Saturday, September 19, 2020 ((rezonodwes.com)) – Anthony Davis, untenable and impregnable inside with 37 points, was the great architect of the Lakers' victory (126-114) at the expense of Denver, too quickly pushed to the fault and then passed, in the Western Conference final of the NBA play-offs.
Serenity, experience and strength were the udders of LA's first success in this series which should lead the winner to the finals against the representative East, Miami or Boston (the Heat leads 2-0).
Could this be the weight of history? In six encounters, the Lakers have always eliminated the Nuggets, the last time in 2009, when Kobe Bryant was on the road to his 4th coronation.
Could this be the experience of a workforce of “old men” broken to these games? Besides Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, LeBron James alone presents stunning figures when compared to Denver's in the play-offs: 165 wins against 76, 11 conference finals against 4, 9 championship finals and 3 rings against 0. .
All of this explains a bit. And if the Nuggets were constantly behind the Lakers in this game, except in the first quarter during which the two teams were polite (62% success on shots for some, 57% for others ), it is because they too easily got into the red at the start of the second quarter.
Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap thus took three faults, which forced them to too soon join the bench. Their opponents took full advantage of this, with LeBron James then posting 13 of his 15 points in total to give his team an 11-point lead at the break. To think that, a few moments earlier, he had just twisted his left ankle on a support …
– Rondo the facilitator –
Perhaps this was an opportunity for him to preserve himself, but the ” King, ”also author of 12 assists and 6 rebounds, didn't really have to scramble afterwards. Especially since his mate, Anthony Davis (10 rebounds) won his inside duel with Jokic.
“The guys got to lean on me, I had to be aggressive. I was able to find my good shooting spots, defend hard, play like I know how to do it, “welcomed the winger who discovered the conference finals.
Besides Dwight Howard's muscles under the racquet ( 13 pts, 2 blocks), LA was also able to count on the science of the game of Rajon Rondo author of 9 assists as spectacular as they were decisive (7 pts). With this performance, which recalls his best Boston hours, the leader became the 10th best passer in the history of the play-offs ahead of Michael Jordan.
Nuggets side, contrary to what they were able to show in terms of mental resources and energy in their fantastic comebacks against the Clippers and Utah, they never seemed to have the wherewithal to put the Lakers in doubt in the second half.
And this despite a few baskets behind Murray's arc (3 / 5, 21 pts, 5 assists) and the good address of Jokic (21 pts, 8/14, 6 rebounds). Proof that basically not much is missing, if not a few adjustments that coach Michael Malone will have to find so as not to wait to be back to the wall.
Even if we know it, his Nuggets don't like anything that much.
nip / els
© Agence France-Presse