Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  59 responses

The Post Up: Nuggets Victorious

Thanks to the magnificent Melo.

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

Okay, so I didn’t get a Lakers victory, but I did get a good game. A frustrating game for Kobe, but a great game that was close down the stretch. Now we’ve got our WCF tied at 1-1 and the Cavs looking to tie things up tonight.

I wasn’t expecting it to be easy for the Lakers, not with the way Denver has been rolling and certainly not with the way that the Lakers have played in the Playoffs so far this season, but man, Denver looks good. An Ariza steal and some key Kobe free throws away from going back to Denver up 2-0. It really was that close. Of course, we could say the same for LA, but really, they are supposed to be the team up 2-0.

Liked hearing Kobe say they owe them one in Denver and that this is why they are the best road team in the NBA. It’s certainly not going to be an easy task in Denver where the crowd has been waiting since 1985 (the year I was BORN!), for a conference finals series. That’s pretty crazy.

Loved seeing Ariza score 20 points on 6-7 shooting. Didn’t love seeing Melo score 34 points to go with 9 rebounds. Actually, I can’t hate and say I didn’t enjoy seeing Melo play so well. He’s not a Laker, but it’s fun seeing the pieces fall into place and marveling at just how effortless Melo is making it look right now on the offensive end of the court.

Also didn’t love Nene poking the ball away from Kobe in the final seconds to force a jump ball. Sloppy handle last night for Mr. Bryant.

Watching the battle between he and Kobe is a gift, as well. The defense Melo was playing on Kobe in the fourth couldn’t get much tighter and then Kobe rises and drains a three. That was perfection. Honestly, Melo was tapping Kobe on the forehead, grazing his face with his hand. Kobe doesn’t even blink, just sees the basket and then the bail sailing through.

Melo and his team was just a little closer to perfection for the full 48 minutes, though.

Nice seeing JR step in for the charge and 4th foul on Kobe in the fourth. Great sign for Denver to have Linas Kleiza come in and score 16 points in his 21 minutes.

Not nice to see Derek Fisher go back into his shooting slump after appearing to shake himself free of it in Game 1. Fish was just 1-9 in the game. Maybe we need more Shannon Brown, who seemed to provide a boost in his 16 minutes of burn.

I really don’t think we can say enough about the addition of Billups to this Denver team. Everyone just seems to believe more, want it more and be willing to do more to make it happen. Game 3 in Denver, who’ve you got?

Now we get to go back to Cleveland tonight where I’m expecting a big game from LeBron. It’s pretty ridiculous that after a 49-point performance in Game 1, I’m actually thinking he’s going to have an even bigger game tonight. Just shows how ridiculously crazy good he is. I’d like to see a big night from Delonte West for the Cavs. I’d also like to see a big night from Mickael Pietrus.

A friend was teasing me yesterday about my love for the guys who aren’t stars. What can I say, I love the underdog and I love a good story. While it’s amazing to see the superstars continue to add to their legacies, is there anything better than watching someone beat the odds and shock the world? I don’t think so.

Okay, I’m going with Orlando again tonight. Yikes! I know, I can’t help but root for SVG and his craziness.

And just a thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes yesterday. Very much appreciated, I definitely felt the love.

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  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Holly, if there was one person I felt bad for with the Lakers losing last night was you, on your birthday. I think the Cavs will win a close one tonight with Lebron putting up about 34-10-14. It should be a great game.

  • http://www.markyfbaby.tumblr.com MFBABY

    lakers lost cause DRAKE was courtside hahahaahahahahaaha

  • MattM

    I definitely got the Nugs in game three. I am not a Kobe fan and I was amazed by the 3s he hit. I gotta say I love Melo dominating. On the Cavs-Orlando game I’m saying Orlando gets smoked.

  • AlbertBarr

    I think the Lakers will steal game 3…Kobe will be other wordly…or his team will stink it up and we will finally start hammering the nails…

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    actually Holly, the replay shows Kobe lost the dribble before Nene even got there, prior to that jumpball. he was sloppy on a few plays in the 4t.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    “Maybe” they need more Shannon Brown, she states! Understatement of the day.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ BETCATS

    The Nuggets still havent played their best

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Kobe was just jittering thinking about the fun he is going to have going back to his old stomping grounds in Colorado.

