Anthony Davis was clearly not happy about losing Game 3.
He started things off for the Los Angeles Lakers by scoring 14 points on perfect shooting with a mix of jumpers and drives to the basket. He scored the first six buckets for the Lakers.
Dwight Howard, who got his first starting spot in the playoffs, also had a throwback performance as he grabbed an astounding eight rebounds in the first 12 minutes, keeping a lot of Lakers possessions alive and also contributing eight points mainly through second chance buckets.
A certain guy named LeBron James also had 10 points in the first quarter.
Jamal Murray worked hard to keep the Denver Nuggets within striking distance, scoring 12 points in the quarter, but the high scoring quarter ended 37-30 in LA’s favor.
The Lakers started the second quarter strong, pushing their lead to 12 at one point. The Nuggets went on a run late in the second quarter, though, cutting the deficit to 57-53 with 2:15 left in the period.
The Nuggets shot 59% from the field in the first half, compared to 46.9% for the Lakers, but LA did just a little more in the first half, deservedly leading 60-55 at the break.
Michael Malone needed to figure out a way to get his team to stop giving up so many second chance baskets in the second half.
He didn’t find much of a solution, and the Lakers pushed their lead to 82-71 with 3:35 left in the third quarter. The Nuggets, the pesky kings of the NBA, fought back again with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 87-84 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets briefly cut the lead to one but the Lakers pushed it back to 93-86 with 9:17 left in the game.
The Lakers had a scare when Anthony Davis fell down clutching his ankle with 6:22 left on the clock. With the score at 96-92, they could not afford to lose their best offensive player. He came back into the game after the timeout though and looked to be all right.
The Nuggets, to their credit, didn’t let the Lakers get on any big runs either. With 5:34 left in the game, it was still a 100-96 game in the Lakers’ favor.
James took it upon himself to guard Murray late in the game, which made it harder for the electric guard to score. However, the Nuggets made it 105-103 with 3:28 left.
The Nuggets made it 109-104 with 1:29 left but continued to allow the Lakers to get important offensive rebounds in the closing moments of the game.
The Lakers finished the game with 25 second-chance points, and the Nuggets are not going to win games by allowing opponents to do that. The Nuggets also didn’t score a field goal in the last three minutes of the game.
James had another great game with 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Davis, who had no rebounds in the first half again, got them when they mattered most in the clutch. He finished with 34 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Jamal Murray had 32 points and eight assists for the Nuggets. Jokic had a quieter game with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, as foul trouble stopped him from ever really getting into a rhythm.
And now, the Nuggets are in familiar territory. This Lakers team doesn’t look like one that will give three games away, though.