The Lakers have gotten to a good start in the 2012 playoffs. They have taken advantage of home court, going up 2-0 against the sixth seeded nuggets. They are really using their size advantage against the skinny nuggets and are making them pay in the half court. The Nuggets are trying to run the fast break with every opportunity, and had some success, doubling the Lakers’ fast break points 30-15 in game 2.
Andrew Bynum had a historic game 1 where he posted a triple double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks. It was the first Laker’s playoff triple double since Magic Johnson rocked the purple and gold. He followed that performance with a great game 2 in which he put up 27 points and rebounds on 60% shooting. The Lakers need Bynum to play as the superstar center that he is if they went to advance deep into the playoffs.
Kobe Bryant has also been playing exceptionally well putting up 31 and 38 points in games 1 and 2 and proving to the NBA world that he is not going anywhere. He’s been leading the team emotionally and with his play. Most notably, in game he expressed his will to win when he blocked what Al Harrington believed was a wide-open dunk attempt on a fast break.
Pau Gasol has been playing well and is doing exactly what is asked of him, averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds and a surprising 6.5 assists in the first two games. Gasol’s play has not been an issue because the bench has really stepped it up with the absence of the man formerly known as Ron Artest. Devin Ebanks stepped up with a good game 12, where he scored all of his 12 points in the first half. The biggest surprise off the bench is Jordan Hill who is putting up 8 points and 10 boards through the first two but hopefully his off the court issues do not affect his play on it.
Not knocking on the nuggets at all, but the Lakers have absolutely dominated the first two games, will most likely advance to the second round and odds are they will have to play even better against the Thunder who are up two games on the defending champion Mavericks.
Going into game three, the Lakers must prevent the Nuggets’ fast break opportunities and continue to keep the ball in half court sets both on offense and defense. They got out rebounded in game 2 and that can not happen in the Mile-High city. If the Nuggets are able to run then they will empty the gas tanks of the Laker bigs who can not afford to tire out any time soon.