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Preview: Nuggets look to give better effort in Game Two

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After a Game One loss where everything went the Lakers way, the Nuggets will look to pick up their first series win.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game One Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Nuggets find themselves in familiar territory in the playoffs, having lost their first game to a Los Angeles basketball team once again.

The Lakers dominated the Nuggets in every aspect of the game in the first meeting between the two teams, coasting to a 126-114 win. LeBron James only had 15 points in the win, but with 12 assists, his impact on the game was impressive. His First-Team All-NBA teammate Anthony Davis had 37 points and 10 rebounds, and was a difference maker on defense even without registering a block or a steal.

The Nuggets offense struggled to find success against the Lakers defense, being deterred inside the paint by the Lakers two seven-foot bigs that they can play in Davis and Dwight Howard or former Nuggets center JaVale McGee. The Nuggets struggled to find the ball movement that helped them to a series win against the Clippers, with only 23 assists on 41 made field goals.

Both series this year have been defined by how well the Nuggets have responded to the punches that their opponents have throw early. While that has meant they’ve lost three games in each series, maybe the Nuggets will be able to adapt to the Lakers schemes in the next game and figure out a way to even the series.

The Basics

Who: Los Angeles Lakers (1-0) vs Denver Nuggets (0-1)

When: 5:30 PM ET

How to Watch: TNT

Rival Blog: Silver Screen and Roll

Projected Matchups

Matchups

POS LAL DEN EDGE
POS LAL DEN EDGE
PG LeBron James Jamal Murray Lakers
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Gary Harris Nuggets
SF Danny Green Jerami Grant Nuggets
PF Anthony Davis Paul Millsap Lakers
C JaVale McGee Nikola Jokic Nuggets
BENCH Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris, Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard Monte Morris, Torrey Craig, PJ Dozier, Mason Plumlee, Bol Bol Nuggets

Injuries: Will Barton (out - knee)

Three Things to Watch

Can the Nuggets make 3-pointers? If the Nuggets aren’t going to have double-digit makes in this game, write it off as a guaranteed loss. It’s going to be difficult to find open looks with the Lakers length, but the Nuggets have to find a way to put points on the board if the space around the rim is going to be occupied by Anthony Davis and JaDwight McHoward. If Nikola Jokic goes zero for zero again from behind the arc, then they didn’t learn anything from the first game.

Can the Nuggets force the Lakers to take 3-pointers? The Nuggets are going to have to live with the occasional layup or dunk from James and Davis during the game. They’re too talented to not be able to get what they want from opposing defenses and the referees. But the Nuggets need to make it a point of emphasis to make it difficult to score inside for those two players, as well as the rest of the Lakers roster. Make the Lakers shoot 3-pointers to put points on the board, and they might have a chance.

Defensive rebounding. Ten offensive rebounds for the Lakers is brutal, because that’s 10 misses that the Nuggets could have turned into opportunities for them to score. Both the starters and reserves need to make sure to give the Lakers as few opportunities as possible to get a second shot, especially with their size, because it’s really likely going to wind up in a layup or wide open 3-pointer.

Prediction

Lakers 120 - Nuggets 106.