  • Peter

    Its funny how Melo shot 12-29 and everyone is saying how much he dominated (which I don’t disagree with by the way)…but I can’t help think that if Kobe shot the same it would come with the “selfish/but he took 29 shots to get there” backlash

  • Statik

    I take Denver in game 3, simply if they can do this good on the road and keep it close they will be that much better with their crowd backing them up…and btw as far as Melo’s hand in Kobe’s face, Kobe’s been known to flat out have guys kiss his palm when playing D like that, so tit for tat I guess

  • BBallrehab

    I’ve always said the key factor here is Pau Gasol and the fact he’s a little overrated; granted he’s a good player, with nice moves and court vision for his height, but he’s too damned soft to come out alive when it gets physical. Look at his scoring average, 5 points less than in the previous rounds. He is a decent player till he has great defenders in front of him. In the first round, Utah players couldn’t play defense to save their lifes, there was literally no one in front of him in the Houston series, but Nene and KMart is a different story.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Young Chris MP3

    This really, to me, just shows how good Kobe is. The Lakers are a team made up of one bonafied superstar, two all-star talents who always seem to choke under pressure, and a bunch of role players whose ceilings are limited. Because of this, I believe what Kobe has done with The Lakers keeps him ahead of Lebron.

  • Tommy Patron

    Fisher is now washed-up.

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Young chris: You’re making it sound like kobe is in a situation like vince in jersey. Not even close. Look, pau had an okay game. He had 17 boards tonight. He just can’t get as many points because k-mart and nene are beasts down there. The reason lamar lost his mojo is because of Bynum. I really believe the lakers are a better team without bynum and without lamar looking over his shoulder all the time. kobe is not ahead of lebron. I think lebron sealed that debate sometime back in december. Let’s not forget that it was kobe who lost the ball on the last possession, that’s why it ended up in a jumpball.

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    @ Peter: well, in game 1, it was Kobe who shot a bad percentage but he still got credit for putting up 1 more than melo

  • Michael

    It pains me to say but i’m having a hard time believing the lakers can win one of these games in Denver. Denver is just playing so well at home.

    Phil cost the Lakers that game last night. Bynum presence is what makes the Lakers a better team than Denver. When he was on the floor the Lakers were killing the Nuggets, the moment Phil took him out of the game Denver made that run. Then Phil didn’t play him at all in the second half. When Andrew is on the floor Denver has to gaurd him, which means they can no longer double Pau which means the Lakers can run the offense. With Andrew on the bench they are pushibng Pau out of the post and forcing the Lakers to become a jump shooting team.

  • http://jakeandamir.com tealish

    Actually MeloMan, Kobe shot over 46% in Gm1 which was right at his season average. I wouldn’t call that a bad percentage. And no, he didn’t get more credit than Melo. Your guy was the one who people talked about this being his coming out party. I guess that’s why you call yourself MeloMan…

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Michael: Bynum is the reason why the lakers suck so bad in the playoffs. They are a better team without him. They move the ball better, Pau is free to roam in the paint and lamar knows he’s important. Bynum coming back just messes everything up. Remember about a decade ago how ewing would come back and you knew the knicks would lose the series. Same thing here, you can’t explain why they are better without Bynum but they are. The way denver is playing right now, i don’t think anybody would want to play them.

  • Michael

    When Bynum was on the floor the Lakers killed the nuggets. he frees up Pau from the double teams Denver is throwing at him. And he stops all those easy layups that Kenyon was getting.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Melo is that real sh1t

  • http://www.showmeyourwits.com showmeyourwits

    The real problem is Fish. Phil put him in for “veteran leadership” in a tight situation and he just didn’t get it done. I counted several times where he just made terrible decisions in the 4th. There was a time where the lakers all went for a crucial rebound and he tapped it away from every laker right back to denver. I’m not even going to mention that most of his missed shots were layups. Create some contact man! Even on the last shot he could have leaned into Nene and shot 3 from the line. I honestly feel like he and shannon brown switched bodies cause Fish is playing like a throw-in. LOVE Melo going off night in and night out. If the Lakers lose, i’ll love seeing him work the Cavs.

  • James the balla

    Derrick Fisher = top 3 point guards in NBA yeaaaaaah! Stop critizcicsing him!!!1111111

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Raeed wat I wrott abuv!
    Thet meanss youu Jukai n Aboy11!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    I em aa staarrr in bakketball! I plzays in Kannada for Brritishh Collumbeea provins teamm!111 I cen’t evn hit free trhows but I thinck im gud! JAmes is a baller in bakketball!1

  • breeze

    its so funny ya see one game and its like hes teh best or hes wack…only consistency can show you how good somebody is..and melo is good but he havent played liek this all year…and @cb 34 what did lerbon show kobe in december please let me know..

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    It’s May now.

