Thursday, April 17, 2008

NBA Playoffs: Lakers v Nuggets

One of the keys to this series will be how the Lakers defend Iverson, who scored 51 on LA in December.  This time, DEN will have to hold him to half of that -- 25 or less per game.  That won't be easy as Iverson scored nearly 100 pts in three games against LA this season.   

Of course, it's not just Iverson who can score.  DEN has not one, but two of the league's top 5 scorers.  Melo is also good for 25/game.  But there's no consistent third scorer.  Kenyon Martin has 22 one night; and just 4 two games later.  JR Smith can score, too.  Not afraid to launch the 3, he had 24 points a week ago vs GS, with half of those coming on 3-pointers.   In two February games, he put up 14 3-pointers, going 16-28 from behind the arc.  That will get a coach's attention.
Keep an eye on Pau Gasol's confidence.  Pau is 0-12 in the postseason.  He could get down on himself if things go south.  LA can't afford that.  On the other hand, if the Lakers can get rolling and Pau gets his confidence up, LA will be tough to stop.