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Lakers miss a prime opportunity to close out series

May 09, 2012|By Mark Medina

Among the highlights on my breakdown of the Lakers' 102-99 Game 5 loss Tuesday to the Denver Nuggets

  • The Lakers missed a huge opportunity in closing out the series. They would've gotten three days of rest before playing the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals. Instead, the Lakers needlessly gave the Nuggets confidence and face a steeper challenge in closing the series out Thursday at Denver.
  • Kobe Bryant almost willed the Lakers to a win by scoring 43 points and proving largely instrumental in mounting a fourth-quarter comeback. But it fell short. That hardly puts much blame on Bryant. The Lakers frankly didn't deserve the luxury of Bryant bailing them out after playing with little energy and shooting only 38.9% from the field.
  • Andrew Bynum proved to be a disappointment. After proclaiming that close-out games are easy so long as teams get an early lead, the Lakers' center hardly ensured making that happen. His 16 points on five-of-eight shooting and 11 rebounds may look good on paper. But on the court, Bynum looked horrible. He lacked aggressiveness and patience playing through double teams. Bynum appeared so lazy on defense that he allowed JaVale McGee to post 21 points and look like Blake Griffin.
  • Pau Gasol was also ineffective with his mid-range jumper failing to fall. When his shot isn't going in, Gasol needs to show more aggressiveness.
  • Matt Barnes needs to stop shooting three-pointers. It doesn't matter if Mike Brown is giving him the green light. He's shot two-of-20 from three-point range and there's very little sign that will change. Despite a sprained right ankle, Barnes has remained effective cutting to the basket and setting teammates up. He should simply stick with what works in the time being.
  • If the Lakers pull this kind of effort against the Thunder, they're going to get blown out by double-digit margins. Simple as that.

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com. Follow the Lakers blog on Twitter.

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