The LA Lakers failed to secure a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets. It saw them get dominated throughout Tuesday’s contest behind effort and energy in a game that was never in their control. Despite that, star LeBron James managed to do something that no player in Lakers history has accomplished before.
Lakers fall in Game 3 to the Nuggets
The Lakers entered Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals with an opportunity to grab a 3-0 series lead over the Nuggets.
However, Denver responded significantly by playing like the team with their backs against the wall. They came out firing on all cylinders behind their collective output, which led to them outworking LA with their effort throughout much of the game.
The Lakers cut the once 20-point second-half deficit to three late in the fourth quarter, but it was as simple as too little too late. The Nuggets responded late in the game behind Jamal Murray hitting two huge 3-pointers to put the game out of reach. Denver dominated LA in rebounding, holding a 53-34 edge, which saw Anthony Davis recording his only two rebounds in the contest in the fourth quarter.
It also featured the Lakers struggling from 3-point range, hitting just 23.1% from distance. The Nuggets had a near triple-double effort from Murray, while Jermani Grant played a substantial offensive role with 26 points. Despite the loss, LeBron James achieved something that has never been done in Lakers’ history.
LeBron James achieves a first-ever feat in Lakers history
It was a disappointing performance from the Lakers that saw them fail to take advantage of the opportunity to secure a command 3-0 series lead.
The game did feature some strong statistical performances, including LeBron James posting a triple-double with 30 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. It marked his third triple-double of this year’s playoffs, and also made him the first player in Lakers history to post multiple 30-point triple-doubles in the same playoffs, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
James has been one of the driving forces that have guided the Lakers toward a deep playoff run. He has continued to establish his dominance when it comes to the postseason as he’s averaging a near triple-double with 25.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 8.8 assists while shooting 55.4% from the floor.
LA will need James to remain a prominent factor on both ends of the court to lead the franchise a step closer to competing for an NBA title.
Lakers hoping to bounce back in Game 4
The Lakers took a step back in Game 3 that saw the Nuggets dominate much of the contest.
Denver controlled the pace and flow, but most importantly, played with more effort and energy. That guided them to a much-needed win in the series in what, in many ways, was their Game 7. The Nuggets have the star power with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, showing that they are unwavered regardless of the situation.
They may have youth in their side, but they are a battle-tested team that has experienced three postseason series that have gone to Game 7 in the last two years. The Lakers may have control in the overall series standing, but the Nuggets could quickly build on their momentum to take command of the Western Conference Finals.
It puts a great deal of importance on Anthony Davis to be aggressive from the get-go with his scoring and contribute significantly on the glass. LeBron James also holds a massive responsibility in that regard to guide the Lakers forward. All of that sets up a crucial Game 4 on Thursday night that will tilt the series in either direction.