Denver Nuggets Hold Kobe Bryant Under 50 Points!
We can ridicule Los Angeles Lakers "fans" all we want, but we certainly can’t ridicule the Lakers players. As noted in great detail on this blog before the Nuggets even drew the Lakers in the first round, this Lakers squad is a group of serious professionals, emanating from the coach on down to the 12th man on the roster (who happens to be the Nuggets’ coach’s son).
The Nuggets were out-coached, out-classed and out-everything’d during tonight’s 122-107 loss to the Lakers.
Lakers 2, Nuggets 0.
firegeorgekarl.com 2, George Karl 0.
While Phil Jackson prepares his team before playoff games begin, George Karl is playing sumo wrestler with the team interns.
While the Lakers players take it easy during their own season-ending party, Carmelo Anthony is getting pulled over by the police on suspicion of a DUI.
While Kobe Bryant is dropping 49 points on the Nuggets, J.R. Smith has the audacity to talk trash to him.
The predicament the Nuggets currently find themselves in begins with management’s inability to put character over characters on the floor, Coach Karl’s refusal to earn his $3 million paycheck and actually try to "coach" these characters, and the characters themselves unwillingness to take on great challenges with the aggressiveness and a sense of pride worthy of a playoff-caliber team.
So how do we fix these myriad of problems and beat the Lakers four times in the next five games? The short answer is: we don’t. You can’t take 82 games off from playing defense, and suddenly expect to hold an offensive juggernaut like the Lakers under a 100 points in the playoffs. Moreover, you can’t 82 games off from playing a cohesive offensive set that in theory puts your stars in their comfort zones to make easy baskets, and suddenly expect the offense to jive with cutting players and extra passes.
But this doesn’t mean the Nuggets cause against the Lakers is totally hopeless. (Did I really just write that? I must be a masochist, a total idiot, or both).
Given that the Nuggets are only capable of playing pick up basketball under Coach Karl, may I suggest the following…..let’s play the BEST pick up basketball we can play for the rest of the series. Seriously! Let’s start J.R. Smith, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Linas Kleiza and Marcus Camby, and just let them shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot from tip off to the final buzzer, and attempt to wear the Lakers out at 5,280 feet.
And on the defensive end? Forget defense! Let’s try to win these next few games 150-145. We’ll go Paul Westhead on these Lakers. (And yes, I know that strategy never worked for Westhead, but while he had Joe Wolf, George Karl has Carmelo Anthony – although with the way Melo is playing in this series thus far, we might want Wolf back in a Nuggets jersey).
Since everyone in the Nuggets’ organization’s job is (or at least should be) in jeopardy if the Nuggets get swept or lose a playoff series 4-1 for the fifth consecutive season, the Nuggets might as well have as much fun as possible before the season ends.
As my friend Zach in Denver pointed out after the loss tonight, playing the Lakers is like a whack-a-mole game: you stop Pau Gasol, and Kobe kills you. You stop Gasol and Kobe (as unlikely as that is), and Odom or Walton kills you. And so on. For once in this series – just once – I’d like the Lakers to play whack-a-mole against us. But the only way to pull this off is to out-pick-up-ball the Lakers.
Go for it, George. Trust me. And if you need some game tape on how to execute this innovative strategy, I’ll send you footage from my Saturday morning playground game.
For more, please visit www.firegeorgekarl.com.
[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krob/]