May 4, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the second half of game three in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 99-84. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers Put Title Talk On Ice With Game 3 Loss

Well…nothing like getting a bucket of ice cold water poured on your head to cool any championship thoughts. Can’t say I was surprised to see the Lakers crushed under the weight of Denver’s mile high attack but the warning signs were there.

We were warned by the way the Lake Show has played away from Staples all year long. And if you were snoozing during the regular season then Game 2 should have raised all kinds of warning signs. The Nuggets got all too comfortable playing their game in L.A. so you had to know what was coming in Denver.

Let’s be honest. This one was over after Denver raced out to a 30-14 first quarter advantage. From there out it was all uphill for the Lakers.

Ty Lawson’s law held true. The speedy guard set the tone by pushing the tempo and controlling the flow of the game. Not that it came as any surprise though. Some of us saw this coming. All you had to do was see his 25 points and 7 dimes last time in Staples to expect the exact same inside the Pepsi Center.

Mix in Andrew Bynum putting up a goose egg in the first half and it was officially all Denver.

Don’t be fooled by Bynum’s line of 18 and 12. He had to work for every bucket and the Lakers as a team were completely outworked by Denver.

JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faired combined for a line of 28 and 30. Usually those are Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum figures. Not tonight.

The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant who dropped a team best 22. Problem was it took 23 shots for KB24 to get his. That’s not the efficient type of production that will lead to many Laker victories.

Another ugly truth exposed on the NBA’s biggest stage is L.A.’s lack of bench production.

We’ve seen it all year and now the hoops world knows the ugly truth. 9…count them…9 whole points from Mike Brown’s second unit. Compare that to the 29 George Karl got from McGee and L.A. native Andre Miller alone and it’s no secret why this one was over before it started.

The exact opposite of Game 2, every time the Lakers made a run the Nuggets had the answer.

I’m not trying to say this is a bad omen but don’t be at all surprised if we see this series come back to L.A. tied at two games a piece. The Lakers haven’t ever looked like champs on the road during the regular season so why would we expect anything different in the playoffs?

It’s clearly going to take a much more focused effort from the Lake Show to win on the road. Problem is this has been their biggest weakness this season. They might beat this Denver team but it won’t come easy. Nothing worked for the Lakers tonight. Their size advantage was neutralized. Their aggression was minimal. Their defense non-existent. It’s not time to panic but the level of concern is definitely in the red. We’ll see how they respond on Sunday. Until then it’s more of the same concerns we’ve feared all year long.

So for everyone planning on attending the parade…slow your roll. I can’t stress that enough. You may love you some Lakers but don’t be fooled by your lying eyes. This is not a championship team. Not after performances like this.

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Tags: Andre Miller Andrew Bynum Denver Nuggets George Karl Javale Mcgee Kenneth Faried Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Mike Brown Pau Gasol Ty Lawson

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