FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Nuggets – Game 2 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (43-39) | Denver Nuggets (53-29)


For the first time this postseason, the Los Angeles Lakers failed to bounce back after a loss, dropping Game 2 to the Denver Nuggets 108-103, falling behind in the series at 2-0.

The Lakers vs Nuggets played at the Ball Arena on Thursday.

Lakers vs Nuggets Rui Hachimura
Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey/AP

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to 0-2 in the series against the Denver Nuggets; however, their saving grace at this point is that they’re 7-0 at home this postseason.

Overall, the energy was there,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “The effort is there, the urgency was there, we just caught a bad stretch.”

Both of the Lakers’ superstars failed to show up in this one, with Anthony Davis having the worst of it, totaling just 18 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field. LeBron James finished with just 22 points but also shot 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. James is now 0-for-10 from 3 for the series.

We missed some pretty good looks,” Ham said of James and Davis combining to shoot 13-for-34 overall (38.2 percent).

Anthony Davis did not show up

Los Angeles dropped to 2-6 in the playoffs when James and Davis combined for 40 points or fewer.

The start of the Lakers vs Nuggets’ first half. 

Lakers vs Nuggets LeBron James
Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey/AP

What you take out of it is this is not the NCAA Tournament,” James said. “It’s first to four wins. Until a team beats you four times, then you always have a chance to get out of it. That’s the confidence we need to have.”

James, unfortunately, twisted his left ankle late in Game 2, but he was evaluated after the game, and his availability for Game 3 isn’t in question.

I think I stepped on somebody’s foot,” James said of his ankle. “Maybe Aaron Gordon, underneath the basket. I’ll be fine.”

On a lighter note, James now has 2,000 playoff assists, making him second all-time in playoff assists.

Austin Reaves showed up with 22 points (8-of-16 FGs, 5-for-9 3s), three rebounds, and five assists. Rui Hachimura had another big game off the bench for this postseason, putting up 21 points (8-of-10 FGs).

I’m just trying to be aggressive on both ends, especially against their bigs,” Hachimura said. “The coaches have been telling me this is gonna be a big series for me, and I was ready for it. But we lost this game, and it was a tough one for sure.”

A drawback for Hachimura, as he scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, falling off considerably in the second half with just four points.

For the Nuggets, Jamal Murray went nuclear, scoring 23 of his 37 total points in the fourth quarter alone. Murray initially struggled at the start, having just 10 points (3-of-13 FGs, 2-for-8 3s) at halftime. Nikola Jokic had his 13th playoff triple-double with 23 points (9-of-21 FGs, 0-for-3 3s), 17 rebounds, 12 assists, and three steals for Denver.

The end of the Lakers vs Nuggets’ first half. 

Murray also now has the most 20+ point fourth-quarter playoff performances since 1997.

The start of the Lakers vs Nuggets’ second half. 

Laker sis Nuggets Jamal Murrey
Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey/AP

You win Game 1 of the playoffs, and all everybody talked about was the Lakers,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “The Lakers were fine. They’re down 1-0, but they figured something out. No one talked about how Nikola had a historic performance. What he’s doing is just incredible, but the narrative wasn’t about the Nuggets. The narrative wasn’t about Nikola. The narrative is about the Lakers and their adjustments. So you put that in your pipe, you smoke it, you come back, and you know what, we’re going to go up 2-0.”

Denver made five straight 3s en route to a 20-5 scoring run in the fourth to take a 96-84 lead with 5:32 left in Game 2, effectively creating too large of a deficit for the Lake Show to overcome.

I think there were four possessions in a row that they hit 3s,” Reaves said. “I think a couple were really contested, and a couple were defensive breakdowns. Tip your hat. They made the shots when they needed to.”

Denver, from 3 in the first to third quarters, shot 7-for-25 (28 percent). While in the fourth quarter, they shot 7-for-13 from distance (53.8 percent). Los Angeles, on the other hand, shot 8-for-30 (26.7 percent) from deep for the entire game.

The final score of the Lakers vs Nuggets was 108-103, Nuggets.

The Lakers will take on the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, May 20, at 5:30 pm PST.


– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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