Tonight’s tilt might well be viewed as a preview of the race for the playoffs as the Nuggets currently sit at 9-6 and just ahead of the Lakers in the Western Conference. The focus pre-game was on Phil’s contract extension.
Coming into the game the Lakers are riding there bounce back win over Sonics after their 3 game losing streak, while the Nuggets dropped their last game against Indiana. Even with injuries of their own, the Lakers should be able to exploit the Nuggets’ front court, who features Marcus Camby, a limited Kenyon Martin and not many other big bodies. Certainly, this will be a test for Bynum against the shot blocking prowess of Camby on the offensive end and then the penetration of Iverson and Anthony on the defensive end. The injury to Martin does give more time to Linus Kleiza, who seemed to come out of no where to paste the Lakers for 29 points. He is the long range shooter (or was last year, this year his percentage isn’t quite there) that has been able to hurt the Lakers this season.
The stern test for the team tonight will be turnovers. The Lakers have had a season-long struggle with turnovers, but tonight they face a legitimate ball hawking Denver defense.