Gordon and Jokic guide the Denver Nuggets to the verge of sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers with a 112-105 victory in Game 3

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Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers

The Denver Nuggets, with their championship experience and seasoned players, present a formidable challenge for any NBA team.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, facing the Nuggets is especially daunting. The Lakers find themselves on the verge of an early exit from the playoffs, having lost 11 consecutive games to Denver.

Aaron Gordon had a standout performance with 29 points and 15 rebounds, while Nikola Jokic contributed 24 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists in the Nuggets’ 112-105 victory over the Lakers in Game 3 of their first-round series.

Jamal Murray also played a crucial role, scoring 22 points as the Nuggets continued their dominance over the Lakers in the postseason.

Despite their success, the Nuggets acknowledged the challenge posed by the Lakers, emphasizing the toughness of each game in the series and the talent of their opponents.

Michael Porter Jr. contributed 20 points to Denver’s victory, which saw them take charge in the third quarter and maintain their lead until the end, marking their fifth consecutive road win over Los Angeles. This streak started with their sweep of last season’s Western Conference finals.

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers

Porter expressed his enjoyment of winning games, noting the challenge of defeating the Lakers. He emphasized that despite their success, it’s never easy to beat such a competitive team. Porter acknowledged the media’s focus on their 11 straight victories but highlighted the team’s focus on each game individually.

The Lakers, led by Anthony Davis with 33 points and 15 rebounds, and LeBron James with 26 points and nine assists, now face Game 4 on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The team is aware of the historical significance, as no NBA team has ever overcome an 0-3 playoff deficit.

James emphasized the importance of maintaining a mindset focused on winning, regardless of the circumstances. He stressed the team’s determination to fight until the end, echoing Davis’s sentiment.

Austin Reaves contributed 22 points for Los Angeles, a team that entered the playoffs with strong performance since the holidays. They secured the seventh seed with an impressive play-in victory over New Orleans.

However, despite winning 12 of their last 15 games before this series, the Lakers now find themselves on the verge of failing to advance in the playoffs for the third time in four years since their 2020 NBA title.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham acknowledged the championship-level confidence of the Nuggets, emphasizing the cohesion and effectiveness of their starting lineup. While Davis and James delivered strong performances, the Lakers struggled with their outside shooting, missing most of their early 3-point attempts in Game 3.

D’Angelo Russell had a scoreless outing in 24 minutes of play for the Lakers, failing to provide significant offensive contributions. In contrast, Aaron Gordon had an outstanding performance, marking his highest-scoring playoff game in his 10 NBA seasons. Nikola Jokić also stood out, nearly achieving a triple-double while leading Denver’s charge to victory.

The Nuggets, seeded second, started their title defense with two wins at home in Denver, displaying resilience in Game 1 and sealing Game 2 with a dramatic comeback, capped by Jamal Murray’s buzzer-beating jumper.

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers

After squandering a 20-point lead in the second half of Game 2, the seventh-seeded Lakers were left feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Davis mentioned that the Lakers sometimes feel uncertain about their defensive strategy against Denver’s versatile offense.

These issues persisted in Game 3, putting the Lakers on the brink of the end of James’ remarkable 21st NBA season. The team had not played a home game in 16 days and had only won once at home since March 24.

Lakers guard Gabe Vincent recalled a similar situation from last season with the Miami Heat, emphasizing that comebacks are possible in the playoffs. However, the Nuggets’ strong performance, highlighted by their 16-4 record in last season’s playoffs, suggests they are poised for another successful postseason run, having comfortably handled the Lakers in the first three games.

Russell’s lackluster performance was compounded by a quiet game from starter Rui Hachimura, who struggled to make an impact offensively. Denver capitalized on their halftime deficit, going on a 24-10 run led by Gordon and Murray, extending their lead to 10 points. Despite a late effort from the Lakers, they couldn’t narrow the gap in the fourth quarter.

As the Lakers’ fans left the arena, a small group in the Lakers’ end voiced their frustration with chants of “Fire Darvin!”


By Robert Jackson

An avid football fan (A red). And an Otaku by the definition of the word.

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