The Los Angeles Lakers were caught by surprise on Friday night when they visited the Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs and lost by a final score of 99-84. The Lakers still have a 2-1 lead in the series, but the loss was unexpected and a bit embarrassing.
C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll had this to say about the loss:
The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Denver Nuggets by fifteen in Game 3 of their first round playoff series, the very same margin of defeat which was their margin of victory in a Game 1 performance many labeled as dominant. I'm almost more impressed by the losing. Denver ended up destroying the Lakers in a game in which they failed to shoot 40% from the floor. They throttled the Lakers despite getting out shot from the free throw line. Make no mistake, the Denver Nuggets won, and won handily, on a night when they were way, way below average.
The Lakers were also below average. They were also below interest. The entire first quarter was an ode to the merits of effort, and the Lakers trailed by 16 at its conclusion. The fourth quarter was much of the same. Denver is severely undersized in this series, but that didn't stop them from picking up 19 offensive rebounds on the evening. The Nuggets ranked 18th in the league at turning the ball over, but did so only 6 times on the contest. Put those two numbers together against the Lakers' 13 O rebounds and 15 turnovers, and it adds up to an extra 15 possessions with which to do your business. The final score was a 15 point deficit. Go figure.
The Lakers will try to go up 3-1 in the series on Sunday in Denver.
For more news and notes on the Lakers or this first round playoff series against Denver, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.