How will the Los Angeles Lakers come out in Game 3?
After escaping a potentially disastrous collapse in the waning moments of Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets, it’ll be interesting to see how the Los Angeles Lakers respond to start Game 3 for more than one reason.
Leading 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals, will LeBron James and the Lakers be able to match the intensity and desperation that we’ll almost certainly see from a Nuggets team that can’t afford to fall into the death sentence that a 3-0 series deficit has become in the NBA?
From a Nuggets’ perspective, the hope would be that Denver will be able to pick up where they left off in the final minutes of Game 2 (30 points, nine assists, six rebounds) and carry that momentum into Game 3. Nikola Jokic was dominant in the final minutes of Game 2, and you can almost bet that the Nuggets will try to get him going early again in Game 3.
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The same will be said about Jamal Murray, who is coming off a somewhat of a “down” shooting night. He finished with 25 points on the night but only shot 8-19 from the field and 2-9 from 3-point range. If the Nuggets are going to win Game 3 to get back into this series, they’re going to need a bit of a better shooting night from Murray.
The Nuggets are also going to need from the rest of their starting lineup (apart from Murray and Jokic). Denver only got 16 points from Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, and Gary Harris. That’s simply not a recipe for success against a team as talented as the Lakers.
Thankfully, Michael Porter Jr. had a big game off the bench, scoring 15 points in 20 minutes.
For Los Angeles, they have a golden opportunity on hand in Game 3. Not only could they all but essentially eliminate the Nuggets from this series, but they could set the tone for what’s to come in potentially the next series.
The Nuggets have played their best basketball when their backs are against the wall; a place where they’re now sitting in. After such a demoralizing loss in Game 2, to follow that up with another loss in Game 3 would just about kill any will that Denver could have.
No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit and teams know that. The Nuggets know that, just as the Lakers.
Los Angeles should come out in Game 3 on a mission. They have a chance to all but end this series. A chance to all but punch its ticket to the NBA Finals.
We’re going to find out a lot about the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3. Can LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers throw a knockout punch to the Denver Nuggets?