  • niQ

    Happy Belated Birthday!~

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    breeze: What i’m saying is lbj had the mvp on lockdown since december. Kobe’s a great player don’t get me wrong, but he’s not the same kobe anymore. I know kobe fans are loyal as they should be, but you gotta call a spade a spade man. This is precisely why i want a cavs/lakers finals, to finally put the debate of who’s better to rest.Will you admit bron is the best after he finishes the lakers in june? I know it’s hard to accept someone’s better than kobe but it’s how it works. Lebron will keep on improving and kb’s game will be on the decline. You can’t fight the process man!!!

  • bakers’ dozen

    I hate Kobe playing in Denver. He always seems to light up the arena with an otherworldly performance. I think it’s his favorite place to play…probably because afterwords he can go pick up chicks in Eagle. BUt I digress, Denver has yet to play at their level, but I don’t think the Lakers have yet, either. ON their home court, even with Kobe hitting crap he pulls from his bootie, I see Denver taking game 3 pretty solidly…15 or so. Game 4 on teh otherhand…let’s wait and get there, first.

  • breeze

    nbk….you cant recieve one achievemant and you better than someone..its obvious kobe cant score and do so much it will cause him to lose…lebron showed you game 1 that when you do so much you lose….kobe can average 30 or 35 again if he wanted to believe that…when mamba scored 81 i didnt say hes better than jordan ..i know he had long way to go kid…lebron hasnt been thru enough…please …and you dont wanna say june cause lebron doesnt play good against kobe…go back and look at the season games

  • breeze

    thats too cb 34

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Yeah kobe can get his 35 a night but so can lebron if he wanted to. If we work on that premise, then both of them are averaging 35, then who’s got the advantage in rebounding and assists? Who’s the better defender? Cmon man! Last year the debate was real. This year it was a foregone conclusion. And Kobe ain’t won a thing either since his SHAQ RINGS. He’s 0 for 2 since. And both times kobe was in the finals against detroit and boston his team was stacked. Both times!

  • breeze

    who the better defender? KOBE of course.. and lebron can never average 35 points ….please kobe did it already do your home work…and he has alot of accolades after shaw chck points check 9 straight first team all defense …relax

  • http://vnsny.org Spaceship Jay

    cb 34′s got a point. But I do want to see Anti-Mike get one without Shaq, just because Shaq is a straight FRANCHISE BUSTING JERK. If Anti-Mike gets one, Shaq and his leigon of fellows-that-deeply-hate-Kobe (that means you!), will have nothing to say but how much he cheated. And no one will care.

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    You seriously think kobe is currently a better defender than lebron? Kobe was a better defender when bron just entered the league but his game has dipped and i don’t understand why you won’t accept that. We’re talking about now not 4 or 5 years ago but now.Yeah kobe did average 35 and then what happened to their season? That’s right. That’s when your boy started acting up like a 12 year old demanding a trade. You gotta be outta your mind if you honestly think lebron can’t average 35 pts a night if he wanted to. That’s just absurd.

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    And breeze, lebron will be first team all defense for the next ten years. Write that down.

  • http://vnsny.org Spaceship Jay

    Yes, Kobe is a better on-ball defender than LeBron. I can’t believe I needed to type that.

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Spaceship jay: I don’t hate kobe. In fact, i think he will retire as the number 2 shooting guard of all time. That is until wade retires then he’s bumped up to number 3. Lebron’s game is just superior to kobe’s and that’s a fact. Just deal with it because it ain’t gonna change from this point on.

  • breeze

    i know he wouldnt when 41 games liek kobe did on the better west than it is now…please and lebron is still not an on the ball defender..hes great HELP DEFENSE THATS IT….whos he guarding this series NOBODY.

  • breeze

    wade will go down in the same lane as iverson maybe better ..but kobe is in the top ten dead or alive nba history….leron hasnt even entered the clutch part of kobe legacy …

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Why is your definition of defense just on the ball? It’s also passing lanes and help d. Bron can lock down a player if he wanted to. Ask joe johnson.

  • bakers’ dozen

    Travis Knight was SO underrated in his time…

  • breeze

    with that comment you dont know the def of defense ..kobe gets steals and he been blocking before lebron came to the league holmes…kobe plays the best player on the opposite team…i dont need to say anyplayers name ..because hes been doin it since 19 when he was gaurding jordan..no one will agrree with you if you say lebron is a good on the ball defender..and another what happen this season when lerbon played the mamba those 2 guys the better playerwas the victor…

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    I never said bron was a better on ball defender than kobe. Give the edge to kobe there but it’s a slight edge. What i said was bron is a better defender overall and yes i am referring to passing lanes and help defense.

