Lakers Show Who’s Boss in Game 1 Win Over Nuggets

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Photo by Mark J. Terrill or Associated Press

Anthony Davis (3) scans the court for any open shot while guarded by Nikola Jokic (15)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL– Unlike their other Game 1s, the Lakers won and won in dominating fashion. Behind Anthony Davis’ 37 points, the Los Angeles Lakers blew past the Denver Nuggets 126-114. The Lakers registering 126 points is the highest total points for the Lakers since they’re Game 5 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on August 29th.

If the first quarter was any indication, this game was headed towards a thrilling finish. Through the brilliant play of center Nikola Jokic and guard Jamal Murray, Denver led throughout the first quarter and commanded a 38-36 lead at the end of 1. The high scoring first quarter reflects the offensive prowess that both of the teams possess. An example of that offensive prowess came in the form of Anthony Davis, as he scored a whopping 14 points in the first quarter. With a performance like that, it’s clear Davis is out to prove something.

While the first quarter was very close, the second quarter was a complete flip of the script. The Lakers outscored the Nuggets 34-21 in the second quarter, making the score at halftime 70-59 Lakers. Fittingly, while Davis was the star of the first quarter, LeBron James decided to join in on the action and dropped 13 points in the 2nd quarter. The Lakers as a team played well in the second quarter on both ends of the floor. While they shot 42% from the field, even more, impressive was their defensive ability to hold the Nuggets to 38% shooting. Once again, the Lakers prove their the best defensive team left in the Bubble.

LeBron throws down the ferocious dunk on the Nuggets to put an exclamation point (Photo by Mark J. Terrill of Associated Press)

The Lakers added some distance between them and the Nuggets in the 3rd quarter. Holding the Nuggets to 20 points and a staggering 36% shooting, the Lakers also padded on some offensive firepower. The Lakers impressively shot 60% from the field and registered 33 points all in the 3rd quarter. Despite LeBron James not tallying a single point in the 3rd, James still maintained efficiency by tossing 6 assists and totaling a +/- of 10. On the other hand, Anthony Davis exploded for 16 points in the 3rd quarter alone. More production like that from Davis and the Lakers can book their tickets to the finals.

With the score being 79-103, there was little to play for in the 4th quarter. With plenty of garbage time remaining, the Nuggets took much of the 4th quarter trying to make the game look respectable. The Nuggets put up 35 in the 4th quarter, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficit. Despite only putting up 23 points, LeBron & Co. still won 126-114 and still achieved the 1-0 series lead.

Nikola Jokic (15) keeps his eyes up court while being guarded by Anthony Davis (Photo by Mike Ehrmann of Getty Images)

This is about as encouraging of a win for the Lakers. LeBron only put up 15 points, and the Lakers still won by 12 while also leading by 24 heading into the 4th quarter. On top of that, the Lakers had 5 different players score in double figures. Outside of LeBron & AD, the Lakers received crucial production from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Dwight Howard. So not only did LeBron & AD shine, but the Lakers also got huge numbers from the bench. With a performance like that from the bench, the Lakers don’t need a “third guy” to win a championship.

Along with the offensive wizardry, the Laker’s defense posted another strong performance. They were able to limit Jokic & Murray and kept the Denver bench in check. If Game 1 was any indication, the Lakers have the capability of putting their feet on the Nuggets’ neck and pressing down hard. The Nuggets didn’t look very well matched against the Lakers, but they have proven throughout the Bubble to never count them out. They’ve come back from two 3-1 deficits and have the makings to do it again. Can the Lakers squish any gleam of hope? Game 2 shall tell us more; scheduled for 9/20 at 6 pm on TNT.