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LAKERS VS NUGGETS -- Size matters but speed kills


PhilBoxing.com




WITH Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol at the helm , the Los Angeles Lakers frontline has an imposing 14 inches in length, easily dwarfing over the Denver Nuggets who only have unheralded Timofey Mozgov as the lone 7-footer in their starting unit.

That size advantage proved too daunting for the Nuggets, who lost both Game 1 (103-88) and Game 2 (104-100) at the Staples Center where this opening round showdown opened.

But when the best-of-7 series shifted to Denver Friday night for Game 3 at the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets found a way to counter LA's edge heft and height.

The Nuggets ran and ran and ran. After a 25-14 jump, point guard Ty Lawson orchestrated an improbable 28-2 spree as the Nuggets led by as many as 24 points before settling with a 55-39 halftime spread.

The Lakers slowed down the pace in the third quarter, held the Nuggets to 17 points and crept to within 72-65 heading into the final 12 minutes. But the Nuggets cranked up their attack once again in the fourth quarter, and in the high altitude air of Colorado, the Lakers just didn't have the gas to mount a full and complete comeback.

"The game for us is all about our energy and enthusiasm..It was a fun win for me. I can't remember a win as much as I enjoyed this thing," said Denver head coach George Karl whose Nuggets staggered the Lakers with 19 fastbreak points and 52 huge points inside the paint.y

"I felt like they played really well. They played with a lot of intensity and for us it was good learning experience. I'm proud of the way we battled to get back into the game. We just couldn't get over the hump," said Lakers star Kobe Bryant who missed 16 of his 23 shots to finish with only 22 points.

Bynum and Gasol combined for a total of 34 points and 19 rebounds but it wasn't enough to bail the Lakers, who made just 29 of 78 field goals (37.2 percent) and 6 of 25 threes (24 percent)

Lawson, Denver's blur of a point guard, had 25 points to engineer the Nuggets' 99-84 victory that cut the Lakers' series lead to 2-1. A pair of Nuggets big man also made a huge impact in Game 3 as 6-foot-8 Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee combined for 28 points and 30 rebounds.

Game 4 returns to the Pepsi Center in Denver Sunday night (Homer D. Sayson)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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