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Playoff Preview: Lakers vs Nuggets – Western Conference Finals – Game 2

Los Angeles Lakers (9-2)  |  Denver Nuggets (8-7)


Game 2 of the Lakers vs Nuggets Western Conference Finals follows the Lakers 126-114 dominant Game 1 victory on Friday night.



Photo Credit: NBA

Game 1 was the Anthony Davis show. As he put up 37 points, the Nuggets could not find an answer for him. Game 2 should be a bit different because the Nuggets will have spent the day off prioritizing strategies to stop Davis from being that dominant. Either way, Davis is a beast, and they will not find an answer simply because there is not one. The Nuggets do not match up well defensively against a team like the Lakers.

Nikola Jokic has the size to guard the paint, but that did not bother Davis in game one. The Lakers scored a total of 54 points in the paint in game one. You can’t stop Anthony Davis. It will not happen. Davis is also too quick for anybody noteworthy to guard. Grant is not an elite defender, so there is nothing the Nuggets can do to stop Davis from scoring. They have to hope he goes cold and just misses. In game 2, Davis will continuously go for his mid-range jump shot if the paint is clogged. He will likely finish with at least 25 points.


James will do what he typically does, play point guard playmaker then score if necessary.



Photo Credit: CBS Sports

He will rely on playmaking as much as possible because the Nuggets will adjust their defense in the paint. Even though James can score by driving, it is not the most ideal offensive strategy. He will continuously pass to get his teammates open and start driving more if the game gets close.

Even with Jokic in the paint, the Lakers managed to utilize Dwight Howard then score points in the paint due to good ball movement and fast breaks. The Lakers will go into this game with a focus on getting fast-break points, especially off turnovers. They will prioritize keeping up their great game one defensive performance by trying to force turnovers. They always try to do this, but knowing they managed to force 16 turnovers, they will consider prioritizing steals rather than just contesting shots. The Lakers managed to record nine steals last game because they had anticipated a lot of the Nuggets passes. Game 2 will be a bit different but should see a similar play style from the Lakers’ defense.


The only way the Nuggets will win this game is if the Lakers have a terrible shooting night or if Jamal Murray and Jokic catch fire.


Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

Murray was 7 for 12 from the floor and scored 21 points in game one. Jokic scored 21 points as well and was 8-14. They both played well in game one but still lost by 12 points. That shows that it will take a lot of scoring from those two players to overcome the Laker’s incredible offense.

The Lakers have been consistent shooting from three, meaning that the Nuggets cannot rely on them to go cold. The only other way the Nuggets can win is if Murray and Jokic play beyond impressive games, or if one of their role players can score at least 20 points. In game 2, the Nuggets will strongly rely on Murray as they always have. Once the game is close or they start falling behind, they will rely on ball movement then hope their role players hit some shots off passes from Jokic. If the role players struggle or Murray does not have a near 40-point game, the Nuggets will not win. 

Since so many things must fall in place for the Nuggets to win, the Lakers should win this game and take a 2 to 0 series lead. The Lakers defended the Nuggets well in game 1 and have been consistent at scoring. The Nuggets defense does not match up well with the Lakers offense. The Lakers also have more playoff experience, since LeBron James has been to the Conference Finals more times than not in his career.


Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 pm and it airs on TNT.


Western Conference Finals schedule (All times PT)

  • Game 1Lakers 126 – Nuggets 114
  • Game 2Today, 4:30 p.m.—TNT
  • Game 3—Tuesday, September 22, 6 p.m.—TNT
  • Game 4—Thursday, September 24, 6 p.m.—TNT
  • Game 5*—Saturday, September 26, 6 p.m.—TNT
  • Game 6*—Monday, September 28, TBD—TNT
  • Game 7*—Wednesday, September 30, TBD—TNT

*If required

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media


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Lakers vs Nuggets – Game 2