West Notes: Nuggets, Nikola Jokic, Lakers, LeBron James


Coach Michael Malone told reporters he wasn’t too concerned when the Nuggets fell behind vs. the Lakers in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

“We’re not going anywhere,” Malone said. “This is the playoffs. No team in the playoffs, if you get down 12 early, you’re not going to just take your ball and go home. We still have plenty of fight left in us and we know that we were better than what we were playing early.

“That’s a good team over there. They came into the playoffs playing extremely well, and they showed it. (LeBron James) was on course, I thought he’s about to have 50 points tonight, the way he was playing and shooting the ball.”

  • That said, Denver limited James to just nine of those points in the second half.
  • Not surprisingly, Nikola Jokic paced the Nuggets with 32 points and 12 rebounds. But they had two others with double-doubles, and almost three.
  • That would be Jamal Murray (22 points, 10 assists) and Aaron Gordon (12 points, 11 rebounds), and Michael Porter Jr., who came close with 19 points and eight boards.
  • Jokic on the win: “To be honest, we are desperate, too. We don’t want to lose at home, I think every game is going to be interesting. So hopefully we are going to match and be even more physical than them.”


The Lakers haven’t beaten the Nuggets since Dec. 16, 2022. They had their chances in Game 1, but just couldn’t close.

“I thought we played some good ball tonight, just could have been better,” James said. “You don’t have much room for error versus Denver’s team, especially on their home floor. They’re just a team that’s been through everything.

“Obviously, they’re the defending champions, so you gotta execute, you gotta make shots, you gotta defend. And then you can’t give them extra possessions.”

James added he’s not thinking about last season’s sweep in the Western Conference Finals, or perhaps even the Lakers’ lengthy losing streak vs. Denver.

“I don’t ever get into the ‘here we go again’ mindset,” he said. “One game, they protected their home court. We have another opportunity on Monday to come back and be better.”

  • Anthony Davis gave a strong showing with 32 points. James scored 27, including 18 in the first half to give the Lakers some early momentum.
  • Coach Darvin Ham to reporters: “Everybody’s going to lose their mind over one game, and give them their credit, they held serve at home. They’re a tough home team, tough to beat in general, but they’re really good at home. … (But) we did a lot of good things out there tonight.”

Related | Trash talk nowhere to be found for Nuggets, Lakers this time

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply