Apr 13, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets coach George Karl reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Best Loss Of The Year?

The Denver Nuggets battled and hustled their way back in Los Angeles, but at the end it wasn’t enough as the Lakers held off the young Nuggets squad.

There are losses that have you wishing for more from your squad, but Friday night wasn’t one of them as the Nuggets left it all out on the floor. It just wasn’t enough

Denver had no reason to be in the game with the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers. Even without Bryant, the Lakers still have  the best froncourt in the game in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum – both of which are All-Stars. While the Nuggets have had to revamp their starting lineup, the only change to Los Angeles’ starting lineup is the addition of Ramon Sessions. The Nuggets’ two best players, Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari, shot a combined 6 of 23, had six turnovers and 16 points. The duo also found themselves on the bench late in the game as Denver fought back to make the game interesting.

It was the energy by Corey Brewer that got the Nuggets going. He caused havoc with Los Angeles’ offense by double-teaming Andrew Bynum and pestering Los Angeles point guards Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake. He had three steals, forced the Lakers into a 24-second violation and forced a jump ball late.

  • Andre Miller may have been the Nuggets best player over the last week and Friday was no different. Miller led Denver with 20 points off the bench and his never-die attitude was key in the Nuggets being in the game.
  • Al Harrington was also big off the bench and gave Denver’s flat offense a spark. While he isn’t big enough to bang with Gasol or Bynum, his range forces the Lakers bigs to defend the perimeter which really isn’t their strength.
  • Timofey Mozgov finally got some meaningful minutes and he didn’t disappoint. Mozgov did his job when he was on the floor and it was to slow down Bynum. He made a point to put a body on Bynum early and make the Lakers’ young center work for positioning.
  • JaVale McGee did an admirable job late for the Nuggets. He did get lost against Bynum at times, but he also gave the Lakers’ center problems as well. McGee had his first double-double in a Nuggets jersey with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Kenneth Faried just didn’t have the size to compete with Los Angeles’ big. He was sent to the bench late in the third quarter after Gasol outhustled him for a rebound.
  • Gallinari needs to get over his fears in Los Angeles. From the tip-off, Gallinari had a deer in headlights look and his play was very passive. The Italian shot 2-9 and had three turnovers.
Luckily enough for the Nuggets, the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz loss. However, the Rockets loss came against the Phoenix Suns. Denver’s next two games are against the Rockets and no doubt are huge for both squads.

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Tags: Al Harrington Andre Miller Andrew Bynum Danilo Gallinari Denver Nuggets George Karl Houston Rockets JaVale McGee Kenneth Faried Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Phoenix Suns Timofey Mozgov Ty Lawson Utah Jazz

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