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Flap your wings, all that ink, equals a lot of talent, Nuggets strong

News - Sports Articles

This is the reason the Lakers wil fall to the Birdman

The Baseline: "It's no coincidence that in Game 4, as J.R. Smith(notes) played such smart ball that he had the curmudgeonly Jeff Van Gundy and moralistic Mark Jackson tripping over themselves to praise him, Denver's offense came back. And although his 24 points are hardly a remarkable total for him, they are the most impressive 24 points of his rocky career

. This wasn't unlike the evolution Carmelo Anthony(notes) has undergone this season. With Smith, however, it happened abruptly, over Monday's four quarters. Not only did he show off all facets of his game as never before, he fused them with what had made him special, if problematic, before. Putting too much stock in a single playoff game is questionable — just ask certain GMs about that. But in Smith's case, this one has been a long time coming. I'll take the bait: This performance was that of a star being born. And with 'Melo barely present, it couldn't have come at a better time for Denver."

Dave Krieger, The Denver Post: "The Lakers have already begun their campaign against the aggression of the aggrieved, the Nuggets' current calling card. Phil Jackson was complaining about the officiating as soon as Game 4 ended. Like New Orleans coach Byron Scott in the first round, the Lakers are now suggesting Nuggets guard Dahntay Jones(notes) is a dirty player for tripping Bryant near the end of the third quarter. The Nuggets shrugged it off. In fact, Karl likes to hear opponents complain about the officiating, as he mentioned when Scott did it in the first round. Generally speaking, it is a loser's lament."

Silver Screen and Roll"In the end, both teams 'believed' — the Nuggets believing that they could win, while the Lakers believed they didn't need to. It was an exercise in shortsightedness: Had they expended the energy necessary to win and played with the intensity they'll surely have when the pressure is on, they may have been more tired in the moment, but they would have won the opportunity to rest up afterwards. Instead, they focused on the fact that they had done what they went to Denver to do — they had won one, retaken home court advantage, and regained the upper hand."

Pickaxe and Roll: "Denver continues to play with confidence against L.A. and they find themselves in a position to prove that while they may not have the best player in this series, they do have the better team. That's the best thing about basketball ... it's truly a team sport and the Nuggets to me look like the better team in this series."

Lakerhead Daily: "There I was a few weeks ago, defending the Lakers from claims that they just don’t want it enough when the Houston Rockets stretched them to seven games. I pointed to the match-up problems. I referenced history. Surely this would not happen against a Denver Nuggets team with Carmelo Anthoy playing poorly if the Lakers had a chance to make it a 3-1 series. I was flat out wrong.  The Lakers have only themselves to blame for getting a beating in Game 4 and losing to the Nuggets in Denver."

Roundball Mining Company: "I was afraid to write it before the game, but I thought this game was the most likely candidate for a blowout in the series. With Denver coming off a bad loss at home they would be out for blood and in round two the Lakers followed up a big game three win in Houston with a real stinker of a game in game four that saw them fall behind by more than 30  Denver ended up winning by 19, but L.A. deserves a lot of credit for playing hard. They did not quite manage to match Denver’s desire, but they certainly did not mail the game in by any stretch of the imagination. I think that fact is the ultimate compliment to Denver. Los Angeles clearly did not take the Rockets seriously enough to play all out every game. They clearly understand what can happen against Denver if they do not show up to play."

Talk Hoops: "The Lakers' supporting cast played about as poorly as a group of eight guys can play.Kobe Bryant(notes) put together a pretty good game, but he was almost forced to shoot too much with how badLamar Odom(notes), Trevor Ariza(notes), Derek Fisher(notes) and the Lakers' bench played. Bryant having double-digit three-point attempts could mean he is on fire from deep, the defense isn't allowing him to get to the lane, or he feels the need to take ill-advised shots to make up for the rest of his team. This was a combination of the last two.  Odom, Ariza and Fisher combined for 13 points on 4 of 19 shooting which only puts more pressure on the rest of the team (read: Kobe) to cover their lack of production. The Lakers can't win with three of their top six basically taking the night off."

Doug Smith: "I know referees want to 'control' the game but how come when they do it, they often ruin it for stretches. Yes, there were some contentious minutes in Denver’s win over the Lakers but the incessant parade to the free throw line to shoot technicals really put a damper on the evening. A couple were probably deserved, a couple were probably not and it strikes me that the officials have thinner skin in the post-season than the probably should. Emotions run high, players chirp a bit more because calls are more significant, I think the refs should take a bit more than they do in the regular season. I’m all for calming the night if it’s getting out of line physically but players need the chance to vent a bit more vociferously in the playoffs than they get in the regular season."

Bill Plaschke, LA Times: "On one end, the Nuggets' J.R. Smith was pounding his chest, cursing into the sky, and dancing in front of the Lakers' bench. On the other end, Ariza was requiring about an hour just to walk off the court. In one moment, the Nuggets' Chris 'Birdman' Andersen was inspiring the crowd to flap their arms as he leaped through Lakers statues for 14 rebounds. In the next moment, that crowd was raining down an obscene chant upon the cold-shooting Bryant, who could only grab his shorts, catch his breath, and shake his head. 'They just kicked our butt,' said Kobe Bryant, who was 10 for 26. 'They whupped us, period.' The Lakers seemed to try, and appeared to care, so this was not like the two postseason collapses at Houston. But this was directly connected to the two collapses in Houston. This is why it mattered that the Lakers mailed it in twice to a Rockets team they should have finished off much earlier. This is why, no matter what how flippantly the Lakers and Coach Phil Jackson acted about those losses, they might loom even larger later. By needlessly extending that series, the Lakers are now gassed in this series, having played 11 playoff games in the last 22 days. During that same stretch, the Nuggets have played eight games."

Dime: "After having to move his WWE 'Raw' show to Staples Center in L.A. last night, you knew Vince McMahon was gonna be all over the Nuggets. First there was an in-ring confrontation between Vince and a guy dressed up as Denver owner Stan Kroenke, in which dropped the BOMBSHELL that — wait for it — Kroenke’s real first name is 'Enos.' Goosebumps. Naturally this ended with Vince beating up the pretend-owner. And the main event was a 10-man tag match where John Cena, Batista, MVP, Kennedy and Jerry Lawler (the good guys) wore Lakers jerseys and beat Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Big Show and The Miz (the bad guys), who were wearing Nuggets jerseys."

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