Los Angeles Lakers took Game 1 of the series against the Denver Nuggets tonight, beating the rivals, 126-114, after a controversial second period.
The Nuggets were called for 16 fouls in that sequence, and interestingly their best players Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, both got three fouls, having to sit the most of that quarter on the bench.
LAL had 25 free throws during those 12 minutes, and they made a game-defining 17-1 run, which separated them from the rivals and allowed them to control the situation on the court.
“They went to the foul line 24 times in one quarter. 24 times in a quarter, which is an extremely high number. On pace for almost 100. And we were called for 16 personal fouls in that (second) quarter,” said Michael Malone, Nuggets’s head coach.
The Lakers shot 32 free throws IN THE FIRST HALF. Somebody wants to make sure LeBron is in the Finals … and the Nuggets are not.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 19, 2020
Denver’s players were heavily frustrated with the way things developed on the floor, and more so, with the sudden change of criteria. All eyes were on Scott Foster, who himself whistled for a couple of fouls highly controversial.
The halftime result was 70-59 for the Lakers, with the Nuggets regaining a piece of confidence. But that shred of high morale was killed with Jokic’s fourth foul early on into the second half. After that, there was no going back into the game for Denver. Lakers were slowly closing down things, not allowing Malone’s team to feel comfortable on the court at any point.
Anthony Davis was leading the LAL last night, scoring 37 points with 10 boards and four assists, going to the lane 15 times, and making 12 shots. He was also 12-for-21 from the field. The Eyebrow spoke after the game about the fact that LeBron James didn’t win the MVP award, adding that in his opinion , there is no doubt that LBJ should have got the honor.
“He’s the best player in the league… For me, it was clear cut that he was the MVP… If you look around the league at the players, these guys say ‘hey, LeBron should be MVP,'” AD stated.
LeBron didn’t have some mind-wrecking night when it comes to numbers, but he definitely had a big impact on the situation on the court. The four-time MVP added 15 points and 12 assists with six boards, in 31 minutes on the floor.
He also didn’t hide the disappointment for not winning the MVP honors, saying that he feels “pissed off” and mentioning that the criteria for winning the awards, in general, have changed over the course of the years, especially when comparing it to the time once he got to the league.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 18 points, Dwight Howard 13 in 16 minutes, and Kuzma had 11.
Meanwhile, for the Nuggets, both Jokic and Murray had 21 points apiece. The Joker scored that in 25 minutes, had six boards and two assists, while Murray added five dimes. The only one with notable productivity was Michael Porter Jr., with 14 points and 10 boards alongside four assists.
“We’re just going to play through it. We’re going to find a way, and we’re not going to go away so easily,” said Murray, following the match on all the adversities his team encountered tonight, including foul-trouble.
Game 2 is on Sunday night, with the Nuggets trailing once again, as throughout most of these playoffs. They will be fired-up to avenge the loss from the first match, while on the other side, LeBron will try to channel his anger and frustration caused by the MVP voting to show his dominance.
That surely guarantees a spectacle.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.