Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
So much for the Lakers getting above .500. That’s going to have to wait for another day as the defenseless Lake Show gave up a season high 126 points during a 12 point defeat in Denver.
So much for the season best five game win streak. That came to a crashing end as the Lakers looked like the more exhausted of the two teams both of which played on Christmas day and traveled from L.A. to Denver.
All game long the Nuggets outhustled the Purple and Gold as evident by the 20 offensive rebounds George Karl’s team corralled. Kenneth Faried was all over the court killing it with 21 points and 15 boards. His play inspired Dwight Howard to take a page out of the Andrew Bynum book. For Howard it was one too many easy dunks conceded that pushed him over the edge.
It wasn’t as big a punk move as what Bynum did to J.J. Barea but you’d better believe the league office will take a look. We’ll have to see if D12 misses any games going forward.
So much for the spirit of Baby Bynum departing Los Angeles. It’s still alive as this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Howard commit sloppy fouls out of frustration. This one was just the most heinous thus far of his Laker tenure.
What we’re waiting to see is some sort of consistent effort on defense. It was pretty obvious tonight that Denver was the hungrier team. The second chance points that killed the Lakers were the direct result of hustle…plain and simple. Rebounding is after all a big part of playing defense.
The reality is Howard wasn’t much of a factor once again while Pau Gasol is getting way too comfortable shooting from distance. The Spaniard shot actually 2 of 3 from deep scoring 19 but he only had 6 rebounds. Without much production in the paint from the Laker bigs Kobe Bryant’s 40 on 24 shots becomes meaningless. So too does Steve Nash going for 15 with 8 dimes on 6 of 8 shooting.
All this offense means little if there isn’t a healthy balance of points in the paint and on the perimeter. Plus it’s impossible to rival a team with 7 players in double figures. Corey Brewer was dude that crashed this party with 27 points off the bench for Denver. His energy on both ends best illustrated the difference between these two teams tonight.
The long and short of it is the Lakers didn’t bring the effort necessary to win on the road. Denver took an even later flight out of L.A. and was coming off a bad loss too. No excuses anymore but these nights will happen in the NBA. Going forward its going to take more consistent play for the Lakers to keep their cool and move up in the Western Conference standings.