Despite a better showing on both ends, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to come away with a road victory in Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets, falling 108-103.
Unlike Game 1, it was a better start for the Lakers, who were able to force a turnover off the bat and Austin Reaves knocked in two 3-pointers to build an early 10-4 lead. Denver responded with a 7-0 run, but Los Angeles did well attacking the basket to get into the bonus with more than half of the first to go.
D’Angelo Russell got himself going by getting to the free throw line and knocking down a 3 to give the Lakers a slight 21-20 advantage. Rui Hachimura picked up where he left off last game, coming in off the bench and immediately scoring in the half court three times with the scoring being tied at 27 through one quarter.
Hachimura continued his tear offensively in the second, knocking down a 3 and hitting a late shot clock jumper to give L.A. a seven-point lead. LeBron James somehow managed to blow two open transition opportunities, but his defense allowed the Lakers to go up by 11.
The Nuggets crawled back into the game by running out on the break after, while the Lakers went absolutely cold from the floor. Los Angeles eventually got back to scoring right at the rim and they would go into the break leading 53-48.
Los Angeles stuck to the game plan, forcing the issue in the key to get quality looks and going up by nine in the process. A strip and dunk from James briefly made it an 11-point game, but Denver got out on the break to get it back to down to six midway through.
The Lakers did well moving the ball and attacking gaps, but the Nuggets managed to reel off an 10-0 run to tie things up at 82. Los Angeles was able to get back to the free throw line to recapture the lead, though Jokic earned a goaltending call that left the purple and gold with a 79-76 lead.
The physicality really picked up at the top of of the fourth, with James fighting hard down low to defend Jokic. However, even with Jokic off the floor James’ cold streak from beyond the arc killed the Laker offense while the Nuggets caught fire from downtown to go suddenly go up 96-84.
Despite Jamal Murray’s hot perimeter shooting, Los Angeles battled back with timely shots to make it a five-point contest. Unfortunately, much like Game 1 the Lakers’ comeback in the fourth quarter fell just short and they would fall into a 0-2 series hold.
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