Lakers vs nuggets
Photo Credit: Queens County Citizen

Game Preview: Lakers vs Nuggets – WCF – Game 5

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(#1) Los Angeles Lakers (11-3)  |  (#3) Denver Nuggets (8-9)

 

The Lakers will look to advance to the NBA Finals with a win in Game 5.

 

After the Denver Nuggets won Game 3 in a dominating fashion, a lot of people didn’t know what to expect in Game 4. Would Denver tie the series, showing that they have all the momentum now? Or would the Los Angeles Lakers take a dominating 3-1 series lead? The dreaded 3-1 deficit is usually a sign of near elimination for most teams, but not for the Nuggets who have come back from two 3-1 series deficits already in this postseason.

 

Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: USA Today

The Lakers won in a pretty close one in game four. The game looked like it could have been anybody’s game up until the last few minutes when the Lakers pulled off the 114-108 victory with some suffocating defense. Perhaps it was the increase in minutes and move to the starting lineup for Dwight Howard that made the difference. His aggressive play on the glass on offense and slowing Nikola Jokic down on defense was key to building an early lead for Los Angeles. Howard finished the game with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Anthony Davis led all scorers in this one with 34 points on 10-15 (66%) shooting from the floor. Although he had a good shooting night, he only grabbed five rebounds, which is still unacceptably low for the superstar big man. Luckily it did not seem to matter as the Lakers still got the win.

LeBron James had another “decent” game with a near triple-double in 26 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. James shot just 7-18 (38%) from the field. The critical adjustment James took in the fourth quarter was switching to guard Jamal Murray and being able to slow him down when Denver needed their star the most.

Another considerable difference for Los Angeles in game four was their star players received more help with additional balanced scoring. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the third leading man in this one, scoring 13 points on 3-9 (33%) shooting from the three. Rajon Rondo came off the bench to score 11 points on 4-6 (66%) shooting, while also dishing out seven assists. Kyle Kuzma had himself 10 points, also coming off the bench.

 

Murray led the Nuggets with 32 points on 12-20 (60%) shooting from the field, but a surprising 0-3 from beyond the arc. Murray did show off his improved impressive passing skills with eight assists.

 

Jerami Grant continued to step up on offense coming off his postseason career-high 26 points in the last game to score 17 in this one. Grant was 6-13 (46.1%) from the floor.

 

Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: The Denver Post

Jokic kind of struggled in this game with 16 points (6-13, 46.1%) and only seven rebounds. He found himself in foul trouble due to some tough play from Dwight Howard early in the game, finishing the game with five fouls. Jokic also was unable to score any points in the fourth quarter, another factor that could have been the difference.

Michael Porter Jr. had himself quite the game off the bench with a near double-double in 13 points and eight rebounds. Porter Jr. shot 5-8 (62.5%), including a clutch three-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter.

Monte Morris also stepped up for Denver with 12 points (4-7, 57.1%) off the bench.

Now usually, when a team is up 3-1 in a series, they really don’t have too much to worry about when it comes to getting that last win. But that will not be the case here for Los Angeles; they know that the Nuggets won’t go down without a fight.

 

 

By now we all know about how the Nuggets are the Cinderella team in this one, refusing to go down and going through two Game 7s already. They had to come back from 3-1 deficits and win in seven games against the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. Some people may joke that Denver has the Lakers right where they want them with this familiar deficit in the series.

 

The Lakers will have to keep their foot on the gas and not let up if they want to advance to the NBA Finals. That means that if they find themselves in a big lead going into the second half, they better play like the score is back to 0-0 and not relax to eliminate the Nuggets. Not only is this Denver squad known for their 3-1 series comebacks, but also for their second-half rallies in games where they are down by nearly 20 points.

 

Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: NBA News

If the Lakers can advance to the NBA Finals, it would be their first time there since 2010. Ten years ago was the last championship that the late great Kobe Bryant won in his illustrious career. Bryant won Finals MVP, and with the help of Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace), Lamar Odom, and many others, they won an epic seven-game battle over the hated Boston Celtics. There is only one real way to honor Bryant, and that would be to win it all on the tenth year anniversary of that 2010 title.

So will Denver continue to make things exciting and stretch out this series for another game? Or will the Lake Show finally set the clock at midnight for the Nuggets and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals?

 

The Lakers tip-off against Nuggets in Game 5 at 6 pm PT. You can watch the game on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet.

 

Western Conference Finals schedule (All times PT)

  • Game 1Lakers 126 – Nuggets 114
  • Game 2Lakers 105 – Nuggets 103
  • Game 3Nuggets 114 –Lakers 104
  • Game 4Lakers 114 – Nuggets 108
  • Game 5 – Tonight, 6 p.m.—TNT/SSN
  • Game 6* – Monday, September 28, TBD—TNT
  • Game 7* – Wednesday, September 30, TBD—TNT

*If required

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-Isaiah Torres – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter- Isaiah_Torres24

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