NBA playoffs betting: Denver Nuggets at L.A. Lakers, Game 2
The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t miss the suspended Metta World Peace in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Denver Nuggets. In fact the Lakers played one of their best defensive games of the year without Peace, who is out again tonight. Can Denver bounce back in Game 2? L.A. is a 5-point favorite on WagerWeb.com.
The dominant force in the Lakers’ 103-88 win on Sunday was Andrew Bynum. Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, but Bynum posted the Lakers’ first playoff triple-double in 21 years, and Los Angeles thoroughly controlled the tempo in Game 1. Bynum tied an NBA playoff record with 10 blocks to go along with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Only two other players have hit the double-digit threshold in those three categories in NBA playoff history: Mark Eaton and Hakeem Olajuwon.
While Bynum had the Lakers’ first playoff triple-double since Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA finals, fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol added 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the playoff-tested Lakers, who never trailed while forcing Denver to play Los Angeles’ preferred half-court style. Devin Ebanks got the start for the suspended Peace and had 12 points and five rebounds.
Just how dominant were Bynum and his tall teammates against the NBA’s highest-scoring team? Bynum blocked 11 percent of the Nuggets’ 90 shots, and with 15 total blocks, Lakers swatted one of every six Denver shots. The Nuggets shot 36.7 percent (22-60) in the paint Sunday. It was the first time that Denver shot below 40 percent in the paint this season. During the regular season, the Nuggets shot under 50 percent in the paint nine times, the fewest in the NBA.
The Lakers knew the Nuggets will do anything to get layups, so they denied them as much as possible. Denver averages a league-leading 53 points in the paint per game. They had only 20 in the first half. L.A.’s first heir first priority was to keep Denver point guard Ty Lawson from getting to the basket. That worked beyond their wishes, with Lawson going four minutes into the fourth quarter until he made his first field goal. Nuggets center JaVale McGee shot 0-for-6 from the floor, ended up with as many turnovers (two) as points, grabbed only six rebounds and blocked just one shot. Denver shot an abysmal 35.6 percent from the field overall, the lowest the Nuggets shot all year.