It’s hard to criticize the 6th-seeded Denver Nuggets, especially after beating the No. 3-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3.
They played great, answered the Lakers runs and punched L.A. in the mouth.
However, there was a special energy in the Pepsi Center in Friday’s Game 3. The fans were rowdy and took advantage of their home team returning home and the Nuggets took the center court on national television on Friday night and they thrived.
They hit shots that they don’t normally hit, they got calls that they don’t usually get and the ball bounced their way when it needed to.
But if the Nuggets want to upset the Lakers they can’t always depend on that energy every game. They also have to play smart, solid basketball on both sides of the court.
On Friday, that energy helped Denver go on a 26-2 run early in the first half.
Ty Lawson was in the zone, scoring 13 points in the opening quarter, while Arron Afflalo hit his first 3-pointer of the series and both Corey Brewer and Al Harrington hit from behind the arc.
Also during the run, Lawson drew an offensive foul on Kobe Bryant and at the end of the first quarter Bryant didn’t get continuation on his shot that would have allowed him to go to the charity stripe at the end of the quarter.
Can you count on Lawson to get hot every game? Or Denver’s inconsistent outside shooting? Or even Bryant not getting the calls?
The NBA playoffs are a lot like a chess match, and the Nuggets need to be ready for the Lakers’ Game-4 adjustments. Coach Mike Brown has already zeroed in on slowing down Lawson. Andrew Bynum has stated he will play better and Bryant has a warning for Nuggets fans.
Denver needs to be ready for the adjustments, because the energy may not be the same on Sunday night, but the pride real remain the same.