Anthony Carter is known for being a tough, smart veteran point guard, but his two mistakes in the final 30 seconds cost his team a chance to win Game 1 in L.A.
Carter, inserted into the game to inbound with 30 seconds left, lobbed a horrible pass towards Chauncey Billups which was easily stolen by Trevor Ariza.
After the Lakers reset following the steal, Carter found himself matched against Kobe Bryant. For some reason, he reached for the ball and Kobe blew by him to draw a foul.
I have no idea why George Karl played Carter almost the entire fourth quarter. He tried to play small, but Linas Kleiza would have been a better option.
From a Nuggets perspective, the loss was a disappointing end to a fantastic game.
Melo and Kobe went head-to-head, defending each other for much of the game.
Melo finished with an efficient 39 points on 14-20 shooting. He is too big for Kobe and Ariza to handle down low, making him a very difficult guard for the Lakers.
Kobe had to work extremely hard to get his shots, but still scored 40 points. His late free throws clinched the Laker victory.
Neither team played exceptionally well, but both teams played hard and made the game a fun watch.
Denver controlled the game, but struggled from the free throw line and made enough stupid plays down the stretch to lose it.
The Nuggets need more from Chauncey Billups, Nene, and J.R. Smith in Game 2. Billups came alive late in the game, but shot poorly throughout. Nene finished with 13 points and six boards in limited minutes.
Smith scored eight points and suffered a right knee injury as time expired. We’ll have more on that in a bit.
Derek Fisher came to life for the Lakers, hitting some big shots.
Stay tuned for postgame reaction from both coaches, Kobe, and Melo.