Nuggets clip Lakers in Sport 1 because of Nikola Jokic’s triple-double
DENVER — Nikola Jokic recorded his sixth triple-double of those playoffs with 34 factors, 21 rebounds and 14 assists, powering the Denver Nuggets to a 132-126 win over the Los Angeles Lakers within the opener of the Western Convention finals on Tuesday evening.
Behind Jokic’s scorching begin and robust end, and Jamal Murray’s 31 factors, Denver beat the Lakers within the opener of the West finals for the primary time ever.
After a gradual begin, Anthony Davis had 40 factors and 10 rebounds, and LeBron James completed with 26 factors, 12 boards and 9 assists. Austin Reaves chipped in 23 factors and fueled L.A.’s determined fourth-quarter run that just about erased Denver’s 14-point cushion after three.
The Nuggets led by as many as 21 however the Lakers pulled inside three factors twice within the fourth quarter, as soon as on Reaves’ 3-pointer at 124-121 and once more on James’ pair of free throws that made it 129-126 with 1:12 remaining.
After Jokic sank two free throws with 26 seconds left to provide Denver a 131-126 lead, Murray poked the ball from James as he was about to take it to the ring and Jokic gathered the free ball earlier than being fouled with 10.9 seconds left.
He sank one among two and James misfired from 3 because the seconds ticked off.
Sport 2 is Thursday evening at Ball Area, the place the top-seeded Nuggets are 7-0 within the playoffs and 41-7 general, the perfect dwelling document within the league this season.
Jokic mentioned a day earlier that the Nuggets desperately wanted to keep away from following within the sneaker-steps of the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, each of whom dropped their dwelling opener to the Lakers and wound up dropping in six video games.
Furthermore, James has received his final 20 playoff sequence during which his workforce has received the opener.
The Nuggets hadn’t taken Sport 1 in opposition to the Lakers since 1979, after they received the opener of the best-of-3 sequence solely to lose the following two. That’s the closest the Nuggets have ever come to eliminating the Lakers, who’ve overwhelmed Denver thrice within the West finals, together with within the Florida bubble in 2020.
Flashing his MVP credentials in a surprising show of energy within the first quarter, Jokic pulled down a dozen boards and dished out 5 assists to go along with eight factors. That made him the primary participant since at the least 1997 to have a dozen or extra boards and at the least 5 assists in any quarter of an NBA playoff sport.
The Lakers used an 11-2 run to chop the deficit to 11 factors earlier than Jokic responded with an off-balance 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Davis that hardly fluttered the online on the buzzer, leaving Davis to trudge again to the bench in disbelief.
The “Joker,” who missed out on his third consecutive NBA MVP award this yr when he was edged by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, had 19 factors, 16 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks by halftime because the Nuggets took a 72-54 lead into the locker room.
Jokic outrebounded the Lakers by himself 16-13 within the first half and the Nuggets beat L.A. within the opener of a playoff sequence for the primary time in eight tries.