In an effort to not be a homer, let me first say the Lakers were not winning that game. The intensity, the hustle and namely the unconscious shooting the Nuggets were displaying lead to one outcome: a Laker loss.
The Nuggets needed this game more than the Lakers did. The Lake Show has not shown yet this postseason that they are closers. To win this game would be to seal the door on the Nuggets, and well, that just hasn’t been the Laker M.O. this time around.
The Birdman was an absolute wrecking crew. He was the most jacked up player on the court and he flew around like a condor proving that you can do all the heroin you want if you stop doing it and hustle in the postseason. I especially enjoyed all the children in the crowd giving themselves the Birdman’s patented tattoos and faux-hawk. “When I grow up, I wanna do heroin”. If that’s the case, it’d be cooler to dress up as Sick Boy from Trainspotting, right?
Nene must have been fed the ball underneath the rim two dozen times and like most giant people, a wide open dunk is a high percentage shot.
J.R. Smith even got his ish under control to absolutely scorch the Laker “defense” the entire night, throwing up dagger after dagger.
So before I make a u-turn here, let me make sure everyone from Denver reading this gets it clear: the Nuggets outplayed the Lakers and deserved the win. I am not taking anything away from their win. In fact, it isn’t about if they deserved to win at all, they did.
This is about how they won.
This was amateur hour. The Denver Thuggets, as I prefer to call them now, were not a classy cocktail last night. They were one part 1980s Detroit Pistons, one part UFC fighter, one part 2008 Paul Pierce in the Finals, and at least one part ex-heroin addict.
These guys were doing what they have been critiqued for doing all year long. They were thugs. The thing Chauncey Billups had supposedly brought them, clearly went away. It cost them Game 3 and the home court advantage they had stolen away. This game, it could have cost them dearly again if not for the tremendous hustle and clutch shooting they exhibited all night. They were the better team.
They were also the dirtier team. That says a lot in a game that featured of 80 free throws.
Dahntay Jones had the “puke a little in my mouth” moment of the game. Besides having a first name that is spelled more like a Yoga Studio than the dude when went to the Inferno in classical literature, Dahntay also apparently wishes he played soccer. At one point, he confused Kobe’s ankle for the ball.
Instant replay showed that as Kobe was blowing past Jones, without the ball may I add, Jones felt the need to reach his foot back and trip Kobe. Although Kobe played it cool after the game, we all know what was going on. It was some super dirty behavior. I felt like I was watching Karate Kid. This was Cobra Kai instructing its students to “sweep the leg”. All of this after Jones had an equally cheapskate shove to Kobe’s back the game before.
Combine that with the ridiculous hooting and whooping it up exhibited by J.R. Smith and you have a lot to look forward to for the new 3 game series we have starting tomorrow night in Los Angeles.
I did enjoy when Smith pounded his chest screaming, “not in my effing house”. Clearly he forgot about two days prior where, yes, it was in his house that the Thuggets lost home court advantage. As Phil Jackson said, they did what they needed to do in Denver.
I was personally very, very impressed with the Birdman this game. He embodied what the Thuggets are all about when they are at their best and besides the part where he flapped his wings and did a bird impression, was pretty badass all night.
Douche of the night award goes to Carmelo Anthony though, who has clearly figured out the key to beating the Lakers: playing up an injury. You can’t have it both ways, Melo. If you are hurt, you can’t drive the lane full speed. If you are fine, you shouldn’t work on your limp and grimace at the free throw line.
We will see what happens. The bad blood is officially here. The series has officially begun.