NUGGETS

Nuggets use massive run to topple scrappy Lakers in Game 1

Apr 20, 2024, 8:58 PM | Updated: 9:17 pm

DENVER—It was another back-and-forth game between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers as been the case for some time now, the Mile High City crew pulled away in the second half to win Game 1 114-103.

It was the ninth-straight win for the Nuggets over the Lakers, including last year’s sweep in the Western Conference Finals—while most of those games have come down to crunch time. And there were more signs of a Denver domination during the first 48 minutes of this year’s first-round series.

Denver was actually down 12 in the second quarter of the game before Michael Porter Jr. finally got a triple to cash. It broke the dam for the Denver, who sped to a 52-29 extended stretch to finish the second and through the third quarter, highlighted by an 8-0 run at the start and a 13-0 run at the end.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had some massive moments, firing up the Ball Arena crowd with four three-pointers in the third quarter including a game-tying and big lead-expanding shots.

LeBron James was phenomenal in the first half, efforting for 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds, while Anthony Davis matched soon-to-be league MVP Nikola Jokic for quite a while. AD finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. The two Lakers stars took advantage of two early fouls on Arron Gordon and Peyton Watson to punish the Nuggets’ smaller defenders. But D’Angelo Russell’s struggles on both sides of the floor was very beneficial for Denver, D’Lo shot six-for-20.

Jokic was able to out do the opposition’s stars, going for 32 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Jokic was the leader of Denver’s biggest battle win, 49-40 on the glass.

The Nuggets got another 22 points and 10 assists from Jamal Murray while KCP totaled 12 points and MPJ finished with 19.

This gave the Lakers a chance to throw their best punch, which they did likely throw in the early stages of the game. And yet the Nuggets not only responded but connivingly won Game 1.

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