Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Lakers Crush the Nuggets 119-92 advance to the Finals

The Lakers saved their best game of the series for last in administering a season-ending beat down to the Nuggets in dominating fashion to return to the NBA Finals. Los Angeles showed that they were focused and ready to play from the start of the game.

Trevor Ariza set the tone early by knocking down three shots from behind the arc; he finished the game with 17 points.

Los Angeles was active, aggressive, attacking the basket and had everything working, Kobe Bryant wore the hat of the facilitator early getting all of his teammates involved, and then he showed why he is the best closer in the game.

Nine Lakers had taken a shot in the first half prior to him taking over the game. Los Angeles used a focused total team effort.

Kobe had 18 points on six-for-10 shooting, six assists and one huge blocked shot in the first half. He scored 11 of those points during a decisive 21-7 Lakers scoring run that gave the Los Angeles a 53-40 lead at halftime.

Kobe Bryant’s stat line for the game showed that he scored 35 points, handed out 10 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds. All of this was accomplished by efficiently shooting 20 shots. What it didn’t show is the leadership, teaching and motivating he did to raise the level of play of his teammates.

The Lakers used all of their weapons to increase their lead and had five players score in double digits.

Pau Gasol scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, had six assists, three steals and blocked a shot. Lamar Odom had another great game leading the second unit with 20 points and eight rebounds. Luke Walton contributed 10 points off of the bench.

Los Angeles held the lead for the majority of the game the lead got to high as 29 points and sent the Nuggets faithful to the exits with four minutes and 10 seconds left in regulation.

The Lakers bench outscored the Nuggets bench 40-34. Los Angeles out-played Denver in every way possible in game 6. The Lakers out-rebounded the Nuggets 38-27, shot 57.3-percent from the field, 56.3-percent from behind the arc and knocked down all 24 of their free throws.

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points on his 25th birthday, JR Smith pumped in 24 points but to say this wasn’t the Nuggets day would be an understatement. The Nuggets trailed for all but a few seconds of the game and never mounted a serious charge after halftime.

The Lakers 4-2 series win over the Nuggets means that it is the 16th straight time that team has won a series after winning game one.

Kobe Bryant has scored at least 500 points in four different post-seasons, only Michael Jordan, who accomplished the feat eight times, has done it more.

The Lakers have advanced to the NBA Finals for the second straight season and their 30th appearance.

The Lakers are seeking their 15th title, Head Coach Phil Jackson is seeking his 10th NBA title; Kobe Bryant is after his fourth. Los Angeles became the first team to make consecutive NBA Finals appearances since the Pistons in 2004 & 2005.

The Lakers 2009 playoff journey has been a much more bruising and much more difficult task going through Utah, Houston and Denver than cruising through West as the team did last year.

The road to the Finals this year has taken the Lakers through an arduous, grueling and physical two weeks of basketball. Ending the series in six games has allowed them some much needed rest.

Photo Credit: Robert Gauthier & Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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