The Los Angeles Lakers tried playing small ball versus the Denver Nuggets’ jumbo lineup, and it apparently didn’t go over well.
Mike Malone’s team dominated the Glass early in the game, grabbing nine offensive rebounds in the first 11 possessions of Game 1.
Nikola Jokic was close to a double-double early in the game, getting whatever he wanted against the Lakers’ three-guard lineup.
That’s why Shannon Sharpe believes the Lakers can take Game 2 by making some minor adjustments.
“If they don’t make it easy for Jokic, the Lakers will find a way to win this game.”
@shannonsharp Predicts what Game 2 will look like for the Lakers pic.twitter.com/diTHt82YRI
— undisputed (@undisputed) May 18, 2023
Per Sharpe, Darwin Hamm needs to start either Rui Hachimura or Jared Vanderbilt to better match up with the Nuggets’ size.
In addition, he expects the Lakers to be more aggressive, crash the glass, and limit the Nuggets’ second chance opportunities to make it a close game.
Sharp pointed to the fact that the Nuggets were accurate on the boundary line through the first three quarters of Game 1, yet the Lakers had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets were up 18 points at halftime and led by 21, so losing by only six points to the Lakers was a big win, at least in terms of morale.
It’s hard to play better than the way the Nuggets played for the better part of the game, but they need to maintain that same intensity for 48 minutes.
The Lakers have enough resources on the bench to counter the Nuggets’ size.
Then again, Jokic has been unstoppable, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do against a player like him.
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