DENVER, CO - MAY 06: JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets is fouled by Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers as Jordan Hill #27 of the Los Angeles Lakers helps defend on the play in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 6, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 92-88 to take a 3-1 lead 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 big question tonight is whether the Nuggets are still ready to compete. They need to win three in a row, two of them on the road, against a team that's beaten them in six out of eight games this year. It's possible the Lakers broke their spirit in Game Four, in which case tonight will be a cakewalk. The first quarter will be more than usually important. The Nugs need things to go well for them early, and if not the game could spiral away from them fast. It's time for the Lake Show's finishing move.
The alcohol... it calls to you. Heed its pleas whenever someone mentions:
- "Closeout game,"
- Arron Afflalo's shooting numbers in this series,
- Those threes Steve Blake and Ramon Sessions made at the end of Game Four,
- Andrew Bogut mistakenly receiving a vote intended for Andrew Bynum in the Most Improved Player race, or
- The Oklahoma City Thunder.
Take it away, gang.