2024 Playoffs Western Conference First Round: (2) Denver Nuggets vs (7) LA Lakers

Mystic Merlin

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2007
47,482
Hartford, CT
We should predict the ft disparity in Game 3. I’ll go +22 Lakers.
You missed a zero, but yeah.

It’s absurd the Lakers blew this game with Russell looking like prime Klay on offense for three quarters, Davis and Lebron pouring points in at an efficient rate, and Murray shooting 9/24.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
49,434
The Nuggets are just so tough. The Lakers played a great game and executed well - they just couldn't hold off the juggernaut.

What a tough loss. Such a shame the Lakers had to lose like that.
 

ElUno20

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
6,233
Darvin Ham already laid it out for the refs in game 3 in the post conference
 

Mystic Merlin

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2007
47,482
Hartford, CT
Is it sacrilegious around here to say the Nuggets should be favored over the Celtics?
Nope. Totally defensible - they’re clearly the other team in the Celtics’ tier this year, they have the best player in the league, and they’re killers in close/late situations. I don’t recall reading much (anything?) in this forum suggesting the C’s wouldn’t have their hands full against Denver, at a minimum.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
45,212
Here
Davis has made a career of disappearing in 4th quarters and LeBron only has so much in the tank. It’s too much, they’ll never survive 6-8 weeks of this.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,475
No, I just don't want to hear anything about the regular season matchups this year. The first one had White & Horford going nearly scoreless, complete fluke.
Horford and White combined for 30 points in the first matchup. In the second one, they combined for 9. The bigger takeaway from those 2 games for me is that Tatum isn’t likely to shoot 38% in a series.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
12,984
Is it sacrilegious around here to say the Nuggets should be favored over the Celtics?
I'm extremely concerned about Denver, but it's more about their defense and overall approach. I think that part of them is underrated, while their offense is somewhat overrated.
 

m0ckduck

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
1,829
And AD tripped over Murray's legs. Looked like he was going to be trampled by the Nuggets.
That was amazing. He looked like giraffe falling into a swarm of giant ants.
gonna be close odds wise if they play. I know they seem unbeatable to everyone rn but you play enough close games youre gonna get burned sometime.
Fanduel has odds already on specific matchups. Celtics favored overall to the win title because they are seen as more likely to reach the Finals. But they have Celtics over Nuggets at +410 and Nuggets over Celtics at +530, which I guess tells you how they perceive the teams straight-up (unless I don't understand betting odds at all).
 

Euclis20

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
8,530
Imaginationland
Just as impressive as the comeback was that they did it without ever finding their range from 3. Denver was 6-23 from 3 in the 1st half and just 2-11 in the 2nd half (including 1-4 in the 4th quarter). Maybe this shouldn't come as any sort of surprise (Denver was dead last in 3PAs over the regular season), but it really is something to watch, not just in obvious contrast to Boston but to most of the league.

Whatever else we've learned about Denver, the Lakers absolutely cannot stop their crunch time offense. Not even close.
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
7,961
Last night’s exciting playoff games were great for the league, conveniently now that the new tv rights deal is now open to all interested parties.
 

JCizzle

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 11, 2006
21,250
This is one of the funnier things I've ever read. Just completely fucking shameless from ESPN.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/40004391/lebron-james-sounds-officiating-replay-center-lakers-game-2-loss-nuggets
A Lakers source told ESPN that James' foul on Murray with 57.1 seconds left, which rewarded the Nuggets guard two free throws that tied the game 97-97, also could be considered "marginal contact."
Hopefully the league and the officiating union apologize again for causing sleepless nights in LA.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,109
I didn't stay up for it - did Lakers use Lebron on Jokic at all? I know it's non-conventional and you can't use it too often, but I wonder if Lebron's strength and savvy is worth a shot on some key possessions, allowing AD to be the rover. One thing seems clear: Lakers other approaches ain't working
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
31,236
According to this article - https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/lakers-nuggets-game-2-the-three-biggest-mistakes-darvin-ham-made-during-stunning-second-half-collapse/ - DEN and LAL "had played a total of 18 clutch minutes since the beginning of the 2023 Western Conference Finals. Denver won those minutes by a whopping 32 points. In Game 2, the Nuggets won the final five minutes and eight seconds by 10 points."

