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.
With the defeat, the Lakers ensure they will have to play another game in Staples Center, but they've cost themselves almost nothing. They still had ample opportunity to win a contest they had no business, or interest, in winning. This contest proved two things: Not all 15 point victories are created equal, and you can't win a game in which you play one good quarter if you aren't winning after that quarter.
More to come, this is your postgame thread.