It’s Game 7. Do or die. Win or go home. Metta World Peace is back from his seven game suspension. Should the Nuggets invest in some football pads? Or should they just take a “Get out of his way!” approach? Either way, the Nuggets know they are going to have their hands full with a fired up World Peace going into this game.
If the Lakers for some reason still weren’t fired up enough, a couple of public statements definitely did the trick. The first was from former Laker Magic Johnson, who stated that if the Lakers lose Game 7, Mike Brown, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol would all be given the boot. That’s bold, Magic. Mike Brown has been erratic as a coach during the season, and Gasol and Bynum were big reasons why the Lakers lost Game 6. So I understand your frustration, Magic, I really do.
The second public statement before Game 7 came from Kobe Bryant:
“He’s (Metta World Peace) the one guy that I can rely on night in and night out to compete and play hard and play with that sense of urgency and play with no fear. So, I’m looking forward to having that by my side again.”
C’mon, Kobe. So you’re trying to tell me that Darius Morris and Troy Murphy don’t put their blood, sweat, and tears out on the floor night in and night out? Only joking, Darius and Troy! But seriously, Kobe was basically calling out his whole team for not showing up and playing hard. Hey Bynum, grow up! Gasol, should we start calling you “Gasoft”? Step it up!
The Lakers stepped it up indeed. The Lakers stuck to their game plan and took Game 7, winning 96-87. Gasol was definitely not “Gasoft” this game, playing like it was his last game of basketball. He finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 blocks. About half of those boards came on a single play, when he missed a plethora of putpacks, but we won’t hold it against you, Pau. You showed up Saturday night.
It was a balanced attack for LA. Bynum had 16 points, 18 rebounds, and 6 blocks. World Peace kept his elbows out of striking distance, scoring 15 points and playing stifling defense on Andre Miller and Danilo Gallinari, who combined for 2-19 FG. Jeff Hornacek, er…I mean Steve Blake, hit five three pointers off the bench. Ray Allen or Reggie Miller, best shooters ever? No way – I take Steve Blake! Well, for this game at least.
Oh yeah, Mr. Five Rings.
Kobe took a backseat this game, only scoring 17 points, but finished with 8 assists and really got his teammates involved down the stretch. He saw double teams the whole fourth quarter offensively, and did not force the issue.
If Kobe trusts his teammates, doesn’t go into “Kobe mode”, and if guys make their open shots, the Lakers will be in excellent shape going forward.
The Lakers go head to head with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. Should be a competitive, and hopefully elbow-less series. If you know what I mean.