Wow.

And I didn't watch the game but if DEN is leaving Dinwiddie alone on offense, Ham shouldn't play him.He was -9 last night and -12 in 13 minutes on Saturday.
 

m0ckduck

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
1,829
I didn't stay up for it - did Lakers use Lebron on Jokic at all? I know it's non-conventional and you can't use it too often, but I wonder if Lebron's strength and savvy is worth a shot on some key possessions, allowing AD to be the rover. One thing seems clear: Lakers other approaches ain't working
In the final minutes, the Lakers had Lebron and AD interchangeably on Jokic and Murray— a good tactic, since you know Denver is going to switch constantly anyway. I thought AD contested the final shot from Murray really well— it was a case of "good defense, better offense." LeBron mostly held up on both guys. AD did get pushed around by Jokic a few times in the post— he's just so strong.

Edit: as a Celtics fan watching the ending in mild horror (or at least apprehension), all I can say that CJM better get ready to go offense-defense with KP and Tillman at the end of close games, if we get that far.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,109
In the final minutes, the Lakers had Lebron and AD interchangeably on Jokic and Murray— a good tactic, since you know Denver is going to switch constantly anyway. I thought AD contested the final shot from Murray really well— it was a case of "good defense, better offense." LeBron mostly held up on both guys. AD did get pushed around by Jokic a few times in the post— he's just so strong.

Edit: as a Celtics fan watching the ending in mild horror (or at least apprehension), all I can say that CJM better get ready to go offense-defense with KP and Tillman at the end of close games, if we get that far.
Thanks. I was advocating pre-trade deadline for a widebody big for this and the GA matchups specifically...so I'm glad they got Tillman. I just think you have no hope vs Jokic if he can put you in the basket. He owned KP, and while Jrue can handle many bigs (and there was some advocacy here for him vs Jokic) he simply isn't big enough for Joker. Of course, Jokic still may beat you, but with bulk you have some chance.

I'm not sure what other options Lakers really have defensively--they just have to keep rotating LBJ, AD, and Hachimura and hope for better offense I guess. They didn't give up 120 or anything, but you just don't feel like they can get a key stop either. Doubling Jokic is rarely useful.

I was higher on Lakers roster this offseason than is warranted---not enough size for the West, and not enough reliable creators.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
12,984
Why are people so down on the Lakers' defense when they gave up 101 tough points? You take that all day, every day. The problem is that their own offense sucks when someone isn't on a random heater.

This is the story with Denver in general imo: you have to outscore and outmath them. It's not easy, but there's a path. It probably requires something like the Celtics roster, where there's enough shooting and ballhandling to punish Jokic in ways teams usually can't.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
32,109
What I was suggesting is that their offense is definitely going to suck and thus if their crunch-time defense consistently seems vulnerable vs Denver they have no chance. But the Lakers defense isn't getting blown out for 48 minutes at all.
 

m0ckduck

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
1,829
Why are people so down on the Lakers' defense when they gave up 101 tough points? You take that all day, every day. The problem is that their own offense sucks when someone isn't on a random heater.
People are reacting to LA getting only one stop in the last 10 Denver possessions (on a jump-out steal by Lebron no less, which was a great play but not a conventional 'guarding someone and making them miss' sequence).

