NBA Roundtable

Game Three: Los Angeles vs Denver

In 2009 NBA Playoffs, Game Log / Recap on May 23, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Game Three

The series switches to Denver with the matchup tied at one apiece.

Interesting article saying Bynum and Jackson aren’t speaking to one another right now — Bynum is unhappy at his lack of playing time, and Phil is unhappy at Bynum’s lack of rebounding + defense. Both have a point, but Phil is  a heck of a lot more correct than Bynum is.

First Quarter

Denver lead 7-4 after two and a half minutes.

  • Kobe Bryant posts up on the left post, he backs down Jones easily, Jones tries to wrap him up before the shot attempt but to no avail. Kobe makes two at the line.
  • Melo fouled on a jump shot, nice spin move to get away from Ariza, stupid contest from Ariza as he jumped wildly into Melo’s body. Second straight possession LA has fouled a jump shooter.
  • Martin misses a baseline 18 footer. LA will give him that shot all night.
  • Gasol hits a jump shot
  • Billups posts up Fisher on the left block, Bynum doubles softly, pass out, swung to the opposite corner, Melo misses
  • Bryant on an isolation against Jones, scores easily. He’s been toying with Jones all series.
  • Fisher rips the ball away from Billups at midcourt, fastbreak, passes to the trailer, Ariza flies in for the easy two.
  • Gasol defensive rebound
  • Bynum makes the catch on the right block, faces up, shoots over the top, misses. Good look at the rim.

Timeout Denver — midway point in the first quarter — Nuggets lead 14-12

  • Anthony knocks down a pull up jumper from the top of the key
  • Ariza misses a long jumper, rebound Denver, fastbreak, Jones on the wing, fumbles it, manages to hang onto the ball, kicks it out, Melo drops a three pointer.
  • Nice backdoor cut from Fisher, layup. I didn’t see which player it was that made the pass, but good vision from someone out on the opposite wing.
  • Pau Gasol posts up, faces up, drives across the paint and hits a sweeping hook over Nene

Lakers on a 3-on-1 fastbreak, Fisher to Ariza, Melo strips him, then beats Fisher to the loose ball, and Fisher fouls him going for the ball. They’re in the penalty. Melo gets two FTs and hits both. Four point swing — All Melo there.

Final three minutes — Nuggets lead 23-17

Sorry, I missed the end of the first quarter there.

Second Quarter

Nuggets lead 28-26 to start the second quarter.

  • Fastbreak Nuggets, extra pass from Martin to Melo, fouled. Melo now has 10 FTs, making 9. Good steal by Nene to ignite the break.
  • Bynum makes a weak post move, too far from the rim, spins, flips it up, misses. That was predictable.
  • The Nuggets defense is doing a brilliant job trapping along the sidelines and baselines. They’re making that pass out of the double a nightmare too, with their zone defense off the ball.
  • Nice pass to a cutting Chris Andersen for the two handed slam dunk. Melo had the ball on the wing, Lakers strong side defense moved across, wide open dunk for Andersen.
  • Terrible attempt at a defensive rebound from Odom, completely mis-timed it and mis-judged the direction of the bounce, wide open rebound for the guy who Odom was meant to be boxing out. Bad play.
  • Anthony’s dribble drive, stripped, bounces to Anddersen for the open layup. Denver getting the bounces right now.
  • Kobe Bryant drops a fadeaway jumper out of the midpost on the right wing

8 minutes to play — Denver lead 36-31

  • Isolation for Kobe, Smith pokes it away, Kobe gets trapped in the corner, has to give it up, LA go away from Kobe, nothing on, Bynum posts up on the left block, hits the short shot
  • Andersen runs off the made basket and gets another layup. He has 9 points already.
  • Kobe Bryant with a beautiful feed to Shannon Brown, who made a superb baseline cut, for an easy layup.
  • Kobe Bryant on the pick and roll, drives left, gets the step, into the paint, to the rim, layup.

