Los Angeles Lakershad the Denver Nuggets into the ropes after leading their First Round series 3-1 through four games. Two games more and the series may have shifted in favor of Denver. The upstart Nuggets tied the series at three games apiece after showing to the Lakers during Game 5 and Game 6 what they are capable to do. Owners of Los Angeles Lakers tickets seems to be very worried now especially with how the performance of their players, not named Kobe Bryant, has shown in the past two games.
Kobe has been stellar this postseason averaging his highest scoring output since the 2007 playoffs. Through six games, the player known as Black Mamba is averaging 31.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists a game. What he has shown in the past two games of the series showed that he is not done yet, as others say about him.
With his team down in the fourth quarter of Game 5, Bryant reminded the young Nuggets that nothing comes easily. During the final 4:45 of the game, Bryant scored 12 points by hitting four 3-pointers trimming the Nuggets’ lead to just two, 98-96 with a minute to play. After his barrage of three-pointers, Bryant missed his final three shots which could have been the difference. A potential tying 5-footer and two 3-pointers, one near at the buzzer were the shots missed by Bryant. The other Laker who scored in the final five minutes was Ramon Sessions, who hit a 3-pointer with 12.8 seconds left.
Before Game 6, Bryant was doubtful if he’d even play after suffering from a serious stomach illness. He even described that his hotel room looked like a scene from the movie “The Exorcist.” That is just how bad Bryant was in the morning but it didn’t show during the game. With another chance to close out the series, Bryant willed himself and his team. He managed to shoot 13 for 23, his best shooting percentage of the series en route to scoring 31 points. This numbers seems like a win on the part of the Lakers but it wasn’t the case. The other Lakers seemed to be more ill than Bryant during the game.
Blaming the atrocious performance of other Lakersfor the Game 6 loss is an understatement as to the game Denver had especially at the start.
Pau Gasol had perhaps his worst playoff game in his career after scoring just 3 points and grabbing 3 rebounds in 29 minutes. He shot just 1 for 10 from the field. For comparison purposes, Kobe had more bags of intravenous fluids (four) as to the rebounds of Gasol. In Game 5, Gasol had 9 and 10. The other all-star, Andrew Bynum, had double-doubles in both Game 5 and 6 but his lack of offensive productivity in the most recent game was very costly. Bynum had just 11 points on 4 for 11 shooting.
If the Lakers want to advance, Gasol, Bynum, and Co. should step up to ease the burden on Kobe.
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