To the "random heater" part: LA will be in every game this series where good D-Lo shows up, IMO. They don't have a shot with bad G1 D-Lo. I still see this going 5-6 games.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2007
45,212
Here
The problem for LA is that LeBron is too old and Davis has always had a penchant for disappearing late. They are basically a borderline title contender for the first 3 quarters, but they can’t hang in the end. LeBron’s gear last night was super impressive, but he didn’t carry much of the offensive load until then and no way he can sustain it for 6-8 weeks. He was gassed badly in the play-in and Game 1, probably because he was shouldering a bigger load those games in quarters 1-3.

They are one scorer away from being a threat and LeBron ain’t getting any younger, nor can you rely on Davis’s miracle health season like this year moving forward.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
20,726
Santa Monica
Why are people so down on the Lakers' defense when they gave up 101 tough points? You take that all day, every day. The problem is that their own offense sucks when someone isn't on a random heater.

This is the story with Denver in general imo: you have to outscore and outmath them. It's not easy, but there's a path. It probably requires something like the Celtics roster, where there's enough shooting and ballhandling to punish Jokic in ways teams usually can't.
Yep. The Lakers offense completely stalled in the 2nd half (40 points :oops:) Apprehension Central in the halfcourt, barely getting shots off before the 24. Maybe Denver altitude sapped the Bron/AD pick-n-roll by Q4? Dinwiddie/Vincent were no help or energy off the bench. The Lakers have a bunch of clueless defenders in DLo & Prince

We rarely want the Lakers to win but they are creating film on how to slow down the Nuggets' juggernaut. Denver is in for a long playoff run. Minnesota or PHX up next, but hoping LAL gets the League Office to drag this out with a home whistle.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
23,062
I don't know enough about the science behind it, but you could probably argue playing at elevation was a major issue for LA down the stretch in both games when they gassed out.

The stat that only six Lakers have scored over two games is pretty damning. They are getting basically nothing from their bench, plus almost nothing on offense from Rui. That is an enormous burden on AD/LeBron to be great for 48 minutes.
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2005
42,273
Why are people so down on the Lakers' defense when they gave up 101 tough points? You take that all day, every day. The problem is that their own offense sucks when someone isn't on a random heater.

This is the story with Denver in general imo: you have to outscore and outmath them. It's not easy, but there's a path. It probably requires something like the Celtics roster, where there's enough shooting and ballhandling to punish Jokic in ways teams usually can't.
I think this is exactly right. The Lakers just don't have the offensive horses to score enough points and sustain it for 48 minutes. They've now jumped out to early leads in both games, they were up 10 in game 1 about halfway through the 2nd quarter, but Denver just slowly climbs back in it.

Jokic wants nothing to do with coming out of the paint on defense, and when DLo got hot, they were able to make them pay for it. And in the end, if Austin Reeves doesn't go 1/5 from deep, and Lebron doesn't brick one as the game was ending, the Lakers probably steal this one in Denver.

I also think you have to consistently force Jokic into the high action, when you don't run the ball up and down the court and tire his ass out. The issue for the Lakers is they can't run his ass down the court, because their two stars are equally as likely to get gassed coming down the stretch, so it becomes a halfcourt game on both ends, and that game favors Denver, against everyone. Denver lost 3 games this season to Houston, they lost they lost 3 times to Sacramento, they lost 3 times to OKC, etc. Those are young teams that run on you with their young legs. IMO, that's the model and the Lakers just don't have that in the bag.
 

SteveF

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
2,161
Denver was +14 on true shot attempts, a combination of the Lakers being impotent on the offensive glass (they are the worst offensive rebounding team in the league) and turning the ball over.

I wonder what the Lakers record in games this year is when they don't have a FTA advantage. More FGA by both teams puts the Lakers at a disadvantage because of the rebounding thing -- offensive rebound rate on free throws is pretty low for everyone (and thereby not really an issue), especially when you consider how much more often a free throw goes in -- and it likely hurts their mediocre transition defense. They gave up a lot of transition during the regular season for a team that doesn't crash the offensive glass.

I think the Lakers are operating in this series under some marginal but meaningful disadvantages.