The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to build on their strong start to the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets by securing another win in Game 2.
The Lakers were finally able to get a playoff series started on the right foot thanks to a dominant 126-114 victory in Game 1. While it was not the matchup most expected, the team has been adamant about not taking the Nuggets lightly given their impressive run this postseason.
Although the spotlight for the series has been fixed on the battle of the bigs between Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic, it proved to be much more one-sided in the first game than some may have predicted.
Davis bested Jokic as the clear winner after going off for a game-high 37 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Of course, Davis had help with Lakers head coach Frank Vogel reverting to a more traditional lineup by inserting JaVale McGee back at center.
Meanwhile, Dwight Howard took full advantage of his increased role with 13 points, two blocks and two steals while helping to contain Jokic. Howard started the second half and could join the lineup for Game 2, which Vogel said he would not reveal until mandated to do so 30 minutes before tipoff.
Regardless, the Nuggets find themselves in familiar territory as an underdog trying to work their way back. While Jokic and Jamal Murray may have only combined for 42 points and seven assists in Game 1, their track recording these playoffs indicates it is only a matter of time before they find their footing.
Head coach Mike Malone was not shy about calling his team out for their lackluster efforts to contain Davis. Malone made it clear that he will continue to be a top priority in their game plan on defense.
“We have to do something different with him. It was too easy for him tonight,” he said after Game 1. “He did not feel us. I think over 48 minutes we just can’t play him the same, give him the same look. So that’s definitely something that we can look at the film and figure out how we can be better.”
Rajon Rondo overcame a questionable injury designation to maintain his role as a primary playmaker on offense and stabilizing factor on defense with seven points, nine assists, and two steals. Unfortunately, Dion Waiters remains sidelined with a groin injury and could be slated to miss his fifth consecutive game.
Nuggets (0-1) vs. Lakers (1-0)
4:30 p.m. PT, Sep. 20, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Markieff Morris, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard
Projected Nuggets Starting Lineup:
PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Garry Harris
SF: Jerami Grant
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Nikola Jokic
Key Reserves: Torrey Craig, Michael Porter Jr., Monte Morris
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