Nuggets Take Control in Western Confernece Finals as Former Laker Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Comes up Clutch

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a deep hole in the Western Conference finals against their former teammate, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP was sent to the Nuggets from the Lakers in a mid-season trade and has been an integral part of Denver's success in 2021. During the coronavirus pandemic, Caldwell-Pope fondly remembers staying connected with his former teammates, saying, “If we weren’t with each other, we were in the group chat. We were really close.”

In Saturday's Game 3, Caldwell-Pope scored 17 points and had a key steal late in the third quarter to help Denver take a 3-0 series lead. He was joined by another offseason acquisition, Bruce Brown, who taunted the Lakers bench with his famous 'ice-water-in-my-veins' motion after a backbreaking 3-pointer. The Nuggets have been able to stay healthy and together over these two seasons, while the Lakers have spent a lot of energy trying to replicate their championship run from 2020. As Caldwell-Pope described it, "We have that resilience, that dog mentality, where no matter if we’re up or down, we’re going to continue to fight and play our game.” The Lakers must now muster the energy to come back in this series in order to stay alive.