NBA Playoffs Prediction: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Game 7
Friday, May 11, 2012
It was hard to tell what bothered Kobe Bryant more – his stomach bug or the nauseating performance put forth by his teammates in the Los Angeles Lakers' lopsided Game 6 loss at Denver on Thursday night.
The Lakers will hope to avoid becoming the ninth team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead when they host the resurgent Denver Nuggets in Game 7 Saturday night. Starting forward Metta World Peace returns for Los Angeles after serving a seven-game suspension.
@ Los Angeles
When: 10:30 PM ET, Saturday, May 12, 2012
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FSW
Denver Nuggets : A different player seems to step up for Denver in each game, and speedy point guard Ty Lawson did the honors Thursday. Although he had back-to-back 25-point games earlier in the series, Lawson has struggled with his shot – particularly from long range. Getting desperate after going 2 of 16 from behind the arc in the first five games of the series, Lawson flew in his personal shooting coach before Game 6. The result was a playoff career-high 32 points that included making five of six 3-pointers in Denver's wire-to-wire rout. Rookie Kenneth Faried had his third double-double and is averaging 10 rebounds in the series against the Lakers’ towering front line.
Los Angeles Lakers : Los Angeles figured to have an enormous advantage inside with 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Bynum had two huge games to help the Lakers to a 2-0 series lead, but the team's twin towers experienced a remarkable disappearing act in the thin air of Denver. Bynum's stat line (11 points, 16 rebounds) suggests a decent performance, but he and Gasol combined for a mere five points in the first half Thursday. Gasol scored a season-low three points in Game 6 and has seen his point production drop in four straight games. Bryant didn't mince words when asked if his teammates matched his heart in Game 6. ''No, of course they didn't,'' he said.
The Lakers are 42-1 all-time when taking
a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series – the only loss coming in 1969 vs. Boston.
Los Angeles is the last team to blow a 3-1 lead, falling to Phoenix in 2006.
2. The Nuggets, losers in the first round of the playoffs in seven of the past eight seasons, have advanced to a Game 7 for the first time since 1994.
3. World Peace, who hasn't played since April 22, had 14 points and eight rebounds in a 103-97 win over Denver on April 13.
NBA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Lakers 104, Nuggets 100
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