Although center Nikola Jokic scored 32 points, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets 93-89. Every Lakers player who checked into the game scored and five players scored in the double digits.
“We played Lakers’ basketball,” forward Anthony Davis said. “We’re running, we’re helping each other. We’re talking, we were sharing the basketball. We did everything that Lakers’ basketball consists of.”
The match up marks the night were center JaVale McGee received his 2020 NBA championship ring. McGee hopes the ring presentation will let his new, young teammates know they too can win a championship.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t strive to do things just because they never seen it,” McGee said. “It gives a lot of people hope.
The physicality of the Lakers bested Denver, the reigning NBA champions executed five steals and eight blocks during the contest. On offense, they landed 13 three-pointers; center Marc Gasol landed three of them. He has been more aggressive each time he is on the hardwood. Gasol calls this victory “a team effort.”
“It’s more of who we are as a team and who we’re gonna be. Everyone is tied to one another,” Gasol said. “When you go out there, you try to do as best as possible to help the team because if you help the team, more times than not, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Davis led the Lakers with 25 points and three blocks. His final block—with seconds left in regulation—sealed the Lakers’ victory.
“This was the first game since he has been back that he was really, really decisive, especially early in the game,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “I thought he set a great tone for us.”
Davis helped the Lakers make a 12-8 lead in the first quarter. Forward LeBron James and guard Dennis Schröder was unable to compete. Like most teams in the NBA, the Lakers endured through the uncertainties of injuries along with health and safety protocols that go along with COVID-19. For guard Wesley Matthews, this unpredictable season has taught him patience.
“It’s made me a strong believer in faith. You can’t see it; faith is blind, but you know it’s there,” Matthews said. “You got to keep doing what got to do.”
The Lakers will battle the Clippers on May 6 and 7pm.