The writing seemed to be on the wall after the Los Angeles Lakers edged the Denver Nuggets, 92-88, in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series to take a 3-1 lead. That writing seemed to say that the Lakers were moving on.
Not so fast.
"I don't think it's an impossible challenge," Nuggets coach George Karl said after Game 4. "I think it's a great challenge for this young team."
That "young team" has played exceedingly well with its back to the wall as the Lakers have begun to wilt, with neither Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum doing anything to resemble Wilt. Kobe Bryant didn't keep it a secret that he felt his teammates didn't bring the necessary intensity to the Lakers' loss to the Nuggets in Game 6.
The Nuggets enter this winner-take-all tilt at the Staples Center flush with confidence, having won the past two games in the series. Not merely surviving, the Nuggets have been thriving as of late. Fleet-footed point guard Ty Lawson propelled Denver to a decisive 113-96 win in Game 6.
Can the return of Metta World Peace turn the tide for Los Angeles? Or will Karl's young Nuggets group keep surging into the second round?
FOLLOW HERE FOR LIVE UPDATES THROUGHOUT GAME 7:
05/13/2012 2:01 AM EDT
During his postgame remarks, Nuggets coach George Karl told reporters, "I hate Steve Blake tonight, but I love him as a player." The former Terp had a huge game, hitting the shots usually taken by Kobe during long stretches. Blake finished with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
05/13/2012 1:35 AM EDT
Fast Break Points
05/13/2012 1:34 AM EDT
Lakers Team Stats
3-PT Shooting: 11-24
Free Throws: 15-23
05/13/2012 1:32 AM EDT
Nuggets Team Stats
3-PT Shooting: 7-26
Free Throws: 10-14
05/13/2012 1:28 AM EDT
In Case You Were Wondering
@ LisaHorne :
BREAKING....VANESSA BRYANT was at the game waiting for KOBE in tunnel????????????
05/13/2012 1:27 AM EDT
Up Next For L.A.
@ okcthunder :
We're set! Thunder hosts Lakers in Rd 2, Gm 1 Monday 8:30p CT TNT/Thunder Radio. Thunder Alley @ 5:30. Series sched @ http://t.co/wSLawGFm
05/13/2012 1:23 AM EDT
Pau with a tremendous game tonight, scoring 23 while grabbing 17 rebounds. He also had six dimes. Dominant performance after his terrible Game 6.
05/13/2012 1:22 AM EDT
96-87 and that's all folks!
05/13/2012 1:21 AM EDT
McGee jumps the line on his FT and it's waved off.
05/13/2012 1:21 AM EDT
Bynum with a hard foul on McGee in waning moments. He hits first. Kobe is chatting with TNT broadcast team.