After reaching the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to win Game 1 on the road against the Denver Nuggets, falling 132-126.
The Lakers got the game began with an offensive rebound and layup from LeBron James, but the Nuggets’ quick shooting put them up 11-5 early. The Lakers’ small ball squad struggled to keep up on the boards with Dennis Schroder replacing Jarred Vanderbilt in the starting lineup, while Denver was able to generate decent shots virtually every time down to extend their lead to nine.
Nikola Jokic was a rebounding machine, snatching up offensive rebounds left and right to give Denver significantly more field goal opportunities. James tried to rally the Lakers by hitting the rim, but the Nuggets couldn’t miss, leaving the Lakers behind 37-25 after one quarter.
Los Angeles struggled to find a rhythm on either end, as Bruce Brown took advantage of some poor transition defense to extend Denver’s lead to 17. Anthony Davis made an impact by blocking Jokic and scoring in the paint to help the Lakers close the gap to 46-37.