The Los Angeles Lakers finally scored a Game 1 win in this year’s playoffs, as they secure a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. It was a pretty comfortable 126-114 win, too.
But if there’s one thing we know about the Denver Nuggets, it’ that there’s no series lead they can’t overcome.
Catch Game 2 on Monday, September 21, at 7:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #1 Los Angeles Lakers (1-0)
The Lakers made sure that they got the first step this time around in the playoffs, as they won Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals series against Denver, 126-114.
The Lakers put on a show from beginning to end, not giving Denver much of a chance to stage a patented comeback. Anthony Davis spearheaded the Lakers with 37 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. LeBron James, on the other hand, scored just 15 points, but recorded 15 assists and six rebounds. The Lakers’ frontcourt advantage was on full display in Game 1.
Apart from Davis, Dwight Howard also dusted himself off after getting shelved in the second round against the series and scored 13 points with two blocks in Game 1.
Howard is way past his prime, but he can be relied on to provide quality minutes in defending Nikola Jokic and providing bonus points on the other end of the floor.
Playoff Rondo is apparently still a thing, too. Rajon Rondo, who had seven points and nine assists off the bench in the series opener, keeps the Lakers’ offense stabilized even with James is resting.
For what it’s worth, James said expressed his disappointment over the results of the NBA MVP voting, and he could use that as fuel to torch the Nuggets in this series.
ROAD TEAM: #3 Denver Nuggets (0-1)
Being down 1-0 in a series shouldn’t at all faze the Nuggets, who had to survive back-to-back 3-1 series deficits to get to where they are now. The Nuggets couldn’t get much going for them in Game 1, as momentum was hard to come by due to the number of fouls called on them.
Jokic finished the game with 21 points and five fouls and constantly had to visit the bench because of foul trouble. Jamal Murray also had 21 points but was saddled with four personal fouls.
The key for the Nuggets isn’t just foul management, but contribution from their supporting cast. Paul Millsap played like a 75-year-old in Game 1, coming up with just five points, while Gary Harris was a major disappointment with just five points as well.
At least defensively, Millsap and Mason Plumlee have to make their presence felt more to keep the pressure away from Jokic. The Nuggets are also looking to rediscover their outside shooting after going just 9-of-26 from deep in Game 1. They buried at least 12 3-pointers in each of their last three games in the second round.
The Lakers press harder on the gas pedal and establish an early lead. Anthony Davis gets 30 points, while LeBron James records 20 points on a triple-double night. The Lakers win Game 2, 118-110.