Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol was called out by both his head coach Mike Brown and his teammate Kobe Bryant after his embarrassing performance as he scored three points in the Lakers loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center by a margin of 113-96 Thursday night. The coach and the All-Star guard said that to keep their season alive, the big man would have to pickup his game big time. The forward who helped Los Angeles win two NBA Titles and play in three straight NBA Finals, did exactly what was asked of him as he racked up a double-double including 23 points and a game high 17 rebounds.
Gasol knocked down eight of those points during the final period and helped the Lakers beat the Nuggets 96-87 at the Staples Center Saturday night, winning the match-up 4-3. Los Angeles also had Metta World Peace on the roster for the first time in the Post Season after he finished serving a seven game suspension.The victory sends the Lakers to the next round of the Playoffs as they will take on the Oklahoma City Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-final round.
Denver would hold the upper-hand in the second period for a short time and although they tied the score many times in the second half, they would never be ahead of the home team. Al Harrington and Ty Lawson both scored 24 points in the loss for the Nuggets, who were trying to rebound from a 3-1 deficit in the other team’s floor in the contest.
The two opponents exchanged the lead frequently throughout the opening period. Both teams came up dry for most of the last few minutes of play, however the Lakers would be on top 25-24 at the end of the quarter. Los Angeles broke out early in the second, however the Nuggets were back on their heels as they would cut the home team’s edge top just two points. Denver could not get any closer however and the Lakers walked into the locker room at the half holding a 48-42 advantage at the half.
The Lakers would go on top by double-figures early in the third, but it would be at that point that Denver point guard Ty Lawson took over the contest; knocking down 13 points and cutting the Nuggets deficit to a single point as the third concluded with Los Angeles on top 69-68. Although Denver would knot up the score a few time in the fourth; they never could get back the lead and Los Angeles won the match-up. The Lakers will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder in game one of their series on Monday night.