Tie game 39-39 — 4:30 to play

  • Kleiza tips the offensive rebound to keep it alive, Nene comes down with it, goes back up, hacked, finishes plus the foul.
  • Very poor lob pass by Billups, 60 foot long, Kobe picks it off. That’s his third turnover against no field goals.
  • Gasol offensive rebound, kicks it out, swung back to Brown who just missed a long jumper, and he misses again … fastbreak Denver, Kleiza spots up for a three on the right wing and he knocks it down

The Lakers aren’t running the Triangle anymore. It’s get the ball to Kobe and get the hell out of the way. They’ve been playing like this for the past five minutes.

  • Gasol gets a dunk off a broken play. Nice play by the big fella.
  • Carmelo Anthony takes a dribble to the baseline, pull up J from 18 feet, hits it. He has 18 points.

Denver lead 48-43 with 1:30 left in the game

  • Melo fronting Kobe and denying him the ball well, Gasol passes over the top, two more Nuggets defenders converge on Bryant, Martin blocks it — goaltend.
  • JR Smith with a lovely lob pass to Andersen for the uncontested dunk
  • Fisher looses his balance, falls down, tied up, jump ball
  • Denver win the tip, tap it to the corner, JR Smith runs down the loose ball, and then puts his head up and throws an 80 foot pass ahead to a streaking Andersen for the slam dunk!
  • Ariza hits a three pointer from the left wing — big shot, LA badly needed that.
  • Kleiza called for a tech for shoving Gasol after the bucket, Kobe takes and makes it
  • 8 seconds to play — Billups runs up and takes a three, miss, tip by Andersen, miss


Denver lead 52-58

The Lakers have played very poorly. They’re not executing offensively, not trusting their offense, not playing together. Their defense has been poor, letting easy basket after easy basket in the paint and giving away a bunch of needless fouls in the first quarter. They’ve played very poorly by their standards.

LA should feel happy that they’re not down 15 points.

Third Quarter

  • Turnover, stolen by Bryant, breakaway, he almost misses the dunk but it rolls back in.
  • Jones on the drive and kick to Nene for the baseline jumper from 19 feet, misses it
  • Bryant dribbles up, pull up J from 22 feet, quick shot, misses it. Bad shot. Work the offense.
  • Jones gets a layup on the fastbreak — lousy transition defense from LA
  • Billups comes off a screen roll, driving right, pull up J on the right wing, drills it
  • Lakers spent 14 seconds doing absolutely nothing on that possession, eventually they throw the ball into Bynum, he makes a post move and gets bailed out by a silly Nene foul. Bynum splits a pair.
  • Billups forces a jumper off the run, off the missed FT, misses. A contested 16 footer.
  • Kobe with a head of steam, into the paint, rejected by Martin, Lakers retain possession though
  • Nene called for a blocking foul — that’s three fouls and he’s upset — he needs to be careful
  • Denver force a turnover, fastbreak, Jones to the rim, fouled by Bryant

Nuggets lead 58-53 after three minutes — they lead 19-10 on fastbreak points

  • Bryant over-dribbling, rolls to the hole again, runner, Nuggets collapse all over him, misses it.
  • Dribble penetration for Denver, Jones to the rim, layup
  • Bryant left wide open for a three pointer, hits it. Odd to see him that open. Four point game.
  • Bynum blocks Anthony at the rim, off Melo out of bounds — his third block
  • Terrible inbounds pass from Walton, Martin with the great hustle to run down that sloppy pass, deflects it, almost steals it but it falls out of bounds first.
  • Bryant beats his man off the bounce, to the rim, layup, fouled from behind, pushed from behind with two hands — flagrant? Should be — nope. Two FTs, made FTs.
  • Anthony with the nice pass inside to Martin, bucket.
  • Billups on the steal, passes ahead to Nene, fastbreak, 2-on-1, Nene back to Jones, Jones back to Nene for the finish …. oh no, one pass too many as Nene tries another pass back to Jones, Fisher picks it off, dives on the floor, nobody to pass to, Nene taps it loose, Gasol dives on it, Nene ties him up. Jump ball.
  • Nuggets won the jump ball — Jones on the drive from the left wing, goes right, down the middle, hits the running layup. He has 8 points in the quarter, big boost to Denver.

