With 34 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists, Jokic earned his sixth triple-double of the playoffs, propelling the Nuggets to a 1-0 series lead. Denver defeated the Lakers in the first round of the Western Conference finals for the first time, thanks to Jokic’s hot start and strong finish and Jamal Murray’s 31 points while suffering from an ear infection. After a poor start, Anthony Davis finished with 40 points and ten rebounds, and James had 26 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists.
Photo Cred: Action Network
Austin Reaves scored 23 points and drove Los Angeles’ desperation fourth-quarter run that nearly erased Denver’s 14-point lead after three quarters. Caldwell-Pope led his former squad with 21 points. Michael Porter Jr. got 15 points and ten rebounds, while Bruce Brown chipped in with 16 points.
The Nuggets led by as many as 21, but the Lakers closed to within three points twice in the fourth quarter, once on Reaves’ 3-pointer at 124-121 and again on James’ pair of free throws with 1:12 left. Rui Hachimura guarded Jokic in the fourth quarter, allowing Davis to crowd the area and make it difficult for the Nuggets’ big man to dominate. However, it was insufficient.
Photo Cred: NBC
After Jokic hit two free throws with 26 seconds remaining to give Denver a 131-126 lead, Murray knocked the ball away from James as he was ready to drive to the basket, and Jokic retrieved the loose ball before being fouled with 10.9 seconds remaining. As the seconds ticked away, he buried one of two, and James misfired from three. The Nuggets are now up 2-0 after a 108-103 loss Thursday night at Ball Arena.