As the emotion following the death of Jerry Buss and of the fifteenth “New Start” of the Lakers‘ season diminish, the team returned to form in Denver last night, being thoroughly outplayed in every aspect of the game. The Nuggets led from wire to wire, running the “old and slow” Lakers off the court, outscoring them by 11, out rebounding them 44 to 36, out assisting them 30 to 21, and out defending them. Denver committed a mere nine turnovers to the Lakers’ 15, despite their high-octane running game, and while they hit only a poor 59% of their free throw, that left the putrid Lakers, who hit only a miserable 45%, far behind there also. Denver’s merely adequate bench outscored the Lakers’ pitiful reserves 40 to 25. Maybe the most telling stat of all, though, was the fact that Denver outscored the Lakers 33 to 3 on fast-break points. “Old and slow” hardly covers it.
Deee-Wight’s biggest contribution to Denver’s victory was his personal stat of 21%
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|success at the free throw line, missing 11, which turned out to be the difference in the 119-108 final score. Mr. Howard, whose brisk walk out of town we eagerly await, also did his absolute best on defense last night, as the Nuggets ran and shot over, through, around, and seemingly under him, as they scored an astounding 78 points in the paint. In Dwight Howard’s paint.
Despite coming off his great game against Dallas on Sunday, Kobe Bryant was merely average last night, and he committed his 14th technical foul of the season, leaving him now only two short of the limit before a mandatory one game suspension would be
triggered. Image the savage thrashing the Lakers’ would take in a game where Howard plays and Kobe doesn’t? Vegas will certainly take that one off the board.
If Houston wins only one-half of their remaining games the rest of the season, the Lakers would have to go 16-8, a .667 percentage, to make the playoffs. That is never going to happen. The good news is that we will only have to endure Deee-Wight stinking up a Lakers’ uniform for another 24 games.