Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lakers chances in thin air

     The bar stools were spinning Thursday night at Casa Vega after the Lakers lost Game 2 to the Denver Nuggets at Staples. Working on Margarita No. 5, Jay pronounced that L.A. had had it for the series, and Hans, who agonized throughout the game while watching it on TV in the office, would probably agree.
     Jay's proclamation was a reminder of a thought about the Lakers last year after they were routed by the Boston Celtics by 39 points in final game of the championship series: Kobe Bryant would not win another title in L.A. He's on that island where all one-man teams go to be buried, and less remembered.
      The simple fact is that Denver has an inside, under the basket game and the Lakers don't. The Nuggets are also employing a similar defense that the Houston Rockets used on Bryant: let him shoot all the 2-point baskets he wants but don't let him drive to the hoop and don't let him score from the Rocky Mountains, ie. three-point country.
       So far, Andrew Bynum has been a non-factor in the post and skinny Pao Gasol is getting slammed around by the Nuggets' beefier forwards. Lamar Odom is hanging in there but Derek Fisher is old and slow, and Coach Phil Jackson should be thinking about more Farmar and Sasha and less about Fish.
       Can the Lakers revert to being the team that swept through the East on a trip during the winter when they beat Boston, Cleveland and New York in less than a week? Or are they going to gag in the Colorado thin air and slunk back to California to watch the Finals on the beach? Chapter 3 is tonight.

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