Lakers defeat Nuggets 120 – 116
Game Notes by Brady Hull
The final game heading into All-Star weekend for the Nuggets proved to be one hell of a contest. The Lakers, the top seed in the West, looked to make up for the loss they suffered against Denver back in December and this time, they would have their best player in the lineup. My four takeaways from our second ‘Game of the Week’.
1: Nikola Jokic forces costly shots: At least twice in the closing minutes, Denver’s All-Star center threw up a couple of crazy shots hoping to draw the foul. However, the Lakers played him smart down the stretch and avoided any late game heroics by the Joker. Perhaps in the future, Denver will focus on taking a better shot oppose to counting on the refs to bail them out late.
2: Jamal Murray playing through the pain: For years we’ve been waiting for Murray to be the second super star and leader for Denver and judging by his February, I’d say he’s answering the call. That being said, he’s playing on a flat tire. His ankle is still giving him fits but somehow, the point guard is ignoring the pain and putting together some of the best games of his career. The All-Star break will be huge for him just before the Nuggets get set for a very important final stretch of the season.
3: The Lakers stars came to play: There was no phoning it in just before the break for the Western Conference’s number 1 seed. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were relentless and both notched 30 plus in a win that will prove to be significant when it comes to securing the top spot in the conference. James is 100% back to being one of the best players in the NBA and the combo of he and Davis will be scary come playoff time.
4: Standing room only: The environment at the Pepsi Center was fantastic. Not only was this game a sell out, fans were actually buying tickets just to get in the door. Standing room only tickets were sold before tip-off. Yes, far too many Lakers fans in the stands (where were those guys last year?) but during a nationally televised game, it was nice to see fans fill the Can on an important night for both teams and, quite frankly, the NBA.
TIP IN: It was a wonderful game that ultimately went to OT. The Joker gave away some late possessions and James was able to come up clutch like we’ve seen SOOO many times. A playoff series between these two teams would be must see tv….let’s hope both units deliver.