The Los Angeles Lakers fell behind by as many as 28 points Thursday night in their ugly 113-96 Game 6 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. After the game, much of the talk revolved around intensity and effort. As in, the Nuggets had it, and the Lakers did not.
Well, except for Kobe Bryant, who shook off the flu to score 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting. "Kobe had two IV bags before the game and two at halftime," tweeted Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. "And he still played better than anyone else on the team. By far."
Pau Gasol was a no-show with three points, on 1-of-10 shooting, with three rebounds. Andrew Bynum had 16 rebounds to go with is 11 points, but made just 4-of-11 shots from the field. "We're going to need a lot more out of our two bigs to try and win the series," said head coach Mike Brown after the game.
Alex Kennedy of Hoops World called Gasol's game "inexcusable," and Bill Simmons of ESPN joked, "I think Pau Gasol is saving his legs for the Olympics."
What did Kobe think of the performance of Gasol and Bynum in Game 6? Well, the team gets Metta World Peace back for Game 7, as his seven-game suspension has been served. Kobe offered this telling thought, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Kobe on Metta in Game 7: "He's the one guy that I can rely on night-in and night-out to compete and play with that intensity"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 11, 2012
Game 7 is Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. PDT at Staples Center, and will be televised by TNT and Fox Sports West.
For more news and notes on Lakers basketball or on this first round NBA playoff series, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.