Preview: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 5– Western Conference Finals — September 27, 2020
After the Miami Heat failed to close out the Eastern Conference finals series on Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers now have a chance to become the first team to reach the NBA finals, as they take on the Denver Nuggets in Game 5.
The Nuggets, however, have proven themselves to be tough to kill in elimination games. Catch this game live on September 27 at 9 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: #1 Los Angeles Lakers (3-1)
The Lakers might have to overcome the absence of Anthony Davis to beat Denver in Game 5. Davis hurt his ankle in Game 4’s 114-108 win, and while he was able to play through it and score 34 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field in the process, it appears that the injury is severe enough to make him questionable for Game 5.
Here is the full injury report pic.twitter.com/j25v1Ll601— Playoff Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 25, 2020
If he does miss the game, the Lakers will have to roll likely with Dwight Howard soaking up most of Davis’ minutes.
Howard actually was given a spot start by Frank Vogel in Game 4, and he rewarded his coach’s trust by coming away with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
But at the end of the day, it’s going to be LeBron James, who’s going to take the Lakers over the hump. James, who had 26 points, eight assists, and nine rebounds in Game 4, will have to be more assertive if Davis gets ruled out.
In any case, the Lakers have to be better on their outside shooting, as they’ve made just 25.6% of their 3-point shots over the last two games.
ROAD TEAM: #3 Denver Nuggets (1-3)
If there’s one thing we know for sure about the Nuggets, it’s that a 3-1 series deficit isn’t too daunting for them.
It’s a high-pressure situation, but having survived that predicament twice in the playoffs, who’s to say they can’t do it again?
But against the Lakers, that would require an all-hands on deck approach, something that Denver head coach Mike Malone is hoping Nuggets players not named Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray will buy in to.
For most of the series, it’s just Murray and Jokic carrying the Nuggets, and while Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr., and Monte Morris are chipping in significant contributions, they’re not doing it as consistently as they should.
Plus, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap have to earn their money in Game 5 after shortchanging the Nuggets with a combined total of eight points (2-8 FG) in Game 4.
With Davis likely out for the Lakers, the Nuggets’ frontcourt and slashers should be able to capitalize on his absence by trying to score more around the basket. The Nuggets are leading all teams in the conference finals with 10.0 points on drives per game even though they are third in drives per contest.
LeBron James takes over in this game with or without Anthony Davis, while Dwight Howard puts up a throwback performance to help the Lakers earn a 113-108 win.