Ariza's My MVP for Game 1 & 2

Kobe Angry. Directly after his big shot 3 over the yapping JR Smith.

Kobe Really Tired. What is the point interviewing the guy when he can’t even breathe?

At any rate, as you all probably know by now, today the Lakers have gone 2-1 over the Nuggets. IMO, not primarily via Bryant’s 3 (he does those so often it actually looks easy), but via yet another Ariza steal same as he did in Game 1. This time, getting between Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony with 36 seconds left and severely limiting the Nuggets chances thereon. Not only that, Anthony had to foul him to prevent a fastbreak, causing his 6th.

A turnover with 36 seconds left is pivotal given 36 seconds is equal to only about 3 or 4 possessions. Starting with Denver in possession, you assume they’d score each time and defend like hell everytime LA gets possession, so with LA ahead only by 1, Denver would score, the ball would go to LA, they would score (or hopefully not), and by that time there’d only be around 15 to 20 seconds left. Some smart play making and clock management later, its possible to end up with possession plus a point or two ahead with the clock about to die, and you’d (theoretically) have a won game either by clock expiration or reducing it to a freethrow shooting contest.

But a steal + conversion right in the middle of that just throws it all away. I therefore submit Ariza, who reminds me of Pippen but without the ball – handling skills, to be the key to the Lakers win in Games 1 and 2. It looked like he was having some trouble when he went to the Locker room sometime during the game, but he looked ok grabbing that ball from Melo.

Oh and you can also say the Nuggets stopped Anthony in the 2nd half, who scored 18 in the first, but I’d debit that to inability to get himself going in the 2nd just as much as the Lakers’ D.

And By God what is with the Nuggets? You’d think a team with Billups and Anthony can at least handle an inbounds play.

The way it’s going, neither team is really showing any fire and are probably operating at only 80% of their capacity. These sorts of series goes to the more fired – up team, which neither are at the moment. Times like these I miss Shaq’s wild tirades, or Rasheed’s ‘guaranteing a win’ and other shenanigans, as these get them fired up. Even Phil Jackson tends to get into players faces with comments to the press and whatnot, in what I suspect are methods to get his team fired up. I’d say it’s as good a time as now to let out a few, because really this series isn’t pretty good basketball at the moment.