  • breeze

    he hasnt accomplish enough give him time…you an your media and everybody in ohio…are gassing a baloon who havent earned the air yet…he might nt be better than wade..i just cant see it yet…but ya so thrist to get kobe out of here its fool…even jordan said he doesnt deserve this kind of publicity without earning it…hes like grant hill before the injury please..kobe has done it 8 straights season ….without shaq…in a harder confrence…like your man will be the man soon just not now…

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    Dwayne Wade was 1st in blocks among guards, and second in the league in steals. How the @#$% did LeBron get second in Defensive player of the year voting? Because the NBA is shoving LeBron down all of our throats, that’s how. Whenever LeBron does something defensive it’s an instant highlight.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    “Eboy Posted: May.22 at 3:10 pm
    It’s May now. ” Sean May Sean May Sean May Sean May Sean May Sean May Sean May Sean May Sean May

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    @ Tealish: i call myself meloman because im his biggest fan. Problem?

  • Harlem_World

    Chauncy Billups: the best PG in the league RIGHT NOW? He’s a vets vet. If Denver win the title, he should get coach of the year, because it damn sure ain’t karl leading this team.

  • James the balla

    im mad g@y yo!

  • http://slamonline.com James the balla

    Im mad g@y yo!!!

  • Rashaan

    That was a great game. It would be great if Orl vs Den in the finalz. Foil all those nike, vitaminwater, Slam, Nbatv ads n show. Cmon Melo lets get that ‘chip.

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 weezy f. leezy


  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    “James the balla Posted: May.22 at 8:29 pm
    im mad g@y yo!”

    “James the balla Posted: May.22 at 8:30 pm
    Im mad g@y yo!!! ” WTF is this?

  • FoCo

    Hahahaha….ask Joe Johnson??!? Seriously? That’s your illustration of Lebron being a lockdown defender?

    Kobe > Lebron. Period.

    Anyone putting Lebron in the same sentence as Finals better worry about getting past Dwight and company first. Cavs are the weakest team left in the playoffs. They have one superstar, a center who is lucky to play in the East, and a bunch of nobodies. There is a reason they lost all their series in the season to the Lakers, Magic, and Celtics.

  • http://wwe.bbaxn.com Darksaber

    well, Denver just lost. While feeding off the crowd is a nice thing, too much can mess things up. The Denver guards (esp. Billups & Jr) messed up a lot of fastbreaks by going for transition 3′s. All this while Birdman and Kmart were wrecking havoc in the paint. Chauncey seemed especially selfish tonight, chucking up all kinds of contested shots. Then the emotions took over, Dahntay (with some smooth finishes in transition) couldn’t keep up with a brilliantly playing Kob’s (flagrant), KMart bumped Fish into a reaction technical (i say, jolly good provocation, old chap), and JR couldn’t help but get a T for screaming something i assume to have been along the lines of “suck on THAT” at Sasha (who had hit him repeatedly while that play was progressing and even tapped him on the stomach area during the buzzerbeater). Too much emotion involved, and LA kept it’s cool and kept playing excellent inside-out ball. Melo was bumped and defended into submission (admirable job Luke). Denver needs to chill and just execute like they did in LA. And Karl needs to keep Andersen in more. Hey, he did a better job than Nene on both ends of the court.

  • chintao

    Yeah, Darksaber. You know, people have been talking about what a big difference C-Bills has made. In the regular season, I couldn’t deny; however since this series with the Lakers started, his decision-making has been suspect. He has not been close to being the same player he was prior to the playoffs. Is Chauncey on the take? Is that how Stern get’s things done. If so, that’s just rude.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Chintao, relax. He was brilliant against CP3′s hornets in the 1st round, and had a big hand in the Mavs destruction (although he couldn’t dominate the matchup with Kidd). Now he’s playing two of the most physical guards in the nba (Mambiatch & Fish) plus Phil at times sics Ariza on him like a doberman(btw, how versatile is that guy on D? Was he even all second team D? Should be). Plus he’s not the youngest PG out there. Remember, in games 1&2 he had 2 TO’s…. Combined! He just got overwhelmned by the raw energy of his less stable mates (JR, KMart and Dahntay) and got caught up in it. Itchy triggerfinger then took over. He’s fine. Hasn’t played 2 bad games in a row this postseason

  • chintao

    I bow to your superior analysis, Darksaber. Chauncey was flawless in Game 4.