Contrary to the last two series in the western conference, LA Lakers forced a blow out a victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the 2020 NBA WFC. Concluding the game 126-114, LA Lakers take 1-0 lead in an aggressive game. Several players were seen going back and forth with multiple instances of shoving between Dwight Howard and Nikola Jokic. Poor shooting and constant foul trouble haunted the Denver Nuggets throughout the game.
Anthony Davis was the leading scorer tonight with 37 points and 10 rebounds at 57.1% efficiency. In addition, 5 players from the LA Lakers had double-digit scores as LeBron James took the back seat offensively. Lakers displayed excellent ball movement with 10 more assists compared to the Denver Nuggets. Although LeBron just scored 15 points, it was not because he was struggling to score. He facilitated plays for his teammates and in his absence, Rajon Rondo took the charge of being the primary facilitator with 9 assists.
One of the main reasons behind a blowout loss like this for Denver Nuggets was foul trouble. While Nikola Jokic only played 25:25 minutes tonight, Jamal Murray was restricted to 28:55 minutes. With 7 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Nikola Jokic picked up his third foul and had to be sidelined by coach Mike Malone. However, he came back in the second half picking up two more fouls along with his teammate Jamal Murray who had 4 personal fouls of his own impacting the Nuggets’ pace.
In addition to constant foul trouble, Denver made blunders in transition which easily translated into buckets for the LA Lakers.
How Dwight Howard ensured LA Lakers victory over Denver Nuggets
Anthony Davis was definitely the player of the night, however, Dwight Howard had an impactful performance in just the 16 minutes he played in LA Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Game 1. This three time defensive player of the year proved his abilities tonight guarding Nikola Jokic. Who is otherwise known to be calm and soft, Jokic had heated exchanges with Dwight Howard and Denver committed several turnovers in his presence.
Since Lakers are not playing a small ball line up like Houston Rockets, Javale McGee got a chance to start this game and Dwight Howard was given more time on the court. He used it efficiently stuffing his stat sheet with 13 points, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
Playoff Rondo and Playoff Dwight
— the Sports ON Tap (@thesportsontap) September 19, 2020
Although a victory in Game 1 is always reassuring the Nuggets are making a name for themselves as the best comeback team in NBA history while LA Lakers are clinching every series in 5. Whether this matchup goes to 7 games or concludes in 5 is hard to predict.