By: Nick Andre
After a gut-wrenching Game 2 defeat, the Denver Nuggets were more motivated for Game 3 than ever. Being down 2-0 in the series, winning this game was a priority if they were going to have a chance to win this series. The Lakers, on the other hand, were looking to continue momentum headed into the next game. Just two wins away from the NBA Finals, LeBron and his team looked to add another exclamation point to this series. In a back and forth game, the game would go down the stretch as it was the Nuggets grabbing their first win of the series.
The game began a back and forth battle in the 1st quarter. Both squads were looking to find a rhythm earls and it was only a matter of time before somebody took control. That was until the Nuggets took control early in the 2nd quarter to give themselves a double-digit lead. Denver would go on a 17-2 run early in the 2nd quarter with momentum on their side. They were getting great production out of everyone on the floor and the offense was clicking on all cylinders.
Despite Denver’s hot start to the 2nd, they did not finish the quarter the way they wanted. LeBron and the Lakers would close the half in their favor. They cut the lead down to 10 and went into the locker room with great energy looking to keep it going. Denver was sloppy on both ends to end the quarter and didn’t execute the way they were early in the quarter. Mike Malone was guaranteed to bring up the mistakes that were made to be much sharper in the 3rd quarter.
The Lakers continued their hot stretch early in the 3rd quarter. They cut the lead down to five and wanted to keep the pressure on the Nuggets. Denver responded in the best way that they have throughout these playoffs. They went back to moving the ball and knocked down shots once again. Denver was able to catch momentum again and they ballooned their lead to 18 to end the 3rd quarter.
Once again, as Denver got out to a big lead, here come the Lakers. The team switched over to their zone offense and just made things uncomfortable. Their lineup of LeBron, Davis, Rondo, Kuzma, and Caruso made a huge boost to bring themselves back in the game. Denver was careless with the ball for about 5 minutes which sparked the Lakers to cut the lead down to 3 late in the 4th.
Unfortunately, the Lakers couldn’t finish the job as they began to cool off on the offensive end. Los Angeles missed wide-open shots that could have been game-changers. As the Lakers were missing, Denver was making. Jamal Murray closed the game with two huge threes to seal the deal for the Denver Nuggets. Lakers had no response late in the 4th and the Nuggets rallied to a 114-106 victory.
The biggest story of the night was the contributions of the Nuggets supporting cast. Guys in Jeremi Grant and Monte Morris were big in the Nuggets stretch or runs and were a huge part in stretching the lead for Denver.
For the Lakers, LeBron James led the way with another triple-double logging 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. Anthony Davis was right behind him recording 27 points. The key for Game 4 is to get more production out of their role players. This game could
have been a different story if one role player came in and changed the game. The Lakers need better production on offense from another guy that’s not named LeBron or AD. Whoever can come in and step up to the plate, it can lead to a difference in this series.
Murray was the leading man with 28 points and 12 assists. Grant would finish the game with 26 points while Jokic would finish with 22 points and 12 rebounds. It was a well-balanced game for Denver, to say the least. When things got bad they weathered the storm and held their ground. Now that they have a win in this series, it is interesting to see where the Nuggets go from here. They have a long way to go, but it’s great to watch Denver respond once again with their backs against the wall.