Game 2: Nuggets' Resourcefulness Changes Nature Of Series

Nuggets vs. LakersI want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Denver Nuggets, not just for beating the Lakers in the playoffs for the first time in 24 years but for doing so in a way that broke the mold and made this series that much more interesting. ↵
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↵The scouting report on Denver reads like a mantra: Billups keeps things steady; the bigs are active and tough; Melo piles up points; J.R. Smith could go nuts at any moment. Tonight, however, they won without relying on that look: George Karl used a smaller lineup for much of the second half; Anthony once again gave it his all defending Kobe (while still piling up his points); Smith was a non-factor; and Billups, while better than he was Tuesday, had several instances of what Mark Jackson called "almost careless" play. ↵
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↵Why am I so excited about all this? Because ever since Chauncey came to town and the likes of Smith and Chris Andersen emerged as key contributors, this team has pulled off an unlikely yin-yang game that combines total discipline with unfettered frenzy. Denver didn't show much of either tonight, but instead of losing its way or trying to reinvent itself, it just played strong basketball as best it could. And it worked; the Nuggets even fended off a Kobe surge down the stretch. ↵
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↵It's also worth noting that Denver had to change tacks early. Andrew Bynum finally listened to Phil Jackson's urging to "play big," and suddenly it became clear that—attitudes and physiques aside—Bynum, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol have a definite size advantage over the Nuggets. By the end, however, Denver had found a way to overcome that deficit and tangle with a Lakers team that was playing at its best. ↵
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↵The Nuggets might not have been able to play their signature game, but they adjusted on the fly and pulled out a win on the road. That kind of resourcefulness is even more valuable in the long run.
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↵For more NBA coverage, visit SportingNews.com's new NBA blog, The Baseline.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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