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Lakers dominate Nuggets in Game 1 of Western Conference finals

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The Los Angeles Lakers rolled into a 126-114 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

The Lakers looked strong in the opening game of their first WCF since 2010.

Anthony Davis had 37 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 10 rebounds and 4 assists, LeBron James added 15 points and 12 assists.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points and Dwight Howard rejoined the rotation with 13 in a powerful return to the conference finals for the Lakers, who hadn’t been to the NBA’s final four since winning their last championship in 2010.

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The closest the Nuggets came to evening the score was when they cut the lead to nine points midway through the third quarter. The Lakers responded with a 10-2 win.

The Lakers took control in the second quarter after a close first, opening up an 11-point lead going into halftime.

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The Lakers recorded 33 assists in Game 1, their most assists in a game this postseason They shot 19-24 on uncontested shots off passes, including 7-8 on uncontested shots off passes from James.

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Dwight Howard had quite a game as well, scoring 13 points while missing just one shot and contributing to a strong defensive effort against Nuggets star Nikola Jokic. Jokic finished with only 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, well below his standards in recent games.

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray each scored 21 points for the Nuggets, playing in the conference finals for the first time since the Lakers beat them in 2009.

Lakers are 9-2 in this postseason having lost their series openers in the first round and in the conference semifinals. Los Angeles shot a whopping 24 free throws in the first half — more baskets than either team made in the half – led 70-59 at the break.

Rajon Rondo moved into the top-10 for all-time NBA playoff assists with his 9 assists in the game.

Denver overcame 3-1 deficits against Utah and the Clippers, becoming the first team to do that twice in postseason to reach the Western Conference finals.

Nuggets’ coach Michael Malone thought that Anthony Davis’ performance separated the two teams on Friday night: “We have to do something different with him. It was too easy for him tonight. He did not feel us. Over 48 minutes, we can’t play him the same, give him the same look.”

The Nuggets looked even worse in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers, and we all know how that ended. However, the Lakers are a different team, and you have to wonder how long a battle plan built basically on nonstop adrenaline can work out.


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