The Los Angeles Lakers have defeated the Denver Nuggets 96-87 in game 7 of their first round series at Staples Center Saturday night. The Lakers advance to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 23 points to lead the Lakers and 17 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks.
Kobe Bryant took on more of a supporting role in the game, score 17 points and piling up 8 assists to lead the team. Bryant went most of the fourth quarter without a basket, choosing instead to get his big men involved. Andrew Bynum also finished with a double double of 16 points and 18 rebounds.
Steve Blake had quite the hot hand, going 5-6 from behind the three point line. The other player feeling it from behind the line was Metta World Peace who hit four, but he also attempted 11. However this three point explosion was slightly negated by eight missed field goals. Blake made his first five threes and finished with 19 points which is a playoff career high for him.
Metta World Peace's biggest contribution was on defense, where he was his usual aggressive and scrappy self. His ability to take Denver off it's game was huge, as was Kobe Bryants unselfish play. Not just that he led the team in assists, but when Denver continued to double team him, Bryant refused to take contested shots. With the Lakers hitting the uncontested jump shots, the Nuggets game plan was thwarted enough for the Lakers to build up a big third quarter lead.
For more on this game, check out Silver Screen and Roll.