The Denver Nuggets started hot, stayed hot and left the Los Angeles Lakers in a smoldering rubble as they destroyed LA 113-96 at the Pepsi Center to force a Game 7. Point guard Ty Lawson has been working well in tandem with veteran PG Andre Miller for most of the series, but on Thursday night he turned in the best playoff performance of his young career. His ability to push the pace and get the Nuggets into transition helped create an early 13-0 lead that left the Lakers on their heels, and his game-high 32 points on a sparkling 13-18 shooting helped Denver seal the deal.
Over at SB Nation's Nuggets blog, Denver Stiffs, Nate Timmons broke down the impressive win from a multitude of angles. Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried received plenty of praise for their efforts, and Kobe Bryant certainly did his best to keep the Lakers in the game with 31 points on 13-23 shooting, but Andrew Bynum and Ty Lawson were at the center of all the most important action of the night. Here's what Timmons had to say, in part:
- Andrew Bynum put up another meaningless double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds (and 4 blocks). His 4-11 performance really shined through with his zombie like bench performance where he failed to even enter the team huddle during the game ... what a great teammate!
- Lawson - wow. Just wow. I don't think we can expect another shooting night like this from Lawson, but he was doing all of his damage from the perimeter tonight ... well most of it. Lawson was 5-6 from deep and just had his way with the Lakers. He showed why being a duel threat is important in the NBA ... he can play at the rim and is getting more and more confidence on the perimeter.
The winner-takes-all Game 7 is set for Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. If the Nuggets play anything like they did on Thursday night, the Lakers will be watching the rest of the 2012 NBA Playoffs from home.