Nuggets-Lakers Game 3: Jokic Gordon shine with 5 takeaways

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LOS ANGELES When someone is vacuumed and swept twice in a two-year period, what is the name for that?
Unfathomable as it may seem, the Lakers are in such a humiliating scenario against the Nuggets. Not only is it uncommon for a squad to be continuously carried away in this way, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis are involved in this.

Nuggets-Lakers Game 3 Jokic Gordon shine with 5 takeaways
Nuggets-Lakers Game 3 Jokic Gordon shine with 5 takeaways

But the Nuggets have the Lakers in a headlock and are ready to flex, much as they did in the Western Conference Finals last year. It was just another painful tease after spotting L.A. with another double-digit first-half lead (the Lakers led 12 in Game 1 and 20 in Game 2).

Denver’s triumph, 112-105 Thursday was its eleventh consecutive game (regular season) against the Lakers.

1. Lakers were gassed mentally

The Lakers opened Game 3 with three consecutive dunks: one each by Anthony Davis, Rui Hachimura, and LeBron James. tenacious, combative, and, dare we say it, furious.
LeBron James dribbling off his knee out of bounds, D’Angelo Russell missing an open 3-pointer, booing, and slack body language were all part of how the Lakers ended Game 3. Russell later refused to enter the timeout huddle.
In other words, this squad disintegrated. failed to maintain a first-half advantage, made only five of 27 deep shots, and never offered the home crowd any cause for optimism.

You have to wonder how much the Lakers’ terrible recent record versus the Nuggets contributed to what transpired on Thursday, and how much their past performance undermined their confidence.

What’s strange is that the first six playoff games were close contests. Not after three quarters, this one. So maybe the weight of it all finally got to L.A.
In the fourth quarter, Davis (33 points) scored three points, Russell went 0-for-7 and was scoreless, and the Lakers’ defense broke down in the paint. Those are indications of whipping.
LeBron commented, “We kind of lost track of the attention to detail we had in the first half.”

2. Lakers tried bating Joker into foul trouble

Furthermore, what do you know? It was successful. Jokic had three by the beginning of the third quarter after Davis had drawn two fast fouls on him in the first five minutes of the contest.
However, it was unsuccessful. When Joker (a) played quietly to avoid extra fouls or (b) quit the game, the Lakers never took advantage of the circumstance.
Being aggressive early on was a wise move by Davis because in the past, the Nuggets were always exposed when Jokic was off the court. However, Denver held firm. Aaron Gordon, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. stepped up. Early in the second quarter, the Lakers’ 12-point lead gradually dissipated.

And the Nuggets’ lead increased during Joker’s first three-minute rest period in the fourth quarter.
Coach of the Nuggets Michael Malone stated, “Being a champion comes with a confidence.” “Whenever things become tough, we don’t give up; instead, we stick together and figure out how to get back into the game. Gaining a title has greatly boosted that team’s confidence.

3. When Gordon gets rough, nuggets get tough.

 

The Nuggets’ winning formula is the pick-and-roll duo of Murray and Jokic. They won the championship the previous year thanks to a large man and gregarious guard who terrorized any defense.
But there’s still another way to succeed. At that point, Gordon enters the game and contributes a paint presence with dunks and receiving lobs and backdoor feeds from Jokic and Gordon.
The Lakers, who for some reason left him free or failed to box out, were totally bewildered by him on Thursday as he was doing this repeatedly. Gordon set career highs in the playoffs with 29 points and 15 rebounds. Although this was a bit extravagant for him in the postseason, Denver will advance if he provides anything even remotely comparable.

Malone exclaimed, “Aaron Gordon was just incredible.”

4. Nuggets finally play their A-game

The rest of the league should get shivers from it as well. The Nuggets dominated the first eight minutes of the game.
Additionally, they didn’t rely as much on Murray and Joker because four guys scored 20 points or more. For Denver, this was the first “complete” victory of the series, as nearly every player who gave it their all was able to have a moment (or two).
The Nuggets used their familiarity to get open looks and easy points, displaying championship chemistry. Additionally, during these first three games, their defense has performed admirably in crucial situations.

We have a telepathic relationship as a group, Gordon remarked. “The starting five seem to be in a mind-meld.”

What about Jokic, who was only one assist away from recording a triple-double?
Gordon described him as “a genius who happens to play basketball.”

5. Lakers one loss from long summer

Here’s the streaky situation: the Lakers need to win four games in a row against a team that has defeated them eleven times overall, including four games in a row in the West Finals last summer and three games in this series.
That’s a tall order, to say the least, especially considering that teams behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven series have historically 0-for-151.
It doesn’t matter which supporting players will return and which will depart throughout the offseason or if coach Darvin Ham will be leaving his position. The only real concern is this: What will LeBron’s future and mentality be like if this series is lost, particularly if it is a sweep?

With James joining the Lakers in 2018, the team’s motto has been “championship or bust.” They made a single profit. Even with his amazing play this season, LeBron’s birthday is in December. The Big Decline will come at some point.
He is eligible for the upcoming season. He’ll probably turn it down and agree to a two-year deal. Then there’s the big question mark: would the Lakers select his son Bronny in the June draft?

 

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