressive
  • Fastbreak, passed out to Ariza, on the three point line on the right wing, pump fake, drives left, down the middle of the paint, Nene and Martin foul him, and Ariza falls hard … that looked painful. Nene tried to stand still, but was slow to the spot and took at the side of Ariza’s body, then Martin on the other side pulled at his arm to stop the shooting opportunity. Not particularly bad fouls, just a bad fall.

68-64 Lakers at the midway point in the third quarter

  • Melo comes off a screen and roll at the top of the key, drives left, pulls up from 22 feet, misses
  • Bryant pushes Jones off on a defensive board blatantly, no call, although Jones did make a meal of it — Bryant takes two dribbles then passes it ahead 60 feet, Ariza finishes the easy two and gets a foul. He has 18 points, make that 19 points in the game.
  • Ariza strips Nene, fastbreak, ahead to Fisher, missed layup … bad decision on the pass from Ariza, he should have passed earlier so he could get it back so he could be the finisher, not Fisher who isn’t anywhere near the finisher Ariza is … great transition defense by Denver, four defenders back contesting the shot and grabbing the rebound
  • Nice pass by Billups to find a cutting Andersen
  • Andersen blocks a layup attempt … fastbreak, Billups on the break, stops and pops from 3, hits it!

3:30 to play — Lakers lead 73-71

  • Kobe Bryant in the corner, sweeps the ball low, drives baseline, wow, great dunk from Kobe
  • Nene misses a three footer over the length of Odom, Gasol rebounds, fastbreak, Fisher misses the layup, offensive rebound Gasol, putback, fouled. Gasol makes both.
  • Bryant has 22 points on 14 shots
  • Odom blocks Anthony from behind, Melo doesn’t give up on the play, retrieves the ball and goes back up strong against two Lakers big men, fouled. Melo made the lay in but missed the FT.
  • Somehow Denver gave up dribble penetration, two layup attempts, and a wide open perimeter shot … and still got a 24 second violation. LA a little out of control on that possession, wasted good opportunities.
  • Walton with a nice pass to Gasol for a dunk
  • Billups drops a pull up J off the pick and roll
  • Melo called for a foul trying to defend Kobe, both of his fouls tonight trying to stop Bryant. Bryant makes two FTs, Denver were in the penalty.

1:20 to play — 81-76 Lakers lead

  • Melo gets two points
  • Brwon dribbles down the clock, nothing on, beautiful right to left crossover, into the paint, runner, missed, Gasol keeps it alive, Brown short shot, miss, Bryant and Melo fight for the rebound, loose ball foul on Bryant. Melo hits two FTs on the other end.
  • 40 seconds — one point game — Kobe back irons a long two, Brown offensive rebound, back to Kobe with 15 seconds on the clock, LA hold it for the final shot, drive and kick from Kobe to Brown in the corner, pump fake, dribbles in, shoots, blocked.

Fourth Quarter

Los Angeles leads 81-80 to start the fourth

  • Bryant gets one of two FTs to kick off the scoring in the fourth quarter
  • Long rebound Gasol, outlet to Bryant, he dribbles upcourt quickly, gets Billups in the post, Andersen double teams, stays with Bryant very well as he dribbles back out, drives past Andersen, Smith draws a charge.
  • Billups dribbles upcourt, Lakers asleep, Billups turns on the jets, blows by Bryant who wasn’t sure who he was defending and was out of position, Billups to the rim, layup, missed but fouled, Billups splits a pair.

Brown and Farmar are in the game, as Kobe checks out, with Ariza and Walton at the forwards, and Gasol at center. Denver are small with Kleiza, but they have Melo-Billups-Smith in the game with Andersen at center.

Big advantage for Denver right here.

  • Kleiza bags another three pointer. Melo doubled, swings the ball, Kleiza wide open three. He has 16 points including four three pointers.
  • Walton posts up on the right post, spins baseline, goes glass with the layup, hits it. Nice move.
  • Billups gets another trip to the FT line and makes both.

Denver lead 87-84 with 10 minutes left in the game — dangerous period here for LA

Billups is taken out of the game by Karl, Carter in. I think he should have left him in for a few more minutes, they have a great opportunity there.

  • Smith misses a forced contested jump shot, offensive rebound Melo, over-powers Ariza, finishes inside. Timeout LA.
  • Anthony sprints by his man, pull up J, hits it
  • Kobe Bryant faces up his man on the left wing and drills the three point jump shot
  • Melo working on the drive up beyond the three point line against Walton, draws a foul on the bump — reminds me of Paul Pierce attacking Walton in the Finals last year.
  • Melo will take a break and Billups enters the game
  • Shannon Brown caught on a switch defending Nene, fouls trying to front Nene

Denver leads 91-87 with 8 minutes to play

  • Pau Gasol has 13 points and 17 rebounds — huge rebounding from Gasol, but he hasn’t been involved enough offensively
  • Kobe Bryant drive and kick to Brown in the corner, Brown hits it
  • Slow fastbreak, Brown looks to reset, then changes his mind, drives inside off the left wing, into the paint, misses the teardrop, offensive rebound Odom, fouled on the putback.
  • Whew that foul was not on Nene, only Kleiza, that would have been the fifth on Nene
  • Odom hits two FTs and gives LA the lead … then he gets a steal on the other end, leads the break, Denver run back hard and take away the opportunity
  • Pau Gasol posts up on the left block, Kenyon deflects the ball loose, dives on it, Melo comes away with the ball … Walton goes for a setal, Melo hobbling a little as he comes back up court
  • Kenyon misses a 19 foot baseline jumper

