Lakers Vs. Nuggets Game 4 Preview: Looking To Avoid Being Swept
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping the first three games of the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers now find themselves in a do-or-die situation as they host the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 on Monday night.

No team has even come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the NBA, but if the Lakers are gonna be the first, it starts in Game 4.

The Lakers have been very good at home this postseason, winning their first seven games at Crypto.com Arena before dropping Game 3. If they are gonna get back on track though, it will have to begin with their stars.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis have done what they can to carry the Lakers to this point, but it’s clear that it’s come at a cost as both have looked gassed the last couple of games. The Lakers have been in playoff mode basically since the trade deadline, which seems to be finally catching up to them.

James and Davis are still two of the best players the league has ever seen though, and both expressed after Game 3 that they still think the Lakers can come back in this series.

Davis specifically emphasized that the Lakers need to take things one game at a time, and that starts on Monday night. Look for both James and Davis to come out ultra-aggressive in the first quarter knowing the Lakers’ season is on the line.

In addition to needing strong performances from their leaders, the Lakers also need some of their others to step up. Outside of Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, that has not been the case so far this series.

D’Angelo Russell, in particular, has really struggled on both ends of the floor which has led to his minutes being decreased. Darvin Ham has stuck with Russell in the starting lineup though hoping that hot shooting night will come, although Game 4 is obviously potentially the last opportunity for the guard to make it happen.

On the other end of the floor, the Lakers have had a hard time slowing down Jamal Murray. The Nuggets guard had a ridiculous 53 points in three quarters when counting the fourth quarter of Game 2 and first half of Game 3.

The Lakers finally committed to doubling Murray and chasing him off the 3-point line in the second half of Game 3 when he only had seven points, but that just led for open looks for his teammates and guys like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Bruce Brown, Jeff Green and of course Nikola Jokic were able to convert.

Denver has a lot of firepower, so hopefully the Lakers can take care of the ball and get back in transition to avoid giving up easy buckets, which has been a theme of the series so far.

The Lakers have had their backs up against the wall all season after starting off 2-10. They have been able to overcome adversity every step of the way, and Game 4 is their last chance to prove they can do so again when the stakes are highest.

Los Angeles Lakers (0-3) vs. Denver Nuggets (3-0)

5:30 p.m. PT, May 22, 2023
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV: ESPN
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Jarred Vanderbilt
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Rui Hachimura, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV

Projected Nuggets Starting Lineup:

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr.
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Key Reserves: Bruce Brown, Christian Braun, Jeff Green

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