The Los Angeles Lakers made quite a statement by securing a 2-0 series lead the Denver Nuggets in spectacular fashion thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer by Anthony Davis. Now L.A. has an opportunity to take full control of the Western Conference Finals in Game 3.
Davis has been nothing short of remarkable through the first two games, averaging 34.0 points on 23-for-44 shooting. His efforts were enough to be called the best scorer in the NBA by Nikola Jokic following his performance in Game 2.
“I mean, they have two really good, really good players,” Jokic said. “They have LeBron, who is probably the best player in the league, and they have A.D., who is probably the best scorer in the league. I think it’s not easy to figure them out. They are really talented.”
Although Davis managed to steal the show so far, Jokic has countered with a strong showing of his own. He is averaging 25.5 points per game while shooting 50% from the field despite facing a trio of formidable frontcourt defenders in Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee.
The Lakers may have all the momentum going into Game 3, however, the Nuggets have done their best work when overcoming a deficit in this postseason. While losing in such spectacular fashion would deal a crushing blow for most teams, there were a number of silver linings for them to build on moving forward.
Denver granted head coach Mike Malone’s wish by picking up their efforts on defense in Game 2 after containing Los Angeles to 44.6% shooting and forcing twice as many turnovers (24). They also won the free-throw battle by taking 14 more attempts and overcoming a 16-point deficit to force such a nail-biter gives them good reason to be optimistic for another comeback.
Regardless, the Lakers’ size and length have given them a major advantage on both ends of the floor. They’ve collected 23 offensive rebounds and 13 blocks through the first two games of the series.
The stellar play from the supporting cast surrounding Davis and LeBron James has also paid huge dividends since the Nuggets have not gotten much outside of Jokic and Jamal Murray.
Denver has overcome consecutive 3-1 deficits to get where they are but never has a team come back from a 3-0 lead. History suggests that a win for Los Angeles would solidify their route to the NBA Finals.
Nuggets (0-2) vs. Lakers (2-0)
6:00 p.m. PT, Sep. 22, 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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