Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores a basket against Nic Claxton #33 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of the game at Arena on November 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


  • The Los Angeles Lakers nearly pulled off a comeback victory in Game 1
  • Allowing Anthony Davis to be the main star on both ends of the floor will be key in Game 2
  • The Lakers supporting cast will have to play even better

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals saw the Denver Nuggets put on a masterclass on both offense and defense for the better part of three quarters, but the Los Angeles Lakers somehow stormed back midway through the third quarter.

With a Nuggets lead ballooning to as high as 21 points, the Lakers were able to chop it down to 14 entering the final frame–still a significant lead, but not entirely insurmountable.

The Lakers scratched and clawed their way towards possibly pulling off the upset, but it was not meant to be as a missed LeBron James three-point attempt fell short, leading to Nikola Jokic shooting free throws that iced the game.

Understandably, Denver fully leaned on the great play that Jokic has been giving them in the postseason and it led to him ending the night with a triple-double of 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists.

Jamal Murray's 31 points were just as crucial in getting the win, but Michael Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown made a joint effort to score 52 of their 132 points.

Despite the comeback falling short, the Lakers can take solace in the fact that head coach Darvin Ham may have found a way to break through in Game 2.

As previously discussed, Anthony Davis is going to be the main factor for the Lakers' chances of winning the series in its entirety and he proved why in Game 1.

Playing almost 42 minutes, Davis logged 40 points and 10 rebounds while shooting at a blistering 60.9% from the field while making a lone three-pointer plus made all of his 11 free throws.

Expecting him to go shot-for-shot against Jokic throughout the course of a game is moot since the Serbian big man has been simply too great in the playoffs, but"The Brow" did make Jokic work for his shots most of the time.

Jokic still went 12-of-17 from the field, though credit goes to Davis for registering a blocked shot on the two-time MVP in the second quarter, further proving that his defense will hold up as best as it can against a force of nature.

Other Lakers who shined are Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.

The former played an important role in leading the charge back which led to his 23-point outing while the latter's 17 points off the bench gave Los Angeles time to rework a better strategy.

Heading into Game 2, Ham will need to ask for an all-time performance once again from Davis while Reaves and Hachimura need to be consistent.

As for James, nothing much else can be asked from him other than providing veteran leadership while knocking down the dribble pull-up three that he loves to do.

However, D'Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder will need to play a lot better in Game 2 as them logging eight and six points respectively, while Davis and James expend more energy to score, is not a sustainable way for them to win the series.

Los Angeles almost had the game in the bag had they locked in defensively earlier, but there is a chance for them to rectify their mistakes in Game 2.

Tying the series up before the series heads to Los Angeles is very fathomable, but the Lakers will need to leave everything on the floor lest they stare at a two-game deficit.

Game 2 takes place on Thursday, May 18 at 8:30 PM ET on ESPN.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Indiana Pacers
#6 LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during a game. Reuters