Mike Bresnahan covers the Lakers for The Times and ties up loose ends before all their playoff games. The Lakers lead the Nuggets, 3-2.
Rarely am I stunned by the Lakers.
I'm the lucky guy whose first year on the beat was when Coach Rudy Tomjanovich resigned halfway through the season and the Lakers went 2-19 down the stretch, failing to make the playoffs for only the fifth time in 58 years. Oh, yeah. They also finished behind the Clippers in the standings.
But I was pretty surprised to realize Pau Gasol had only seven points with four minutes left in Game 5 against Denver. He finished with nine.
I figured he never scored so few points in a playoff game. I was wrong. He had eight against New Orleans last season … twice.
Put Gasol atop the list of Lakers who need to show up tonight against Denver.
Q&A of the day
Q: I will try very hard NOT to blame Kobe. But not only did he miss two three-point tries at the end, he missed an eight- to-10-foot bank shot that would've tied the score. But like I said, I won't blame Kobe.
—Geno, Los Angeles
A: Not sure that's a question. But also not sure how he could be blamed. Scored 43 points. I prefer to blame …see above item.
I couldn't be any sadder to be in Denver, especially with my kickball team's season finale tonight in Manhattan Beach. Yep. Kickball. Sigh.
I should really pick against the Lakers, especially knowing that Bryant has intestinal flu-like symptoms, but I'm sticking with my own, ahem, gut feeling.
I will sleep Saturday night in Oklahoma City, not Los Angeles.
The pick: Lakers.
Bresnahan's record: 4-1.