After a lackluster first half, the Los Angeles Lakers turned it up and blitzed the Denver Nuggets in a 114-93 blowout.
The Lakers looked lethargic and discombobulated in the first and second quarters, settling on offense while playing uninspired defense. The Nuggets took full advantage, staking a double-digit lead and looking like the superior team in a Western Conference Finals rematch.
However, things changed quickly in the third as Los Angeles began to execute on both ends and reeled off a 15-0 run to close the quarter. That effort continued in the fourth and they rolled the rest of the way.
Anthony Davis revealed he and the rest of the team recognized their need to improve, which was conveyed by head coach Frank Vogel. “We just said we had to be better defensively,” Davis said. “We weren’t getting any stops. We know that we can score at will, but we needed to get some stops.
“Coach got on us at halftime about our energy on the defensive end and pace on the offensive end. Guys talked in the locker room and we were able to come out in that third quarter and hold them to 17 points while scoring 37 points. Our pace was really good coming out of halftime.
“He got after us, and it was right that he did that. It was well deserved, because we were playing sloppy and not with a lot of energy. A lot of guys — including myself — had bad body language and were frustrated about the game.”
The Lakers as a whole looked a step slow the first two quarters, but they came out in the third and made it a point to get out and run. It opened up the floor for them offensively, while defensively they absolutely suffocated any action the Nuggets tried.
Los Angeles held Denver to only 35 points in the second half, an amazing feat given how well they have scored the basketball this season.
Davis credits Horton-Tucker for second half spark
Talen Horton-Tucker has clearly carved a spot in the Lakers’ rotation and he did not disappoint against the Nuggets as he scored 17 points in 22 minutes off the bench. Davis praised the 20-year-old for coming in and injecting energy into the Lakers.
“A lot of credit goes to him,” Davis said. “He came in doing good things defensively, scoring the basketball on the offensive end, making the right plays. We trust him. I know he’s young, but he wants to be in the game when it’s crunch time.
“We can throw him in the game at any point and he’s going to make plays for us.”
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