The Los Angeles Lakers were overwhelming favorites heading into their opening-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. Just a short time later, the Lakers put on their worst postseason performance in years and the Nuggets have forced a Game 7.
As the final game returns to the Staples Center on Saturday, the Lakers will need to buckle down and play lights-out basketball. The Nuggets are a younger, faster and hungrier team and made Los Angeles look their age on Thursday night. Kobe Bryant proved that he clearly cannot do everything alone.
Both teams have their backs against the wall and the decider in Game 7 may very well come down to which squad will blink first. If the Lakers are bounced out by this Nuggets team in the first round, the humiliation of that loss will sting for quite some time.
Saturday night's game tips off at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be televised nationally on TNT.
For more news and notes on Lakers basketball or on this first round NBA playoff series, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.