Los Angeles, CA – It’s all on the line tonight. The young, upstart Denver Nuggets vs the veteran-laden, heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers. It’s an inexperienced team with very few career playoff games under their belts vs a team led by one of the greatest of all time, Kobe Bryant. It’s a Nuggets franchise with zero NBA titles vs a Lakers franchise with 16. Game 7′s are always huge, no matter what sport we are talking about. But tonight’s Game 7 has more than usual at stake. If the Lakers win as most expect, life will go on for both franchises like they always have. Denver will look ahead to next year with a ton of promise and excitement about a team who has so much potential in the next several years. L.A. will move on to the second round to face a loaded Oklahoma City squad in what would be a much anticipated series. But….What happens if the Nuggets spring the upset tonight that would send shock waves throughout the sports world? The potential fallout from one single game could send both franchises in vastly different directions.
Consider a Game 7 Nuggets win. They would then move on to face the Thunder in a rematch of last years first round playoff matchup in which Oklahoma City won. But, on a bigger scale, consider the changes that could happen if Denver wins tonight. Ty Lawson opened a lot of people’s eyes around the NBA with his performance in Game 6. He erupted with a huge game, and although not big in stature, his play at times can be enormous. If he does the same tonight, and carries Denver to an upset win, this guy could be a nationwide NBA star overnight. How about if Andre Miller and JaVale McGee get back to game-changing alley-oops that ends up sending the Lakers home? JaVale is already going to command a pay raise this summer, but a monster Game 7 would add even more to his upcoming contract numbers. Nuggets fans already love Andre Miller, but a difference-making performance tonight would only add to an outcry to bring this soon-to-be free agent back next year.
On the other side of things, imagine the mess in L.A. if the Lakers lose Game 7. Coach Mike Brown is in his first season after taking over for Phil Jackson. When he was hired last summer, rumors surfaced that Kobe Bryant was not a big fan of the hire. I believe with a loss tonight, Brown would instantly be tossed onto the hot seat and could be fired. A first round ousting is not what the Lakers are used to, and he would be one of the guys that would be blamed. The other two that have simply been M.I.A. as of late are Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. It sure looks like they both thought the series was over after Game 4, as neither have done squat since. During this season, both were rumored to have been on the trade block, and a Game 7 loss tonight would only fire up those rumors again. I could see a potential Bynum for Dwight Howard deal being resurrected this summer for sure. During his time in L.A., Gasol has been criticized many times for not being tough enough in the paint. If he gets outplayed again by McGee and Faried, he could be sent packing this summer. In other words, if L.A. loses tonight, anyone who despises the Lakers will have a heyday witnessing the turmoil in the coming weeks.
1 game, 2 franchises with very different histories. When a turning point has occurred for various teams in various sports throughout history, one game can usually be looked at as the game when it all started. The game when such and such franchise turned that corner and it was then when they became big-time winners and championship contenders. Tonight can be that game for our Denver Nuggets. Tonight can be where it all begins. Years from now, Nuggets fans can look back at Game 7 against the Lakers in May of 2012 as the turning point……5-12-12……”Nuggets stun Lakers in Game 7″……
Denver Sports by J Simp