Kobe Bryant was nodding his head in disbelief as the Lakers with only less than a minute is still trailing the Denver Nuggets by 2 points.
It was a typical Lakers game leading as much as 14 points in the initial quarter and allowed Denver to get back in the game late in the second. The Lakers bench was playing quite well and their collapsing Laker defense against Melo was executed well allowing guys like Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith some open opportunities but it was a different story when Kleiza was hitting his shots and Billups hitting unprecedented threes stopping and popping in the lane. The Denver Nuggets rallied against The Lakers who were 11-0 against them in the postseason dated back in 1985. The game was decided by a contested layup by Kenyon Martin and 3 out of 4 shooting by Billups in the free throw line.
The Lakers had some moments when Gasol and Billups got in tangled and was called a jump ball. Trevor Ariza who scored a career high 20 points got the jump ball but fumbled it on the way to the floor. Billups converted the free throws and with 4.3 seconds Fisher had a good look in the corner but failed to knock the trifecta.
The game was expected to be a thriller and when the game was on the line Kobe and Carmelo step it up to the next level. It was Kobe winning game 1 but Carmelo leveled the competition scoring 34 points and 14 rebounds and one significant play on an offensive rebound against Kobe late in the fourth quarter and scored a put back giving the Nuggets a five point lead. “We’re mentally tough and we showed that in this game coming off the loss that we gave away in Game 1.”said Carmelo.
They almost had game 1 but felt short but this time Billups came out and delivered. He took a technical when Nene got a no call by the referee. He regroups his team when the lead ballooned to 14 points and most of all he made crucial shots and knock the free throws that matter most in the game. Chauncy is the x-factor in this series the voice of a general who leads his team to victory.
Kobe and the Lakers will try to steal a game in Denver this Saturday. They will try to play atrocious defense against Carmelo and stop Billups dribble penetration. It’s gonna be a tough and physical series and the team who executes down the stretch will likely win the series…
“I think this is going to be a long series,” Denver coach George Karl said. Well coach you can say that again…