Denver Nuggets break Los Angeles Lakers’ winning streak
Kobe Bryant had been leading the Los Angeles Lakers through a three game winning streak since the All-Star break. His motivation was to win a championship in honor of the recent passing of Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss. The Denver Nuggets put a stop to that winning streak Monday night at home winning 119-108.
There was something not happening for the Lakers’ defense against the Nuggets. In the paint the Nuggets scored 78 points, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fast break points for the night were 33-3.
This is not to say that Bryant was not playing well. He had another strong night of 29 points making 12 of 23 shots. Bryant got his 14th technical foul at the end of the first half. He is now two technicals away from being suspended for a game. If the Lakers want to make it to the playoffs then they absolutely cannot afford to lose Bryant for a game.
While that is a concern for the Lakers, those 78 points in the paint are a bigger concern for the team.
Coach Mike D’Antoni said, “That’s a lot, lot, lot. A lot of that came from fastbreaks and we couldn’t catch them. We just couldn’t catch them.”
For the Nuggets it was Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson who led the speedy team in scoring, reports the Associated Press.
Chandler scored 23 points and Lawson had 22 points. This was needed since the Nuggets top scorer, Danilo Gallinari, was out with a bruised left thigh.
The Nuggets ran all over the Lakers. Lawson said, “First, we know that they played last night. Coming into the altitude, also they’re a little slow getting back. So, once they miss a shot, it seemed like a jailbreak. Everybody was trying to run downcourt and get the layup.”
Denver clearly took control of the game and used their speed against the aging Lakers.
Bryant knew it was their speed that did the Lakers in. “Their speed was something that was tough for us to adjust to all night long. They continually pushed the ball down our throats. Shots go up and those guys are already leaking out, to go along with the speed. They got a lot of easy buckets because of it,” Bryant said.
He is not concerned though. Hopefully Bryant is right and can get the team together and get back to winning if they want to make it to the playoffs.