Keys to The Win: Lakers Take 2-0 Lead Over Nuggetsby Garrett Brooks September 21, 2020 0 comments
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets 105-103 Sunday night, taking a 2-0 series lead. The job is far from finished, as the Nuggets have made a habit of overcoming deficits so far in the playoffs. Game three will be played Tuesday night.
These were the keys to the Lakers thrilling game two victory.
Cleaning the Glass
The Lakers took care of business cleaning the glass Sunday night, outrebounding the Nuggets 44-31. A +13 margin in rebounding is going to lead to bigger winning margins than in game two more often than not, so it’s where the Lakers want to be. With the size advantage the Lakers have over the Nuggets, it should be an expectation to dominate the boards every game.
The Lakers grabbed thirteen offensive rebounds as a team, compared to seven offensive rebounds for the Nuggets. It was a team effort on the glass, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way with a combined 20 rebounds. Further, Danny Green chipped in with an impressive three offensive rebounds.
The Lakers got the contributions they needed from their bench in game two. While the numbers may not jump off the board, they don’t tell the whole story.
Rajon Rondo led the team with nine assists in his 21 minutes. With LeBron looking to score early, Rondo played the role of distributor in the first half. He had five assists in the first 24 minutes, helping the Lakers build what would be a ten-point halftime lead.
Alex Caruso played great in the first half as well for Frank Vogel. He scored all nine of his points in the first half, with multiple highlight plays that energized the Lakers. He brought the defensive intensity all night, as has been the case all season. Caruso wound up fourth on the team in minutes played.
Finally, Dwight Howard once again had an impact in game two. While he played just twelve minutes, he did exactly what the Lakers wanted him to do. Howard made Nikola Jokic‘s life as difficult as possible, playing him physically and using his fouls to slow the Nuggets star big man. In 12 minutes, Howard was +10 with five personal fouls. He is much better when matched up with Jokic, and that showed again in game two.
Stars Lead the Way
LeBron had a big scoring first half, dropping 20 points on 8-11(72.7%) shooting. It was clear from the opening tip he was looking to set the tone for the Lakers, and he did exactly that. In the second half, though, he was far less effective. James shot 2-9 after the break, leading to six points scored.
Luckily, Anthony Davis was there to pick him and the Lakers up. Davis scored 22 in the second half, including 10 in the final quarter. Eventually, Davis hit the biggest shot of his career so far, lifting the Lakers to the 2-0 series lead.
Anthony Davis confirmed that he yelled “KOBE!” after drilling the game winning shot. pic.twitter.com/6b8N5Z9J7c
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 21, 2020
Davis finished with 31 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 7-7 from the free-throw line. The Nuggets have no answer for him, and he can ensure the Lakers remain well-rested moving forward in the playoffs. In two games against the Nuggets so far, Davis is averaging 34 points per game on 52.9% shooting from the field.
As has been the case all season, the Lakers stars led the way in Sunday’s game two victory.
The Lakers will look to take a 3-0 series lead Tuesday night.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images