Notes on a Scorecard…
Staples Center is rocking—
we’re moments away from tipoff and they are
playing the Randy Newman song “I Love LA”.
The officials are announced—Ronnie Garretson, Scott Foster and Derrick Collins. Ronnie G is my favorite of the three. He is fair and calls a good game.
Teams look good--Lakers in white—Nuggets in their navy alternate road uniforms.
Big questions coming into the game…
Can Ty Lawson dominate his matchup with Ramon Sessions?
Can Danilo Gallinari come up big?
Can the Nuggets bigs hang in there with Lakers center Andrew Bynum?
Bad news---Denver 2-10 shooting to start the game—good news Nuggets D is pretty good.
Rookie Kenneth Faried scores on two early drives and seems not to be awed by the bright lights.
In case you’re wondering Jack Nicholson IS in the house—usual seat--front row.
Gallo scores on a twisting drive—I joke out loud, “Where’ s Metta World Peace when you need him?” Laker fan behind me agrees.
Nuggets shooting 4-16 now…Gallo and Faried 4-8…everybody else 0-8!
2:36 remaining Nuggets down 15-10...attacking the basket hard however.
Former Nugget Steve Blake hits 3 three pointers out of 4, and the Lakers lead after one quarter 27-14. Nuggets just 5-20 shooting in the period. Not good.
In between quarters, a 12-year-old kid comes onto the floor and hits a three pointer worth $5000! Sign him up.
2nd quarter…George Karl going to a small lineup…Miller, Brewer, Al, Kenneth, and Gallo…pace is much better…
Brewer gets a 4-point play…Jack is not happy…
Without Kobe and Bynum in the game Nuggets make a move…10-4 run for the good guys. 31-27 LA.
Mike Brown has seen enough…time out…Kobe back in…
Don’t worry, Timofey Mozgov in for Mile High Crew…..
Devin Ebanks, subbing for Metta, has scored 10 points. So far he is the wild card that George was worried about popping up. LA leads 37-31.
Uh oh, Andrew Bynum is back in—he’s very tall!
Gallo blows by Kobe for a reverse dunk—wow! He’s got 11 on 4-7 shooting. 39-34 LA.
Devin Ebanks hits again. He’s got 12 points on 5-6 shooting. He will be a topic of conversation at halftime. 2:55 left till the break…Denver trails by 9.
JaVale is back in to cover Bynum—can’t go small here.
Gallo at the line again—he’s been the best Nugget in this first half.
Meanwhile Ty has disappeared—0-3, no points, and a -10 plus/minus rating.
Jack the Joker is up cheering—Lakers are up by 13.
Big Al hits a big 3 and it’s halftime—LA ahead by 10.
Got very bad news at halftime—the soft serve ice cream machine at Staples is NOT working!
3rd Quarter is crucial for the Nuggets---have to come out strong…
Watching from the corner of the arena—it’s stark how much bigger the Lakers look than the Nuggets. 54-43 LA.
3 minutes into the 3rd, Matt Barnes replaces Ebanks. My bet is that Ebanks doesn’t score again today.
Gasol hits a 3…Lakers lead has grown to 15, 62-47.
Lawson still hasn’t made a field goal—now 0-6. George subs in Miller.
Nuggets are in the danger zone.
Sessions is unguarded and hits a 3. Fellas sagging too much! Kobe drives in the lane for 2. Nuggets call time out-- down by their biggest deficit—19.
An Afflalo jumper, a Dre 3-point play, a Brewer 3, and suddenly we are within 11. This group, AAA, Dre, Brewer, Al and McGee, has been the Nuggets best this afternoon. Time out. Staples rocking with loud music! Fans are into it.
At the end of 3, Lakers on top 77-64—Nuggets hanging in….
Free throw shooting again is an issue—just 16-23 thru 3 quarters.
4th quarter….Nuggets need a big comeback…Lawson back in –still without a hoop!
83-66 Lakers…here comes Gallo back in…Lakers defense (which is pretty good) starting to stifle the Mile High Crew. 8:24 to rally.
Faried back in—now with Dre, Gallo, Brewer and Ty.
At the 8:05 mark of the 4th quarter, Ty finally scores a hoop on a nice drive. Need more Lawesome in a hurry.
Ty hits again—down by just 13!
Dre misses layup Lakers get run out. Nugs can’t get a break.
Another run-out for Kobe and the lead is back up to 19 with 6:07 to play.
Staples Center is going crazy. They are playing “Welcome to the Jungle”. The Laker girls are dancing. The fans are cheering. Can we get a big run to shut em all up?
After a slow first half, Kobe is warming up. At 33, he’s still darn good. He’s got 27 with 4 minutes to go—95-78 Lakers.
Manimal 2 FT—he’s got 10 points and 8 rebounds. Pretty good stats for the rookie’s first playoff game!
Kobe started 2-10 from the field—since he’s 9-14 and has taken over with 31.
With 1:58 remaining the fans are headed to the aisles—Lakers by a comfortable 17. Bynum has tied an NBA playoff record with 10 blocks.
When I played high school basketball in LA, there was a team (Fremont) whose fans used to chant “Hey, it’s all ove!r”, “Hey, it's all over!” when the game was in hand. 103-88 Lakers.
The final indignation--Lakers game ops playing “I Love LA” again. Everybody is singing, except Nuggets fans.
Game one is over-- and out in La La land.