The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped two straight games and now have to win Saturday night's game seven over the Denver Nuggets or face the embarrassment of losing a series they led 3-1.
The Lakers were up 3-1 on Monday, the day before game five and wrapping up the series seemed like a foregone conclusion when Lakers forward Andrew Bynum woke the Nuggets up.
Close-out games are actually kind of easy, Bynum said to reporters after a shoot around. Teams tend to fold if you come out and play hard in the beginning.
While that may technically be true, it was not a smart thing to say and Nuggets coach George Karl has used it to incite his team to back-to-back victories over the Lakers.
It hasn't helped that the Lakers have been terrible over the past two games. Bynum hasn't been the force he was early in the series, Pau Gasol has all but disappeared - he had 3 points on 1-for-10 shooting in game six, and Kobe Bryant is fighting a stomach bug that has sapped his legs.
The Lakers get one piece of good news for game seven. Metta World Peace will return from his seven game suspension after he elbowed James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the head.
If World Peace can bring the physical play he is known for, and slow down the Nuggets scorers, especially Danillo Gallinari, then perhaps the Lakers can survive.
Where to watch: The game can be viewed online at http://nbaliveonline.com/streaming/. It will also be broadcast nationally on TNT at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Prediction: This game has the makings of an absolute Kobe classic. Everything is on the line for the Lakers, and the rest of the roster hasn't gotten it done. This is the time Kobe Bryant does what he does best and wills the Lakers to a nearly single handed victory.
Predicted Score: Los Angeles over Denver 101-99