Date & Time: Sunday, September 20th, 7:30 PM ET (Monday, 5:00 AM IST)
Venue: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
The LA Lakers were in a rampant mood as they blew away the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. The game started off with both offenses firing over 35 points each in the first quarter.
However, from that point on, the LA Lakers stepped up defensively and the Denver Nuggets had no answer to that. As a result, the LA Lakers go into Game 2 of this encounter high on confidence, and with a 1-0 series lead.
Denver Nuggets Preview
Although a loss to a very strong LA Lakers side isn't something to feel terrible about, what coach Mike Malone would be concerned about is the manner in which the Denver Nuggets lost.
After looking sharp in the first quarter where they scored 38 points, the Nuggets only managed 41 more in the next two quarters combined. They also failed to connect on a number of open 3-point attempts, shooting only 34.7% to the LA Lakers' 42.4%.
At the end of the day, a big reason behind their blowout loss was their inability to break through a resolute LA Lakers defense. The Denver Nuggets could not play their traditional brand of basketball, and were reduced to just the 23 team assists in Game 1. The LA Lakers had 10 more.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
Once again, the Denver Nuggets will bank on big man Nikola Jokic to make the team tick. While Jokic scored a very respectable 21 points on decent 8-14 shooting, the LA Lakers did a great job of restricting him as a facilitator and Jokic only had 2 assists on the night.
The 7'0" Serbian needs to be a little more aggressive, just like he was against the LA Clippers. If he is, the Denver Nuggets would then stand a much greater chance of beating the LA Lakers in Game 2.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
LA Lakers Preview
Coach Frank Vogel would be absolutely delighted with his team's dominant performance in Game 1. Not only did they play an extremely entertaining brand of basketball, they got the job done with almost an entire quarter to spare.
This meant that star duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis had to play well less than 35 minutes each of game time. The LA Lakers fans will also be very happy with how the bench unit has looked since Rajon Rondo's comeback.
The LA Lakers big men, especially Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard, were a handful for the Denver Nuggets as they crashed the glass. Anthony Davis, in particular, could not be contained whatsoever by the Denver Nuggets, and if the first game is anything to go by, he could have a series to remember.
Key Player - Anthony Davis
As mentioned already, Anthony Davis was simply unstoppable in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets. Given how dominant he was offensively, the LA Lakers guards are likely to feed him at every opportunity.
The Denver Nuggets don't have anyone who could keep Anthony Davis quiet in the paint and coach Vogel knows that very well. Davis could have another big night in Game 2 if he keeps attacking the basket with his immense strength.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
Nuggets vs Lakers Prediction
Just how easy the LA Lakers found it against the Denver Nuggets the moment they upped the ante defensively was a reminder of how strong the Purple and Gold are as a team.
They have everything they need to breeze through the Denver Nuggets and even win the NBA championship, irrespective of the competition. Especially with their second unit firing in all cylinders, the LA Lakers are an extremely difficult team to topple.
The Denver Nuggets have to quickly figure out how to stop Anthony Davis and the other LA Lakers big men, but the truth is that they may never come up with a solution to this problem.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray both need to have amazing outings in order for the Denver Nuggets to win, and the other role players will need to knock down threes at a high rate. Regardless, the LA Lakers should get the job done again in Game 2.
Where to watch Nuggets vs Lakers?
National coverage of the game will be available on TNT. Fans in India can tune in to Sony Six. NBA League Pass is an option for those who prefer to live stream.
Published 19 Sep 2020, 12:40 IST