Midway point in the third quarter — Denver lead 64-58

  • Nene just picked up his fourth foul trying to stop Bynum inside. He’ll sit, Andersen in. FTs for Bynum.
  • Kobe Bryant goes back door off the right elbow, Luke Walton lob pass from the left wing, slam dunk Bryant! plus the foul! Bryant hits it. Jones has four fouls.

Tie game — 64-64 — Melo also has four fouls and is sitting. Trevor Ariza took a hard foul a few minutes ago, and is heading back to the locker room now, looks unlikely that he’ll return.

  • Billups takes a three pointer in transition, misses it.
  • Martin defending Bryant on the right wing, Kobe dribbles in, steps back and takes it, misses it.
  • JR Smith called for an offensive foul, charge, turnover. Good job by Walton.

Final two minutes — 68-67 Denver

  • Billups on an isolation above the key at the top of the key, against Bryant, turns the jets on, Farmar helps on the strong side and leaves JR Smith wide open, drive and dish to Smith, three pointer on the way, hits it!
  • Technical on Carter for pushing Vujacic to the ground. Meh, Lakers hit the FT.
  • Vujacic ball fake on the left wing, drives left, pull up J from 19 feet, misses it
  • Bryant air balls a great look from three
  • Billups on the fastbreak, into the paint, underneath the rim, passes to the left sideline, swing pass to the right wing, JR Smith spots up, takes it, misses, long rebound bounces out to Smith, another miss, another Nuggets rebound, Andersen putback!
  • Gasol post up, kickout, Vujacic drills a three pointer
  • Billups answers right back with a triple of his own.
  • Bryant finds Vujacic for an open three on the right wing, miss.

Denver holds it for the final shot of the quarter, Billups iso top of the key, drive and kick, terrible pass, Smith has to go away from the rim, back turned from the rim, beyond the three point line, he takes it? Hits it!

Technical on JR Smith for taunting Vujacic after the shot.

Great run by Denver to close the half. A 11-4 run to rebuild their 8 point lead.

Fourth Quarter

Denver lead 79-71

Kobe Bryant had 18 points in the fourth quarter in game one, and 8 points in the fourth in game two. He hits the tech to open his fourth scoring account tonight.

  • Vujacic gives away a stupid foul on the inbounds pass. One second in and he already fouled someone. Stupid. If LA get into the penalty early …. stupid!
  • Ariza is back in the game and he gets the defensive rebound. Odom is also in, with Vujacic and Farmar in the backcourt and Gasol at center.
  • Odom posts up on the right block, is patient backing down Andersen, goes middle to his left with little resistance from the Birdman, finishes easily.
  • Odom posts up Kleiza, same side, backs him dwon easily, turns baseline, Andersen swoops in from the weakside and rejects the layup … fastbreak, three pointer on the break, miss.
  • Farmar called for a travel — and is T’d up for throwing teh ball out of bounds — JVG says “it’s my belief that if a player throws the ball into the stands intentionally he is ejected”, looked like Farmar was aiming for the basket (not the rim, the overall basket) and just missed.
  • Gasol faces up Andersen 15 feet out, dribbles right, double, spins left, Carter fouls going for the steal.

Carmelo re-enters the game — 80-74 Nuggets after two and a half minutes — Nene also comes back into the game.

  • Brown with a lovely interior pass to Gasol, angry dunk!
  • Nene posts up Gasol, backs him in easily, then spins away from the basket — he was two feet from the rim and ended up shooting a fallaway jump hook from 7 feet on the baseline, miss, goes after the rebound, loose ball foul on Nene. That’s five fouls. Just gather yourself and go up strong, there’s no way Gasol can stop Nene from powering up through him.
  • Gasol posts up, fouled, scores two at the line. Two point game.
  • Carmelo Anthony, stutter dribble, drives below the FT line, pull up J from 13 feet, blocked by Ariza

Denver are 0-8 from the field in the fourth quarter.

