Key moments down the stretch for Ramon Sessions in his first playoff series. He hit back-to-back buckets at the 8:18 and 7:47 marks of the fourth quarter to cut off a Denver run, knocked down a key floater with 1:14 left to keep L.A. up by six and then hit both of his free throws with 20.9 seconds left to make it 102-96.
Assists for Pau Gasol to lead the Lakers, a game after his eight did the same. George Karl went on and on about Gasol’s passing and how much it hurt his team after the game, discussing how much pressure it puts on a defense to have a very smart, 7-0 foot player making so many good decisions. “I’m trying to find open teammates, see what’s going on and give easy looks to Andrew most of the time, and Kobe because he’s such a good cutter and holds his (space) in the paint,” said Gasol afterwards. Bryant called Gasol a “fantastic” passer, and said he simply uses his strength to hold space in the paint until the ball is delivered.
Rebounds off the bench for Jordan Hill, who has clearly earned the role of the No. 3 big man for the Lakers. He played 21 minutes, adding a block and six points, but his activity on the glass was key.
Turnovers for the Lakers, a number they can be happy with.
Offensive rebounds for the Lakers in the second half alone, which actually matched Denver’s haul on that end of the floor in the first half*, keeping the Nuggets close despite a big discrepancy in shooting percentages. Jordan Hill led the charge, with five total offensive boards, while Devin Ebanks used his long arms to grab four, and Andrew Bynum/Gasol three apiece. Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with six, four in the first half, to help him score 14 points, second only to Ty Lawson’s 25.
*Those 13 were a full board more than LAL allowed on average for the regular season.
Andrew Bynum’s point total a game after his triple-double effort (10 points, 13 rebounds, 10 blocks), the 7-footer finding more opportunities to score than in Game 1. His efficiency was quite strong, 12 of 20 field goals and 3 of 4 free throws going down. He added nine boards and two blocks, his defense solid if not as impactful as in Game 1.
Fast break points for the Nuggets, certainly too many for LAL’s liking, but Mike Brown seemed to understand that Denver was playing desperate basketball and was sprinting out at every single opportunity.
Number of 30+ point scoring games for Kobe Bryant in his career, after his 38 in Game 2 backed up his 31 in Game 1. He was very aggressive from the onset, with Denver not bringing many double teams, scoring 21 points in the first half on 9 of 12 field goals. He ended up making 15 of 29 in the game, plus 6 of 7 free throws. He did a lot of scoring on Arron Afflalo, and some on Corey Brewer, about whom he said this: “Look man, I’m just stronger. I’m just bigger. It is what it is.” Fair enough.