DENVER, CO - MAY 04: Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers is restrained by teammates Kobe Bryant #24 and Matt Barnes #9 as Bynum protests a call with the referesss as they face the Denver Nuggets in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 4, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 99-84 as the Lakers hold a 2-1 advantage in the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Lakers go into today's game with a 2-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets, but it should be 3-0. They had every opportunity to win Game 3 on Friday, but they played lazily on both ends of the floor, and the Nuggets took advantage, as they were supposed to do. Rebounding in particular is a problem as the Nuggets have outrebounded the Lakers in every game of this series.
Actually, Denver has kicked L.A.'s behind on the offensive glass all three games. Even in Game 1, when the Lakers held the overall rebounding lead 52-46, the Nuggets had 16 offensive rebounds to the Lakers' 11. In Game 2, the Nuggets outrebounded the Lakers 52-48 overall and 19-18 on the offensive end and in Denver's 99-84 Game 3 victory, they dominated the boards 54-44 and 19-13 on the offensive glass.
That's not gonna get it done, but it can see the Lakers done.
Another problem was 3-point shooting. The Lakers haven't been very good at it for a few years now, but they keep taking them, even when they're not falling. On Friday, the Lakers shot 25 3-pointers; they made 6. The biggest culprit was Kobe Bryant, who took 10 by himself. While he made 3, half of all the ones the Lakers made, it was the other 7 that were the problem.
"A lot of them came in desperation situations with low clock, because (Bynum is) getting double teamed he’s throwing it out on the perimeter and guys are catching the ball with 3-4 seconds left on the (shot) clock and they have to chuck some s--- up," Bryant said. "We got to penetrate and pitch and do other things that create other opportunities for some of our other guys like Matt and Steve and some of these other guys where they’re not just sitting on the 3-point line all game long."
Both Bynum and Lakers coach Mike Brown said that Lakers players could take a step or two in after catching the ball on the 3-point line to take a closer shot, but Brown stressed the importance of staying patient with the 3 to ultimately open things up inside.
Bynum has much more responsibility in the L.A.'s offense this season, so the Lakers' 7-foot center works long and hard before games on his footwork and balance.
He said he had to cut short that pregame preparation Friday night after arriving late to the arena.
''Yesterday we did a little bit of it, but like I said, I got there a little late, so I didn't have as much time as I needed,'' Bynum said.
Asked Saturday how the Nuggets were able to take him out of his game in the first half, Bynum said, ''I took myself out,'' adding he was ''maybe just not ready to play.''
So the Lakers move on to Game 4 and hope to come back to L.A. with a 3-1 lead, where they can finish off the series and get ready to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, who swept the defending champion Dallas Mavericks out of the first round. Oops.