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Wednesday’s Western Conference Finals Game 5
(Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Lakers)
The dream NBA Finals match up between Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers may never actually happen.
Coming into the Conference finals both the Lakers and the Cavs seemed to be the obvious pick to advance to the NBA Finals, but after both the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic have shown they are more than capable of beating the heavy favorites things do not look as promising as they once did for a Kobe vs. LeBron match up.
Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Lakers Game 5
Coming into game four of this series in Denver the Los Angeles Lakers were confident they could win another game on the Nuggets home floor and go back to LA for game five with a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, but Chauncey Billups and the Denver supporting cast had other ideas and evened up the series at two a piece before heading back to the Staples Center.
Carmelo Anthony wasn’t his dominant self in scoring column in game four with only 15 points and an all around forgettable performance due to an ankle injury and stomach virus.
Even though you would think that the Lakers would just wipe the floor with the Nuggets in game four due to Melo’s illness and being no where near 100% the Nuggets supporting cast and floor general stepped up big to even up the series before heading to the hostile LA environment for game five.
Although the Lakers have an obvious size advantage with the combination of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in the front court they still struggle in the rebounding department. Throughout this series the rebounding has just been God awful for the Lakers and the Nuggets have capitalized off all the second chance opportunities they get.
The biggest front court problem for the Lakers that I have noticed is the lack of toughness out of Pau Gasol. In the NBA Finals last season against the Boston Celtics, Gasol’s toughness and reputation for being soft was fully exposed and the Celtics took full advantage. In this series it seems to be the same old story as the Lakers continue to struggle to dominate the glass even with two seven footers and a very good rebounder in Lamar Odom.
Kobe Bryant has come to play in every game in this series as he cracks the 30 point mark in every game, but it seems as if the Lakers are getting into the old habit of sitting back and watching Kobe work his butt off just to stay in the game with the Nuggets relentless offensive attack.
I believe the Lakers will rebound, no pun intended, in game five in Los Angeles and take the series lead, but this series seems to be destined to go seven games.
I still think the Lakers will advance, but I won’t be surprised if the Nuggets find a way to knock off Kobe and company.
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