So first off, this series is far from over. You remember the Nuggets basically beat themselves in games 1 and 3. Last night I'll admit the Lakers looked like the better team, in one quarter. It just happened to be the 4th quarter. Lets look at an interesting stat, going into game 5 the Nuggets had won 14 of 16 quarters in the series and it was still 2-2. Even after last night they've won 14 of 17 if you don't count the 1st, 2nd or 3rd in which they were tied. This series has been a great series between 2 incredibly balanced teams.
The Nuggets have the edge on the perimiter easy, the Lakers have the edge on the inside easy. It should make for a great game 6 which I'll be at!!!
Either way, the officiating has been horrendous for both teams. Not just the Nuggets as Ken Berger's article proclaims. I'm a Nuggets fan and yes we got the raw deal on MANY foul calls last night but I can also admit the Lakers had some questionable calls against them in game 4. It goes both ways, seems to always favor the home team. That's playoff basketball. My only complaint is that they need to be consistent with what is a foul and what is not. Like Phil Jackson said after game 4, they were getting knocked around with no calls in the first half but in the second half they were calling tic tac fouls all over. It's been like that in every game. They let them play early and then call the tic tac fouls in the 4th.
Even if they could reverse that I'd be more satisfied. The 4th quarter of a Western Conference final should be played rough and tough and the Refs should allow it. None of these oh Kobe got touched on his elbow 30 feet from the basket lets call a foul. They need to let them play in the 4th so the teams can settle it amongst themselves.
THE OFFICIATING DID NOT COST THE NUGGETS THE GAME LAST NIGHT (coming from an obvious Nuggets fan) But it certainly didn't help as was the case for the Lakers in game 4. In both instances where the coach complained about the fouls their teams respectively were outplayed. The officiating was horrible but in the last 2 games the team that deserved to win won. Any Arguments??
Back to game 6, which the Nuggets have to win to force game 7. Carmelo Anthony needs to have a good night both shooting and defensively. He knows they'll double and triple him so as long as his outlet passes are on point that should be a huge boost. Also has anybody noticed the GREAT offensive play from Linas Kleiza?? Why isn't he seeing more minutes George Karl?? You'd rather have Anthony Carter out there?? Carter is a good productive backup point guard but he's too prone to turnovers and is a liability on defense. I know that sounds weird to say because that's one of his biggest strengths but in this series he's been on Kobe Bryant mostly when he's in which is a HUGE mistake. Carter cannot keep up with Kobe, in fact he doesn't match up well in this series at all. Kleiza does because he has size and runs the floor very well for a forward. Give him more minutes. J.R. Smith has got to have a big game as well.
With my first point in this article about the Nuggets winning all but 3 quarters and tying in 3 others they have proven they can beat the Lakers. They are the better TEAM in this series. Lakers fans will hate me for saying that but it's the truth. If you take away Kobe and Carmelo the Nuggets win this series in 5 games. They've already shown they can beat the Lakers when 'Melo has an off night. They're more balanced and can run the floor better. They as a team just need to closeout better, if that happens as it did in games 2 and 4 the Nuggets have a good chance of taking this series in 7. It's going to be very tough, but it's still possible. All it takes is some key possessions in the fourth and confidence which these Nuggets have plenty of.