Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thoughts on Nuggets-Lakers Game 5 as Dandy Don warms his vocal chords.

After his playing days in Dallas, Dandy Don had a stellar turn in the booth on Monday Night Football.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.“ Don Meredith would sing this in the announcer booth on Monday Night Football back in the 70’s when the competitive portion of the football game ended and garbage time began. I’m too young to have heard him sing this live, but I have heard it enough on NFL films highlights that it has become my own personal song to signal the end of a sporting event. Yes, I literally sing it to myself in my head almost every time a game reaches the point where the outcome is no longer in doubt. Dandy Don’s tune isn’t playing in my head just yet in regards to the Nuggets-Lakers series, but my mental Dandy Don is gurgling salt-water and warming up his voice.

In what was a terrific and exciting game for three quarters, the Nuggets fell asleep for the first five minutes of quarter number four, and gave up an 11-0 run to the Lakers, and thus ended the competitive portion of the ball game. The lead briefly ballooned to double digits for the Lakers before the Nuggets pulled it briefly back to within four, but at no point after that run did I believe that the Nuggets were going to win. The Lakers cruised to the finish and a 103-94 victory that puts them firmly in the driver’s seat for the series. I said in my last post that the team that won Game 5 would win the series, and unfortunately, I still believe that. I think the Nugs have a great chance of taking down the Lakers on Friday night, but I can’t see them winning a Game 7 in Los Angeles.

Melo played a team high 40 minutes on Wednesday night, but George Karl probably should have made that even higher, as when Melo began the fourth on the bench, and was noticeably absent during the majority of the stretch which killed the Nuggets. For the first time in the series, the Lakers actually looked like the better team. Kobe Bryant shot much less than usual, and instead got the rest of his team involved. Trevor Ariza played defense like a man possessed, Shannon Brown ignited a rally at the end of the third with a huge dunk over Chris Andersen which helped propel the Lakers from 7 points down to taking the lead for good. Derek Fisher looked like the Derek Fisher of five years ago. Even Lamar Odom decided to care about this game, and he pulled one of those dynamic performances which he unleashes once every five or six games or so. He had one of those games that get NBA people so excited about his potential. (Of course, he has been in the NBA for almost ten years, so I think it’s fair to say that he is what he is, a talented but inconsistent performer.)

For the first time in this series the Lakers finally resembled the team that won so many regular season games this season. They hung around with the Nuggets for most of Game 5, and then a switch flipped late in the game and the Lakers exploded on both sides of the floor and suddenly the game was out of reach. Despite a game effort from many of the Nuggets, they didn’t have enough, and the Lakers finally looked like the tremendous Lakers team that everyone expected to cruise to the Finals when the playoffs began.

This game was not lost on the defensive side of the ball, but rather due to an offensive lull in the fourth quarter. This may not be fair, but I place all of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Kenyon Martin; largely because I really don’t like him, but also because he partially deserves it. Due to the fact that he made three jumpers earlier on in the game Kmart thought he was “on” and he proceeded to jack up shot after ugly shot during a stretch when the ball needed to be in the hands of the likes of Chauncey, Melo, and J.R. Smith. Kenyon has been solid most of this series, but the moronic version of Kmart who overrates himself and starts to think he is a jump shooter showed up and submarined the Nuggets chances of winning the game and ruined their best shot at winning the series. I will do a dance of joy the day that the Nuggets finally rid themselves of Kenyon and those stupid lips tattooed on his neck.

So where does the series go from here?

Glass half-full guy: The Nuggets have outplayed the Lakers in four of the five games in this series. They will take care of the Lakers without a problem in Denver and then will have a one game for all the marbles situation on Sunday night in Los Angeles. They have already won one game in LaLa Land, and they have a terrific chance to get a second if they play up to their potential this weekend. Plus the Lakers have been highly inconsistent this whole postseason, and just because they played great in Game 5 doesn’t mean that same team will show up for Game 6 and 7.

Glass half-empty guy: The Lakers have finally awakened, perhaps the Nuggets find a way to squeak one out against them in Denver in Game 6, although that is hardly a lock, but they have only two chances of actually winning a Game 7: Slim and None. Home teams win Game 7’s almost all the time. In the history of the NBA there have been 104 Game 7’s and the road team has only won 21 times. So if it’s not impossible for the Nuggets, it’s the next best thing.

Glass of a drunk guy: Hey, I ordered a vodka tonic, I don’t have a clue about the Nuggets and Lakers. Gimmie my booze!

My Glass: I really think the Nuggets find a way to win in Denver and force a Game 7 on Sunday, I also think that the Lakers are not going to lose a Game 7 at home this year. I’m holding out hope, just because I really want the Nuggets to win, but I have to say that my prediction is now Lakers in 7. I’m not ready for Dandy Don’s song to be played for the Nuggets, but I fear it’s coming.

No comments: