The McTen: Denver tip-in leaves L.A. ticked off
April, 3, 2011
By Dave McMenamin
Here are your 10 additional things to take away from the Lakers' 95-90 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday ...
On Sunday, a crucial play that didn't go his way late in the game made him sick.
Denver center Nene missed the second of two free throws with 11.3 seconds left with a chance to turn a three-point Nuggets lead into a two-possession game. Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin was lined up around the key with Odom between him and the basket and Ron Artest behind him.
Martin pushed Odom under the basket, tipped in the miss and put the game out of reach.
The normally easy-going Odom let his frustration show after the game, first chucking the basketball from one end of the court more than 60 feet towards the opposite basket and hitting a camera mounted on the top of the shot clock and later telling a reporter as he made his way across the locker room, "Second time ... Two times this year ... [Expletive]!"
The first time he was referencing came in the Lakers' Feb. 3 loss to San Antonio when Antonio McDyess lifted the Spurs to victory at the buzzer with a put-back over Odom.
"Me and Ron have been playing basketball together all our life and we didn’t communicate on that last free throw," Odom said. "You’re supposed to squeeze him, man.
"I was so mad at myself..."
Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was mad at the referees, who he felt missed a call against Martin.
"That’s a foul," said Jackson. "He just steamrolled Lamar underneath. But, it wasn’t called and that’s the way the game was being played today."
Not surprisingly, Denver head coach George Karl had his own take on Martin's basket.
"[Martin] beat me with the same tip-in in a playoff game when I was with Milwaukee," Karl said, remembering a first-round series between the Nets and Bucks in 2003. "He just did the exact same thing, pinned Anthony Mason underneath the basket in a free throw situation just like that. It’s a great play."
First, Pau Gasol was fouled by Nene as he rose in the air for a dunk early in the third quarter. Gasol fell to the court hard with his right leg briefly getting stuck underneath him, causing stress on his right knee.
During the ensuing timeout, Gasol got up from the floor with his own two feet and stretched out the knee. He came back in the game to miss a free throw and register a turnover before checking out and heading straight to the locker room with trainer Gary Vitti. He returned to the game several minutes later after having the ligaments in his knee examined.
"It was just a little sore because I jammed my knee pretty good," Gasol said.
He will undergo a MRI on Monday.
"They allowed me to keep playing, so hopefully it will be nothing," Gasol added. "There’s still some swelling in there."
The other panic moment for Lakers fans came in the fourth quarter when Odom fell into Andrew Bynum, causing a flash of pain in his right knee.
"I’m alright," assured Bynum after the game, claiming the injury was nothing new. Bynum was taken out of the game with 7:15 remaining in the fourth quarter and did not return. He said he sat as a precautionary reason.
"I told the team that we beat ourselves, but that’s not quite the story," said Jackson. "Denver I think was very aggressive creating the 20 turnovers that really hurt us in the course of the ball game."
Gasol thought the Nuggets got away with reaching in on a few occasions, but shouldered some of the blame after being responsible for more turnovers (four) than any of his teammates.
"Our detriment was we weren’t careful enough with the ball and they were active enough to get those steals," Gasol said.
"I was concerned about this game," said Jackson. "Any game that is before 3 o’clock in the afternoon is difficult for us. We just have guys that don’t seem to respond well in the morning and the early afternoon."
"He’s not going to sugarcoat anything. After when we won our second championship [in 2001], we came in right before we had the parade and we’re all sitting around and he’s talking about us not making fundamentally correct chest passes. And he was serious. We all just started laughing and he couldn’t understand why we were laughing. That’s just Tex."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.