The Denver Nuggets easily could have run away with Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after they built an 18-point halftime lead. The Los Angeles Lakers had other plans. A furious fourth-quarter comeback brought them within three points, but the Lakers couldn’t quite get over the hump. Now Denver leads the series 1-0, but the Lakers proved that they will not go down without a fight.
This series will be competitive, and that just makes the buildup to Thursday’s Game 2 all the more exciting. Here’s how you can tune in as the Lakers try to even the series at one game apiece.
Lakers at Nuggets – Game 2
- Date: Thursday, May 18 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Ball Arena — Denver
- TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
- Live updates: Follow along
- Odds: Nuggets -5.5; O/U 226.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Lakers: The Lakers started Game 1 small, with Dennis Schroder joining Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell in the opening five as he did to end the Warriors series. That lineup got destroyed, and the Lakers found success with Rui Hachimura playing in the closing lineup and defending Nikola Jokic. Will Darvin Ham go to that look right away in Game 2? Or will he bring Hachimura off of the bench and tinker with some other methods of slowing Jokic?
Nuggets: Denver’s offense was excellent in Game 1. Its defense? Not so much. The Lakers played bully ball all night against the weaker Nuggets defenders. Anthony Davis scored 40 points. LeBron James had 26 largely by switch-hunting Jamal Murray. Even Hachimura got in on the fun. The Lakers are bigger and stronger than the Nuggets in many spots, and they are far more reliant on offense near the rim. So how do the Nuggets adjust? Can they find ways to keep the Lakers from dominating their mismatches?
The Nuggets are now 7-0 at home this postseason and 41-7 in Denver overall. Yes, the Lakers closed the gap late in Game 1, but they also showed Denver some of their best adjustments in the process. Now the Nuggets will be prepared for the Hachimura matchup on Jokic, and they’ll have plans to limit what James can do as a switch-hunter offensively. Denver has been the best team in the Western Conference all season, and until someone beats them in their building, they deserve to be favored in all home games. The Pick: Nuggets -5.5