Game 3: Lakers at Nuggets In-Game

I’m in Denver, but no way I’m pulling off a full In-Game blog like at the home games, so you’ll be getting some random notes during the game. Check back for the latest.

4th Quarter

  • The worm has turned and the mass exodus is on as the Lakers carry their biggest lead of the day (23) into a timeout at 5:29. Fans behind the Nuggets bench are irate. Lakers fans in the building couldn’t be having a better time.
  • My fan of the game goes to the guy wearing his Sunday White Kobe jersey in the fourth row of section 136. His constant jersey popping and general harassment of super fans around him is something to be admired. If I knew what he was saying I’m sure I’d love him ten times more. A stellar performance, with his contribution to the whiteout being the only blemish to the stat sheet.

    3rd Quarter

  • Superior ball movement made every basket for the Lakers an easy one in the 3rd while the Nuggets had to work for every thing they got. 83-64 Lakers.
  • Kobe & Fish combined for 22 points on 9-12 shooting. Lamar Odom was the only other Laker to score and had six, four of which came from the line. The Lakers threw out another good defensive quarter and held Denver to just 18 points.

  • Denver fought back to cut the lead to 10 and get their crowd back into it, but a Fisher trey and a couple of easy baskets have the Lakers ahead by 17 again at 78-61. Melo just got tagged for a T as well.
  • Kobe is sucking the soul out of Denver with every bucket he makes. The Fish trey forces a Nuggets TO as the Lakers extend their lead to 67-51. In games one and two we’ve seen the Nuggets fold when they take one in the mouth, let’s see if they respond with the possibility of going down 3-0 starring them in the face.
  • I get that other NBA teams play music during the game more than the Lakers do at STAPLES Center, where most of the sound in LA is provided by the Laker Band or the organ. The thing I can’t figure out is why they play certain songs when the Nuggets have the ball and other songs when the Lakers have the ball. There’s no clear theme to either, they’re both songs that could be put on a Jock Jam CD with no complaints.
  • After a pedestrian eight point (3/8 shooting) effort in the first half Kobe has come out and been much more demonstrative making three of his first four shots and pushing the Lakers lead into double digits at 61-50.

    2nd Quarter

  • DJ Mbenga comes in to man the Center position. Although Ronny said he was feeling up to it, apparently Phil wasn’t comfortable with bringing him in this early.
  • It’s getting chippy early. Lamar and Nene got tangled up and had some words, now Najera shoots Sasha an elbow to the throat that results in a technical on Eduardo. Assistant Coach Jim Cleamons compared what Najera does for the Nuggets to what Ronny does for the Lakers, he neglected to mention the dirty play angle that Najera is commonly associated with. I don’t think anyone would say that about Ronny.

    1st Quarter

  • A relatively low scoring quarter for both teams, with the Lakers holding a 23-20 lead. The Lakers held Denver to just 32% shooting in the quarter.
  • The rebounding numbers are pretty even at 14-13 in favor of the Nuggs, but LA is getting killed on the offensive boards as they’ve allowed the Nuggets to grab six offensive boards and have only responded by getting two of their own misses.
  • Kobe picked up his second foul with 1:09 left after holding up Najera after he got picked. Both fouls on #24 were minor infractions, but they count the same, and now he’s headed to the bench as Sasha enters the game.
  • The first quarter is being played at a breakneck pace. Only five free throws have been attempted, with the last at the 10:16 mark. There wasn’t a deadball situation between then and the first timeout at 3:29.
  • The music played here is a strange mix of the typical hip-hop you hear at most NBA games and country. Welcome to the mountains.
  • George Karl stuck with the Kenyon Martin on Kobe strategy. On the other end Kobe matches up with Kleiza. Bryant got back doored twice by Linas that quarter.
  • The graphic on the videoboard instructs fans not to sit until the home team scores. The Lakers bench counters (as they always do) by standing until the Lakers score a basket. Denver gets a basket on their first trip down the floor, the Lakers bench takes a seat 45 seconds later after a couple of Kobe free throws.

    Pre-Game

  • It’s good to see Ronny back in his normal pre-game scorers table spot giving his specialized hi-fives to each of the starters.
  • According to weather.com it’s 93 degrees in LA right now. Here in Denver it’s 43 and it’s been snowing off-and-on all morning. My walk to 7-11 started out clear and my walk back ended up in snow flurrys, it comes and goes that quick.
  • Luckily they play games indoors and the weather inside the Pepsi Center (affectionately known as “The Can” by the locals) is remarkably similar to STAPLES Center. The layout of the Can is similar to what we saw in San Antonio & Dallas when we went on the road earlier this season, suites at the top of the lower bowl and on the loge level and a medium sized upper deck.
  • The Nuggets are going with the Whiteout today along with a headband theme. Each fan is given a white shirt on the way in along with a baby blue Nuggets headband. This trend was also mandatory for all employees. What you end up with is a lot of people in suits and headbands. It’s an odd look, but I’m all for unity and team spirit. I do appreciate the pre-game emcee calling people out on the big screen if they haven’t put their white shirt on. Nothing like a little peer pressure.
  • Lakers fans are out in good numbers and scattered throughout the arena. The team got booed pretty good as they came onto the floor and Kobe continues to get booed whenever he’s shown on the jumbotron. I’m sure that’s a trend that will continue every time he touches the ball.