When did the roles get reversed in this best of seven between the Lakers and Nuggets? Did L.A. forget to pack their big men for the trip to Denver?
All I know is Game 3 took the series on an odd turn when all of a sudden JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried (that would be the 6’6” Manimal) owned the paint usually patrolled by Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
Now let’s be clear about something, size isn’t all about the tale of the tape. Size is about how you play. And in Game 3 the much smaller Faried and the much more active McGee played with Gheorghe Muresan size.
All night long McGee and Faried crashed the boards with an intensity level the Lakers failed to even attempt to approach. To be sure Faried always plays the game at full throttle so that was nothing new. What made last night so much different was that there was not a man in purple and gold that countered his efforts. Same can be said for McGee.
It is honestly frightening to think what will happen once McGee puts it all together. His athleticism alone causes problems for bigs all around the league. In Game 3 McGee’s lanky frame gave Bynum’s big body a tough go at it. Drew was harassed in the post like a hot bartender on dollar beer night. All that activity of McGee and Faried aided in Bynum’s scoreless first half which pretty much sealed the Lakers’ fate.
While Drew did get it going in the second half his 18 points were too little and far too late. The Lake Show was playing from behind all night which is exactly what you don’t want to do in Denver.
In order for this series to shift back in L.A’s favor (don’t let the 2-1 standing fool you, Mr. Momentum is wearing a Nuggets jersey) the Lakers must return to their form in Game 1. Not only did they establish their size advantage early but they played with a healthy amount of energy necessary to suppress Denver’s high-octane attack.
Another night like Game 3 and suddenly this series becomes a best of thee where anything is possible. Taking the Nugget bigs down a notch will go a long way in putting the finishing touch on the series. The Lakers need to win in Denver and to do so they must match the consistent efforts of McGee and Faried. One more listless night could prove fatal for L.A.’s tenuous title hopes.