Recap: Lakers Fourth Quarter Rally Falls Just Short In Game 1 Loss To Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After advancing to the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to come away with a Game 1 win on the road against the Denver Nuggets, suffering a 132-126 loss.

LeBron James got the Lakers started with an offensive rebound and layup, but the Nuggets’ hot shooting had them up 11-5 early. The small ball lineup of the Lakers with Dennis Schroder being inserted into the starting lineup for Jarred Vanderbilt struggled to keep up on the boards, while Denver was able to get quality looks nearly every time down to extend their lead to nine.

Nikola Jokic was a monster rebounding the basketball, gobbling up offensive rebounds left and right to give Denver way more field goal attempts. James tried to will the Lakers back into it by attacking the rim but the Nuggets couldn’t miss, which led to a 37-25 deficit for L.A. after one.

Much like the first quarter, Los Angeles found it difficult to find a rhythm on either end while Bruce Brown took advantage of some porous transition defense to up Denver’s lead to 17. Anthony Davis was able to make an impact with a block on Jokic and scoring in the paint to help get the Lakers within single digits 46-37.

James and Davis carried the offensive load for L.A. as they continued to assault the paint, but Jokic responded on the other end to keep Denver well ahead. Defensively, the Lakers had no answers for the Nuggets and they went into the locker room trailing 72-54 thanks to an end-of-the-half run by Denver.

D’Angelo Russell finally started to come to life after knocking down a pair of jumpers, but Jamal Murray remained hot from distance to keep the Nuggets ahead by 18. The Lakers had success scoring in the paint, but without any stops on the other end they couldn’t make a dent in the deficit.

Los Angeles finally found a groove scoring the basketball, but trading baskets with Denver didn’t help much. The Lakers built some momentum by getting all the way to the rim and went into the fourth down 106-92.

The purple and gold kept fighting back, getting good shots and knocking them down to get within single digits. However, Murray and Jokic were just too good controlling their side of the floor to keep them at bay.

The game slowed down midway through the fourth as each team was able to get into the bonus, something the Lakers took advantage of. Los Angeles made it a one-possession game late, but a missed LeBron 3 and turnover sealed the team’s fate.

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