Press "Enter" to skip to content

Lakers on Brink of Elimination For First Time This Postseason After 119-108 Loss to Nuggets in Game 3.

The Los Angeles Lakers are on life support.

The Lakers did not look anything like the dominant team that has revealed itself during its improbable postseason run. Inside the hostile environment at Ball Arena in Denver, the Lakers were demolished in the paint and on the glass in Game 1, and their No. 1 ranked defense disappointed them late in Game 2.

Most of the players assumed that all the Lakers needed was dome home-cooking and their swagger and success would return, but unfortunately, they were dead wrong.

Jamal Murray scored 37 points and the Denver Nuggets defeated the Lakers 119-108 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers are now on the brink of elimination for the first time this postseason as the Nuggets have a stranglehold on the series 3-0, and can sweep the 17-time champions on Monday in Game 4.

Entering the game, the Lakers were a perfect 7-0 on their home floor, but now the Nuggets are the only team remaining in the playoffs that is perfect inside their own arena.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points and 18 rebounds in the loss. LeBron James had 23 points and 12 assists. Austin Reaves also chipped in 23.

Nikola Jokic, the two-time NBA MVP, was in foul-trouble for most of the game, but he dominated in the fourth quarter, finishing with 24 points in the victory.

Despite being back on their home court, the Lakers didn’t start the game as lively as they have during their perfect postseason stretch at Arena.

The reason is in large part due to Lakers’ head coach Darvin Ham and his head-scratching decisions when it comes to his starting lineup.

It’s evident to anyone watching the series that the Lakers have a size problem when it comes to their backcourt defense. Undersized D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schröder are simply too small for the 6-foot-5 duo of Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Yet that didn’t sop Ham from starting both of them together in Game 1 and Russell in Game 2.

The latter, is a series-high -53 when he is on the court, and has been targeted defensively by Denver in the half-court. Russell has also not provided much help offensively either. Because of that, most people thought a change in the starting lineup was not only needed, but inevitable.

Instead, Ham stuck with Russell and the Lakers trailed by 14 points in the first quarter by the time he went to the bench with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. With Russell guarding him, Murray carried over the momentum from his 23-point fourth quarter in Game 2, and scored an astonishing 30 points in the first half.

However, with Rusell on the bench for the remainder of first half, the Lakers went on a run, tying the game just before halftime, trailing by just three at the break.

But Rusell returned to start the second half and the Lakers could not build any sort of lead with him on the floor. Despite Jokic sitting for most of the third quarter with four fouls, and Murray held scoreless, the Lakers could not capitalize on their offensive advantage.

Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope kept the Nuggets ahead with their stars struggling with 15 and 17 points, respectively.

Each and every time the Lakers made on a run to cut the game close, the Nuggets responded with one of their own. Rui Hachimura briefly gave the Lakers a lead at 82-81 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Denver scored 11 straight to put the game out of reach.

Speaking of stars, the arena was once again packed with celebrities on Saturday night. The Lakers may have disappointed on the court, but the City of Stars did not with the celebrities sitting courtisde.

Adele, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Judson, Flea, Jake Gylenhall, Byron Allen, David Geffen, Pau Gasol, Dodd Romero, Denzel Washington, Dave Chapelle, Kim Kardashian, and Jack Nicholson were among the stars spotted at the game.

The Nuggets can close out the series in Game 4 on Monday night at Arena in Los Angeles. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30PM PST.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *