Despite some difficult circumstances, the Los Angeles Lakers pulled off one of their most complete wins of the 2019-20 NBA season by defeating the Denver Nuggets, 105-96.
Several players, most notably Anthony Davis, were battling the flu yet they were still able to tough it out and win against a Nuggets team that has been playing well as of late.
Los Angeles got contributions from every player who saw the floor and their collective effort was encouraging to see after a disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Head coach Frank Vogel was pleased with his team’s performance but could not help but commend Davis on his play, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We just followed the plan and played with passion for four quarters. I can’t say enough about our two stars LeBron and AD but in particular AD tonight. Playing through illness — he’s getting an IV at halftime — just felt lousy last two days and he comes in and has a… like we talked about pregame Defensive Player of the Year type of performance. He’s guarding their two best players. Jokic single coverage, everybody staying home, and then Jamal Murray taking him to the basket and just making defensive play after defensive play. He was outstanding for him to play through illness and have that kind of performance was special.”
Davis has been playing the best defense of his career up to this point in the season and it was on full display against the Nuggets as he made life difficult for anyone who tried to score on him in isolation situations. His performance was highlighted by a couple of key possessions late in the game where he shut down Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray which set up the Lakers to take control of the game and come away with the win.
Vogel’s reputation as a defensive-minded head coach has seemingly taken root with this Lakers roster as Davis and James continually harp on the team’s defense as their identity and the game against the Nuggets is a perfect example of them practicing what they preach. Denver boasts several offensive threats in their lineup, so for Los Angeles to hold them to only 96 points is an impressive feat no matter how one looks at it.
With the win, the purple and gold solidified their standing atop the Western Conference and will look to reinforce it further when they take on a Utah Jazz team who will be missing Mike Conley.