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The Denver Nuggets took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals on Saturday with a 119-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Jamal Murray led the way for the Nuggets with 37 points, including 30 in the first half. Anthony Davis had 28 points and 18 rebounds for the Lakers, while LeBron James added 23 points and 12 assists.
The Nuggets got off to a hot start in the first quarter, leading by as many as 13 points. The Lakers cut the deficit to five points at halftime, but the Nuggets came out strong in the third quarter and extended their lead to 15 points.
The Lakers made a run in the fourth quarter and cut the lead to two points, but the Nuggets responded with a 13-0 run to put the game away.
Key takeaways from the game:
- Jamal Murray is back to his old self. Murray has been sensational in the playoffs, averaging 32.7 points per game. He is shooting 52% from the field and 45% from three-point range.
- The Nuggets’ defense is stifling. The Nuggets are holding their playoff opponents to an average of 106.4 points per game, which is the best mark in the NBA. They are also forcing 17.2 turnovers per game.
- The Lakers are running out of time. The Lakers are now one loss away from elimination. They need to find a way to slow down Murray and the Nuggets’ offense, and they need to get more consistent production from their role players.
- Jamal Murray: A+
- Nikola Jokic: A
- Aaron Gordon: A
- Michael Porter Jr.: B+
- Monte Morris: B
- LeBron James: B+
- Anthony Davis: A-
- Austin Reaves: B
- D’Angelo Russell: C-
- Malik Monk: D+
Reviews of the game:
- The Athletic: “The Nuggets are one game away from their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. They have been the better team in this series, and they have shown no signs of letting up.“
- ESPN: “The Lakers are in a desperate situation. They need to win Game 4 to avoid elimination. But it’s going to be tough against a Nuggets team that is playing with a lot of confidence.“
- NBA.com: “The Nuggets have been the most impressive team in the playoffs so far. They have a deep roster and they are playing very well on both ends of the court.“
What to expect in Game 4:
The Lakers will need to find a way to slow down Jamal Murray and the Nuggets’ offense if they want to avoid elimination in Game 4. They also need to get more consistent production from their role players, especially D’Angelo Russell and Malik Monk.
The Nuggets, on the other hand, need to continue to play with the same intensity and focus that they have shown in the first three games of the series. They also need to avoid complacency and make sure that they don’t let the Lakers back into the series.
Overall, the Nuggets are in a very good position to advance to the NBA Finals. They have the home-court advantage and they are playing with a lot of confidence. The Lakers, on the other hand, are in a desperate situation. They need to win Game 4 to avoid elimination, and it’s going to be tough against a Nuggets team that is playing so well.