May 8, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (34) defends a shot by Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Denver won 102-99. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers-Nuggets Game 7 Preview: A One Game Season

Nothing like playing through a rushed 66-game season, playing seemingly every other night for nearly four months only to have all your efforts come down to one night, one game. That’s the reality staring the Lakers in the face tonight.

Win and it’s on to Oklahoma City for Mission: Impossible Laker style.

Lose and it’s an offseason filled with non-stop Andrew Bynum maturity talk, Kobe Bryant legacy discussion, Mike Brown job security speculation and Derek Fisher trade lament. Mix in more Pau Gasol questioning and you’ve got yourself a summer of Laker misery.

Already Magic Johnson has called his shot saying a Game 7 loss will seal the deal for Coach Brown. Hard to imagine a one and done scenario for the man that replaced Phil Jackson but you never know.

What we do know is how the Lakers have fallen from a 3-1 advantage to a one-game season. They’ve failed, miserably, to match the Nuggets’ efforts. JaVale McGee’s coming out party combined with a rotating collection of clutch performers has given George Karl a decided advantage with Denver taking three of the last four.

For Bynum this game could have lasting implications. His infamous comment on the ease of close-out games has put his series opening triple-double in the distant past. A loss will assure him of an official T-Mac moment that will never be forgotten. Once upon a time Tracy McGrady bragged about how good it felt to finally make it to the second round of the playoffs when his team was up 3-1 on the Pistons. The Orlando Magic went on to lose that series and McGrady never made it to the second round.

Bynum’s already got a couple of rings but he has yet to be the center piece of a title team. Such is the nature of wearing purple and gold for a living. Eventually he’ll be the Lakers’ building block for the future and this will be the series we’ll always remember him for depending on how things shape up.

While it’s been Bynum who has hogged the headlines, Gasol is the man that has vanished.

The Spaniard is bringing up horrible memories of last season’s postseason failure. A loss for Gasol will certainly soil his Laker career and possibly end it. Stay tuned for that.

But all this talk of losing can’t sit well with Kobe Bryant. He loves Game 7s and isn’t shy about saying that. He also hates losing and has been the only man earning his keep these last two contests. His flu-game didn’t get a Jordan result but it was an inspired Jordan-esque effort.

The man Kobe suddenly trusts more than anybody else on the roster, Metta World Peace, will be making a dramatic return tonight as well. Will it be just in time or too little too late for the harassing defender to make is 2012 postseason debut?

We’ve got plenty of questions and only one way to answer them: tune in tonight.

It’s Game 7. Don’t really need to say much more than that.

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Tags: 2012 Nba Playoffs Andrew Bynum Denver Nuggets Derek Fisher Game 7 George Karl Javale Mcgee Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson Metta World Peace Mike Brown Pau Gasol Phil Jackson Tracy Mcgrady

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