The Denver Nuggets took early control of the series with a win in Game 1. What’s the story going to be in Game 2 this Friday when the Los Angeles Lakers look to even the series up before flying back home for Games 3 and 4?
Catch this game live on Friday, May 19, at 8:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Los Angeles Lakers (0-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- G: D’Angelo Russell
- G: Dennis Schroder
- G: Austin Reaves
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Anthony Davis
The Lakers fell short of completing what would have been a massive comeback in Game 1, as they lost to the Nuggets in the series opener 132-126. However, Los Angeles did manage to come away with a few positive takeaways, including, of course, the incredible performance of Anthony Davis, who showed Denver that he can be just as big of a problem for the Nuggets as Nikola Jokic is to the Lakers. Davis mustered a game-high 40 points on 14/23 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds to go with three assists, three steals, and two blocks.
Meanwhile, LeBron James had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. The Lakers definitely still feel that they can steal a win in Denver before the series shifts to Hollywood, and a big reason for that confidence is the success they’ve had in containing Jokic in the second half of Game 1. They’re not going to shut down the Serbian completely, but the Lakers showed they can slow down the Nuggets’ offense, with Jokic scoring just three points (0/2 FG) in the fourth quarter. The Lakers enter Game 2 with a 16-5 ATS record in their last 21 games after a loss.
Home: Denver Nuggets (1-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jamal Murray (questionable)
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
In Jokic, the Nuggets trust. Sure, the Lakers had some success defending against Jokic in the second half of Game 1, but that’s not going to deter Denver from letting the two-time MVP have the ball most of the time. Jokic still got nearly whatever he wanted in the series opener, finishing with a triple-double of 34 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists. Speaking of rebounding, Denver had 47 boards in Game 1 to just 30 by the Lakers.
The Nuggets shot 54.9 percent from the field in that game and yet pulled down 15 offensive rebounds, while the Lakers only had five. What the Nuggets have is an ultra-efficient offense further fed by great rebounding. So far in the playoffs, the Nuggets have a 54.4REB% and an offensive rating of 120.1 — both figures are No. 1 among teams that reached the postseason. Denver will also look to get ample scoring support from the likes of Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope again. Murray had 31 points last Wednesday, while Caldwell-Pope had 21. The Nuggets are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games.
Spread: The Lakers (+5.5) cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total (227.0) hits the Under.