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Lakers vs. Nuggets: 2024 NBA Playoffs: Defending Champion Denver Nuggets Take Game 1, Lebron and Davis Shine Despite Losing to LA Lakers | NBA News

Lebron James & Aaron Gordon during Game 1

Lebron James and Aaron Gordon during Game 1

Photo: X (formerly known as Twitter)

The Denver Nuggetsdespite a slow start, their N.B.A title defense with a convincing 114-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in their Western Conference playoff opener. This victory marked their ninth consecutive victory over their rivals. Le Bron James, hungry for another championship run, put on a show in the first half, dropping 19 points, highlighted by a buzzer-beating three-pointer. This gave the Lakers a narrow 60-57 lead at halftime.

The second half, however, was a different story. The Nuggets held their ground defensively, limiting James to just nine points in the entire half and completely shutting him out of scoring opportunities in the final quarter. Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, led the charge with a dominant 32-point, 12-rebound performance. He wasn’t the only one, like Jamal Murray (22 points, 10 assists) and Anthony Gordon (12 points, 11 rebounds) also scored double-doubles, while Michael Porter Jr. came in with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Denver’s dominance extended beyond scoring. They dominated the boards and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds compared to the Lakers’ paltry six, resulting in 18 valuable second-chance points. Furthermore, the Nuggets showed exceptional ball control, committing just four turnovers during the game, while the Lakers coughed up a dozen times, with James himself responsible for a whopping seven.

“I thought we played good ball tonight, it just could have been better. There isn’t much room for error against the Denver team, especially on the home floor. It’s just a team that has been through everything. Obviously they are the defending champions, so you have to execute, you have to shoot, you have to defend. And then you can’t give them any extra assets.” said Lebron James.

A crucial 13-0 run in the third quarter, fueled by 3-pointers from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, consolidated the Nuggets’ control and pushed the lead to 89-74. Coach Malone’s confidence in Michael Porter Jr. paid off as he delivered a strong performance despite a difficult week for his family.

With a target on their back as defending champions, the Nuggets showed their confidence and championship status. They tied a franchise record with 57 regular-season wins, surpassing last year’s total by four. Denver is looking to repeat their title run and based on this performance, they appear to be well on their way. However, the Lakers will be hungry for redemption in Game 2, which takes place Monday night at Ball Arena, where the Nuggets have a formidable 34-8 record this season.