We already knew, from having watched the game with the eyes your deity of preference gave us, that the Lakers' interior defense was an unholy mess. Thanks to the shot-location breakdown provided by the folks at HoopData, we can now quantify the beating they took. Of the Nuggets' 88 shot attempts, 33 were from point-blank range. That's 38% of their total. (In an average game, a typical NBA team gets a bit less than 25% of its looks at the rim.)
It gets worse. The Nuggets converted a full 70% of those up-close shot attempts. Last year, the league average was 61%. This year it's 62%. So beyond allowing the Nuggets to penetrate into the lane early and often, the Lakers did little in the way of rotating, helping out, blocking shots or hip-checking fools into the third row. FAIL grades all around.
Amazingly, most of the Nuggets' point-blank looks were harvested by their wing players. Nene had nine of them and Shelden Williams one, but Carmelo Anthony (11), Ty Lawson (5), Gary Forbes (4 and no, I have no idea who he is either), Al Harrington (2) and J.R. Smith (1) accounted for the rest.
Anyone got Dikembe Mutombo's number? If so, can you pass it along to Mitch Kupchak?
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