Nikola Jokic Guides NBA Champion Denver Nuggets to 114-103 Victory Over LeBron James and the Lakers in Playoff Opener

Unlike the raucous crowd that drowned out the Los Angeles Lakers’ pregame introductions, the defending NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets, were slow to ignite in Saturday night’s playoff opener.

However, they swiftly picked up their pace, both offensively and defensively, rallying to a 114-103 victory over the Lakers behind Nikola Jokic’s stellar performance, which included 32 points and 12 rebounds. This marked their ninth consecutive win over the Lakers in Western Conference playoff matchups.

Lakers Nuggets Basketball

Although LeBron James showcased his prowess with 19 first-half points, including a remarkable 32-foot pull-up 3-pointer just before halftime, the Nuggets successfully limited him to just nine points in the second half and prevented him from even attempting a shot in the fourth quarter until late.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone emphasized their resilience, stating, “We’re not going anywhere… No team in the playoffs, if you get down 12 early, you’re not going to just take your ball and go home.” Despite facing a formidable opponent, Malone believed in his team’s capabilities and highlighted the competitiveness of the series ahead.

Nikola Jokic leads NBA champ Denver Nuggets past LeBron James and Lakers  114-103 in playoff opener - Yahoo Sports

The Lakers, led by James with 27 points and Anthony Davis with 32, couldn’t match the Nuggets’ collective prowess. In addition to Jokic’s dominant performance, Jamal Murray (22 points, 10 assists) and Aaron Gordon (12 points, 11 rebounds) contributed double-doubles, while Michael Porter Jr. added 19 points and eight rebounds.

Denver’s dominance was further evident in their rebounding superiority, with 15 offensive rebounds leading to 18 second-chance points compared to the Lakers’ six offensive boards. Additionally, the Nuggets committed just four turnovers, showcasing their disciplined play.

In the playoff opener, Nikola Jokic guides the Denver Nuggets to a 114-103  victory over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers – Luxury hair news

Despite the loss, Lakers coach Darvin Ham acknowledged the competitiveness of the series, emphasizing the need to execute and minimize errors in future games.

As the series continues with Game 2 at Ball Arena, both teams are poised for a fierce battle. Jokic expressed the Nuggets’ determination to maintain their home-court advantage, while James emphasized the importance of bouncing back and improving in the next game.

Overall, the Nuggets showcased their resilience and confidence, setting the stage for an intense playoff series against the Lakers.