Billups checks back in with eight minutes to play, Denver leading 80-78

  • Trevor Ariza knocks down a three pointer on the fastbreak. Lakers lead! 10-1 run from LA to open the fourth.
  • Carmelo has his dribble knocked away, fights for it, gets it back, goes up strong, misses, but is fouled.
  • Kobe Bryant on the baseline, fadeaway J from 19 feet, hits it!
  • Beautiful bounce pass from JR Smith off the dribble penetration to Kenyon Martin for the slam dunk. Tie game.
  • Gasol posts up Andersen, spins baseline, lefty jump hook, misses … fastbreak Denver, Chauncey goes strong to the rim, misses the layup, Kenyon Martin trails the play and cleans up the glass and puts the ball home too!

Under six minutes to play — timeout — Nuggets lead 85-83

  • Billups called for a loose ball foul — that’s four team fouls on Denver.
  • Ariza gets an open look from the left corner, hits the three pointer! Big shot!
  • Good defense by LA to deflect that shot from Melo out of bounds. Inbounds to Billups in the corner, three pointer, hits it plus the foul! Four point play!
  • Gasol drives on Nene, loses his dribble, has to force a contested fadeaway after getting control of the ball, hits it.
  • Anthony misses from the corner, rebound Fisher. Melo has only one point in the second half.

Four minutes to play — Nuggets lead 89-88

  • Gasol isolation with Nene, drives, spins, baseline, pump fake, shoots over the top from 15 feet, hits it. He has been huge in the fourth quarter, 8 points in 8 minutes and the biggest reason why LA’s second unit made that comeback.
  • JR Smith drops a pull up shot over Fisher, Nuggets back up 1
  • Lakers look to post up Gasol, JR Smith overplays the pass, Ariza goes back to Kobe at the top of the key, clearout, Melo gives him the left, Kobe takes it, into the paint, into the crowd of defenders, hacked, he hits the shot anyway … plus the foul, but he misses the FT
  • Another big rebound from Ariza
  • Fisher falls down again, calls timeout this time around to save possession.

2:46 to play — Lakers lead 92-91

  • Melo hits a pair of FTs
  • Fisher on the right wing, turns the corner, down the wing, into the paint, to the rim, Nene beats him to the stop and draws a charge! Huge turnover! Great defensive play from Nene!
  • JR Smith misses a three pointer, a wide open three pointer.
  • Odom hits a pair of FTs
  • JR Smith abuses Fisher and scores easily
  • Kobe Bryant dribbling down the left wing, stops and pops from three, nails it!

Final minute — 96-95 Lakers

  • Billups misses a quick drive after that three pointer, rebound LA
  • Kobe Bryant isolation on the right sideline, sweeps low, JR Smith reaches in and grabs his arm, foul. Bryant hits one of two at the line.

Timeout Denver — Lakers lead 97-95 with 30 seconds to play

  • Odom defending Martin on the inbounds, nothing on, almost a five count, Denver had to call another timeout. They now have only one timeout left. Big play there for LA.
  • Bad pass by Martin, Ariza picks it off, Melo fouls him to stop the breakaway …. not a clear path foul because the foul happened in the backcourt. Huge play by Ariza, and by Odom for making the pass difficult.
  • That was Melo’s sixth foul — he’s done for the night. He had 21 points tonight, but had 18 at halftime and the majority of that happened in the first quarter.
  • Ariza makes two big FTs (they’re in the penalty)
  • Denver take too much time, working his way around a screen at the top of the key, bumped by Odom — two FTs taken, and made.

25 seconds to play — Lakers lead 99-97

  • Denver will go for a steal here, and foul if they cannot get the steal. Odom inbounds to Kobe, he’s trapped in the corner, fouled, they should have kept him there for another few seconds and tried for an 8 second violation. Shouldn’t have fouled so quickly.
  • Martin has fouled out after that foul
  • 22 seconds left — Bryant hits the first, takes the second, makes the second
  • Inbounds to Billups, he walks it up, and dribbles into a long three, about three feet behind the arc, miss, air ball.
  • Inbounds to Kobe, fouled by Jones. Lakers up four points with two more FTs to come. This is over.

Game Over — Lakers win 103-97.

Final Thoughts

Huge win for LA, they’ve taken back homecourt.

Not a vintage Lakers performance, they poor for large parts of this game but they managed to hang tough and made a brilliant run at the start of the fourth quarter to spur on the win.

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