Denver: Say hello to Mt. Bynum.
Posted by: SPQR on Apr 29, 2012 - 06:06 PM
“He just destroyed everything we wanted to do on offense. We just couldn’t do what we wanted when he was on the floor. He was the difference when our teams met.”|
No, that wasn’t George Karl talking about Andrew Bynum performance today against the Nuggets.
That was Jerry West talking about the difference between his great Lakers teams and the Celtics that beat them in seven finals. Russell was the defensive stopper who was the difference between victory and defeat. But it could have been a Nugget player or George Karl describing Andrew Bynum’s NBA record tying defensive performance today as he led the Lakers in crushing the Denver Nuggets 103 to 88 and the words would have been just as accurate, the ideal of total defensive destruction just as resonate.
Colorado is known as the Rocky Mountain state, because of the towering peaks of the Rockies that dominate the horizon for miles around. Anyone who has been in Colorado and seen those mountains knows just how huge, how unbelievable intimidating they can be. And today, Denver, in LA, found themselves staring at the most intimidating mountain they have seen all year: Andrew Bynum.
Who can blame them if they for a two and half hours today, they thought they were back in Rocky Mountain state. And it became obvious very early that Mt. Bynum was one peak that the Nuggets were wholly, inadequately prepared to climb.
Coming into the game, Denver felt they could match up with Drew and Pau because they had their double brace of seven footers. But having four seven footers is one thing, to have two seven footers with the talents of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are another. Size doesn’t equal talent or ability and size without talent or ability is like having no size at all. Most especially when you have to go against talent that has size.
This win was engineered like all this teams wins should: With the two seven footers dominating the Denver Nuggets. It was Drew’s defense and rebounding and Pau’s passing looking all the world like a seven foot point guard , and both their very efficient scoring that set a tone for this team that Denver just could not match.
Andrew Bynum had the Lakers first playoff triple double since 1995 when Magic Johnson turned the trick. Drew with his 10 blocks also surpassed The Cap, Abdul Jabbar’s previous LA playoff record of nine blocks with his league tying tenth. Magic and Jabbar. That is some company young Drew is writing records with.
Devin Ebanks was terrific again in lieu of Metta. He may not be as big as Metta, not as strong as Metta, but he moves better, is faster and brings things to the team that Metta can’t.
Jordan Hill continues to be the X factor. And if he can keep this up, there is no telling how valuable he may end up being in this playoff run. Although he does not pass like Lamar, he is giving us Lamar’s rebounding, or more, and his size. And a toughness as well. With Hill, suddenly, we have another huge body in the front court. But right now, it’s a third huge body that can really play and contribute.
Steve Blake once again came through with clutch outside shooting which is of paramount importance to this team because of the way the defenses will stack up inside to take away our biggest edge.
With the play of Ebanks, Blake and Hill, we are getting solid contributions to form an effective bench we really didn’t have for most of the year. It is a welcome addition at this late date. Another welcome addition was the very tight and energetic defense the team played for most of the game. A must if we are to have any chance the next series.
This series is not just something to get through in order to get to the next level; it is one last shot at honing a method, an identity, an ability to learn to impose a style and will on the other team that we will so desperately need in the next series against Oklahoma. It is one last chance to get to where we need to be if we are to get another title this year.
It was good start in all regards. Let’s hope it’s something this team builds on as the games continue and move to Denver.
Mountain climbing can be dangerous, fatal even, if you are not prepared. Many have attacked mountains with confidence, only to disappear in the cold mists, the thin air and unforgiving and dangerous terrain. And today Denver learned that Colorado isn’t the only state that has a very big, very large, very difficult mountain to climb. Denver, say hello to Mt. Bynum and strap on that mountain climbing gear, because it's easy to just disappear up there.