Nuggets Out to Prove They're Ready for Lakers' Defensive Tactics in Game 2
The Los Angeles Lakers might have found a way to slow down Nikola Jokic, but the Denver Nuggets aren't concerned. In Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers put Rui Hachimura on Jokic, allowing Anthony Davis to roam the paint in the fourth quarter and limit Jokic to three points. Although the Lakers managed to cut a 21-point deficit to three multiple times late in the fourth, the Nuggets were still able to walk away with the victory.
"Much [is being] made of them putting Rui Hachimura on Nikola Jokic," said Denver head coach Michael Malone. "Like we have never seen that before." Denver is confident they will be able to counter the Lakers' strategy, having seen similar tactics from Golden State, Philadelphia, and Minnesota in the past.
The challenge for the Lakers now is to get D'Angelo Russell involved, something the Nuggets were successful in making difficult in Game 1. Brown said, "We attacked them, we took D-Lo out the game. That was our goal, to get him involved in everything." Davis, on the other hand, will have to figure out how to help out his team by either guarding Jokic or roaming off-ball but staying with Gordon. "That's why they pay me the big bucks," Davis said. "I got to figure it out. And I got to help everybody. That's my job on this team, to help everyone defensively, protect guys."