The Denver Nuggets came out in the first quarter of Game 1 with an absolutely massive first period for the second game in a row. They put up 37 in the quarter, against a Los Angeles Lakers’ squad that was number one in the playoffs in defensive rating entering the game. They shot 50 percent from the floor in the first, and their lead was up to as many as 16 at one point due in large part to their rebound advantage where they were up 22-7 at the end of the first quarter with Jokic grabbing 12 of those by himself en route to a 37-25 first-quarter lead.

In the second quarter, with Jokic on the bench to start the quarter, the Lakers went on a run. The Nuggets got their lead to 15 on a couple of occasions, but Los Angeles continued to battle back. They got the score to within nine at one point, but the Nuggets went on a run over the course of the second half of the quarter. Largely led by Jokic and Murray, Denver continued to add to their lead, and, thanks to some hot shooting, they were leading 72-54 at the half, with Jokic nearing another triple-double through one half of play.

Coming out of the half, the Nuggets looked poised to deliver a death blow to the Lakers with Murray putting on a shooting clinic to start the quarter. After leading by as many 21 in the period, the Lakers started working their way back into the game with Denver struggling on the offensive end while Anthony Davis was carrying a decent offensive load. However, late in the period, Jokic looked like he wasn’t content with the way things were going. He got a couple of baskets to fall, and he punctuated the quarter with an absolute miracle of a triple despite Davis being right up in his face to stretch the lead back out to 14 with Denver leading 106-92 at the end of the quarter.

The Nuggets started the fourth quarter slow with Jokic on the bench, and they let the Lakers crawl back into the game again. They were outscored by six in less than two minutes of game time, and that prompted Michael Malone to get Jokic back into the game. The two sides traded baskets, but the Nuggets were getting the lead built back up again. They were up 118-104 with around seven minutes to go in the game. Over the next few minutes, we saw a continued back and forth with the two sides trading baskets, but neither team was gaining an advantage over the other. However, with around five minutes to go, the whistle started working against the Nuggets, and the game was beginning to tighten up with the Lakers getting to within nine at the 4:39 mark. Over the next two minutes, every call that could go against Denver was going against them, and it was punctuated by Austin Reaves’ fourth triple of the night to bring the Lakers within three with 3:22 remaining. A mad scramble for the ball ended up in the hands of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who hit Murray who found Aaron Gordon for a dunk, but the Nuggets promptly gave up a triple at the other end. There was no separation for either side before Jokic hit a pair of free throws with 26.3 seconds left in the game. Murray got his third steal of the game with 18 seconds left, and the Nuggets went 1-of-2 at the line to make it a six-point game with 10.9 to go. The Nuggets secured the defensive rebound to end the game, and they would hang on to win 132-126.

Stat Leaders

Points:Β Nikola Jokic – 34

Assists:Β Jokic – 14

Rebounds:Β Jokic – 21

Player of the Game:Β Nikola Jokic – 34 points, 14 assists, 21 rebounds, 12-of-17 field goal, 3-of-3 3-point, 7-of-8 free throw