Lakers lead 92-91 at the midway point in the fourth quarter

  • Walton hoists a J to beat the shot clock, long rebound into the corner, Odom chases down the loose ball, back to Gasol on the left elbow, Gasol sizes up the defender, then passes out to Brown, Brown drives hard and quick to the rim, fouled on his runner, splits a pair at the line
  • Great job by Carmelo Anthony fighting for position in the low post against Gasol, defensively for Melo, Gasol keeps fighting and eventually forces a foul out of Melo. LA couldn’t get the ball inside to him and looked in trouble there prior to the foul. Gasol makes both and keeps LA up two points.
  • Nice pass by Smith cross court to Kenyon Martin, he takes one hard dribble left on the left hand side of the lane, then explodes over Odom and shoots off glass from 6 feet, hits it. Nice shot from Martin
  • Gasol drives on Nene, blocking foul on Nene. Nene flopped, I don’t think that would have been called if he hadn’t dived on the floor. That’s his fifth foul. Tough call to make, could have gone either way. Gasol misses the first, misses the second.
  • Anthony is driving by Ariza off the dribble so easily, forces the help, passes to Nene who draws a foul as he tries to muscle up the shot. Nene hits both.

Final three and a half minutes — Nuggets lead 97-96

  • Kenyon Martin with the great help defense to deflect the pass inside to Gasol for a dunk, steal Denver, Martin then bodies Gasol out into the baseline and gives him a little body bump into the reporters
  • Both teams miss shots over the next minute
  • Billups on the drive, against Ariza, with Odom helping out too, missed layup, Melo rebound and putback!
  • Bryant loses control of the dribble, almost turns it over, almost travels, passes out to Fisher, back to Bryant, faces up Melo, three pointer from the right wing, drills it!
  • Billups creates the contact out on the perimeter, draws the foul.

Timeout — Game tied 99-99 with under two minutes to play

  • Billups makes his two FTs, from the foul prior to the timeout out on the perimeter
  • Lakers take a bad offensive possession, miss a long three after getting nothing going prior to that
  • Ariza deflects Anthony’s pass off the dribble penetration, turnover
  • Bryant high screen and roll, splits the trap, dribbles inside, Nene on him, rises up from 18 feet, hits it. Tie game.

Final 40 seconds

  • Billups dribbling at the top of the key, on the drive, into the paint, underneath the rim, Lakers defense close him off and deny him both a shooting opportunity and a passing angle, wild pass to nobody, turnover? Nope … Nene races to the loose ball and then finds Martin in space underneath the rim, Martin layup.

Timeout LA — 29 seconds — Nuggets up two, 103-101

  • Bryant dribbles up court, high screen and roll with Gasol, he splits the the gap, Nene is there, reaches in, slaps it loose, loose ball, Denver trying to get it, Gasol dives on the loose ball, tied up by Billups, and then by Nene.
  • Jump ball — Gasol vs Billups —
  • JVG — “If I’m JR Smith, I’m shading Bryant off this tip to make sure he doesn’t get the ball” — great idea
  • Gasol wins the tip, gets it to Ariza, Ariza loses the ball … turnover, stolen by Denver, foul LA.
  • Replay on the jump ball — JR Smith ran across the jump ball area before the ball was tipped, violation not called — then Ariza tripped over someone, not sure who, no sorry, he didn’t get tripped, he was off balance when he landed and fell over and lost the ball. No foul on Ariza. Good call there.
  • Billups was the one was fouled. He makes the first FT, and hits the second one.

LA calls a timeout — 13.7 seconds

  • The Lakers do not advance the ball to midcourt, into Bryant, he races full court, passes to Gasol, Gasol fouled before he can finish, he hits the first, hits the second.
  • Two point game
  • Lakers trying to steal, Bryant face guarding Billups, Billups runs to midcourt, pass ahead to Chauncey, he dribbles out three seconds before the foul comes. Huge play by Billups — smart play
  • Billups misses the first, that’s an open door for LA, two point game, make that a three point game after Billups hits the next one.

Lakers call a timeout — 4.3 seconds to play — Nuggets up 3

  • Kobe will try for a three to tie the game.
  • Denver should consider fouling to avoid a three point attempt, but be very careful not to foul while someone is taking a shot
  • Denver only need to defend the three point line, not inside that except for easy dunks/layups
  • Fisher at the top of the key, runs off a screen near the FT line, then another screen on the right post, both soft screens, sprints to the corner, catch and shoot, Denver switched on both screens, Nene rotates out and offers a great contest on the shot, misses badly

Game over — Nuggets win

Final Thoughts

The Lakers blew this game, but the Nuggets deserve huge credit for their comeback and good play in the second half.

Sasha Vujacic needs to be dropped from the rotation. LA should be playing Farmar and Brown as their reserves from here on in. Vujacic’s play has been terrible in this series, and very poor for a long time. He’s hurting LA in a serious way.

Hang on, is this the fourth game Orlando has lost on a buzzer beater in the playoffs? The LeBron shot, the Glen Davis shot, the Iggy shot. What was the fourth, the Young layup? That’s just bad luck, especially for a team of their quality defensively.

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