The Los Angeles Lakers took a commanding 1-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets after a dominant win in Game 1 in the Western Conference Finals.
Everybody expected the series would be the battle of Los Angeles, most people including me were looking forward to the Western Conference Finals where the Lakers and Clippers will battle it out. Denver were able to go from 3-1 down to win the series in Game 7. Setting up the match up against the Lakers.
In the previous series the Clippers had no answer to Nikola Jokic, but now the Lakers have some bigs that can match up with Jokic, the difference showed in Game 1. Jokic was up against Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and even Javale McGee, sending Jokic to foul trouble for most of the game and restricting thus restricting his production. With Jokic the only formidable big for the Nuggets he will have his hands full in both ends of the floor, on defending Anthony Davis, and the defense of the Lakers bigs.
Jamal Murray was brilliant in the Utah and Clippers series, this time will face the guards of the Lakers which did a great job of containing Damian Lillard, and James Harden in the previous rounds. I think it will be a tough series for Murray this time against the Defense of the Lakers.
The defense was evident for the two key players of the Nuggets as the Lakers were able to contain both of them to just 21 points at the end of the game.
The game started back and forth as each team scored more than 30 points on the first quarter, Jamal Murray was able to hit a 3 point buzzer beater to end the first quarter. With that shot the Nuggets were leading 38-36 at the end of the first quarter.
The Lakers then shifted to another gear in the second quarter, with excellent ball movement and ball sharing they were able to score 34 points in the second quarter. The Lakers also limited the Nuggets to 21 points in the second quarter, one other reason for this was Jokic got into foul trouble early, as he was already tagged with 3 fouls, and sat most of the second quarter. At the half the Lakers were able to drop 70 points on the Nuggets, the score was 70-59.
I said to myself wait, don't count the Nuggets out yet, this happened 3 times against the Clippers, and they managed to stage a comeback and win 3 times. The Lakers will need to play strong until the last seconds to put Denver away.
At the start of the third quarter, Denver tried to mount a comeback, as Murray hit a couple of threes to pull the Nuggets closer. The Lakers were able to turn back the comeback as the Nuggets had no answer to Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo which were all brilliant in the third quarter. The Lakers outscored the Nuggets 33-20 in the third quarter.
In the Fourth Quarter the Nuggets surged and outscored the Lakers 35 to 23, but it wasn't enough as the game ended with the score of 126-114 in favor of the Lakers. Game 2 will be played tomorrow, September 21, 2020.
Anthony Davis - 37 points, 10 rebounds
Kentavious Caldwell Pope - 18 points
LeBron James - 15 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds
Dwight Howard - 13 points, 3 rebounds
Rajon Rondo - 9 points, 7 assists
Nikola Jokic - 21 points, 6 rebounds
Jamal Murray - 21 points, 5 assists
Michael Porter Jr. - 14 points, 10 rebounds
Jerami Grant - 9 points, 4 rebounds
Mason Plumlee - 9 points, 4 rebounds
Final Thoughts and Predictions
The Lakers were sucessfull in exploiting the Nuggets weakness inside with few bigs to match the Lakers. They also shutdown the scoring of Jamal Murray which led to the victory. If this situation continues, I see the Lakers winning again the next game. So with that I will be going for a Game 2 win for the Lakers, additionally they are much more rested than the Nuggets. With the Nuggets playing 2 7 game series before.
How about you who do you think will win Game 2? Let's discuss in the comment section below.