Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Nuggets – Game 3 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (43-39) | Denver Nuggets (53-29)


For the first time this postseason, the Los Angeles Lakers lost at home with their 119-108 Game 3 defeat to the Denver Nuggets, dropping the series at 0-3.

The Lakers vs Nuggets played at the Arena on Saturday.

Lakers vs Nuggets LeBron James
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

Jamal Murray scored 37 points (15-of-29 FGs, 5-for-11 3s), while Nikola Jokic added 24 points (9-of-19 FGs, 2-for-5 3s), six rebounds, and eight assists, as the Denver Nuggets rolled to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals with a 119-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jokic was far from his usual dominant self while mixed up in foul trouble, and despite cooling off in the second half, Murray’s scorching first half put the Nuggets in the driver’s seat early.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 12 of his 17 points (6-of-10 FGs, 4-for-7 3s) in the second half against his former team, pushing Denver to the closest they’ve been to the NBA Finals in 47 years in the league.

I learn a lot about this team every time we play,” Caldwell-Pope said. “We have that dog mentality where no matter if we’re up or down, we’re going to continue to fight and play our game and do it at a high level. We’re going to continue to do that for the rest of these games.”

Jamal Murray went berserk

Anthony Davis had 28 points (11-of-18 FGs, 6-for-8 FTs), 18 rebounds, and two blocks for the Lakers, who haven’t lost three straight games since early February.

The start of the Lakers vs Nuggets’ first half. 

Lakers vs Nuggets Jamal Murray
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

They’ve been at the top of the food chain for a reason and have a plethora of guys that can hurt you, as was on full display tonight,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “But you know, circumstances are what they are. Difficult, but not impossible.”

LeBron James hit three 3-pointers after starting the series 0-for-13 from distance, finishing the game with 23 points (8-of-19 FGs, 3-for-9 3s), seven rebounds, and 12 assists. Austin Reaves added 23 points (7-of-10 FGs, 3-for-5 3s), seven rebounds, and five assists. Rui Hachimura was the only other Lakers scorer to crack double figures with 13 points.

Obviously, right now you’re pissed off,” Reaves said. “But our back has been against the wall the last two months, probably more than that. We can either come out Monday and go home, or we can fight for another day. With the group of guys, we got, I know what that answer will be.”

The Lakers didn’t get enough out of Reaves. D’Angelo Russell took too many touches from him, and James should have deferred much more as he has in past games to Reaves.

Denver picked up where they left off in the fourth quarter of Game 2, as they led the Lakers 20-9 halfway through the first quarter.

The end of the Lakers vs Nuggets’ first half. 

Murray had 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting in the first half alone. However, Los Angeles was able to hold him to 2-for-7 from the field to end the half.

The start of the Lakers vs Nuggets’ second half. 

Lakers vs Nuggets Anthony Davis
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

After Denver stretched the lead to nine, Los Angeles responded with a mini-run to cut it back to three points.

Reaves’ 3-pointer tied the game at 71-71, giving Los Angeles a chance to take their first lead since the first half of the first quarter.

A three from Hachimura gave the Lakers their first lead, 85-84, since the first quarter.

Jokic looked worn out in the first half. However, it looked like he found a second wind, going from nine points, six assists, and four boards in the first three quarters to 15 points, two assists, and two boards in the fourth quarter alone.

The Lakers lost for the first time in Los Angeles since March 26th. Denver had an answer to everything the Lakers had tried against them. Things look bleak, as no team has returned from a 3-0 series deficit.

The deficit is 3-0, not 4-0,” Ham said. “As long as they haven’t gotten to 4 yet, there’s still hope. We’re still alive. Just need to take it one game at a time.”

The circumstances are what they are,” Ham added. “Difficult, but not impossible.”

The final score of the Lakers vs Nuggets was 119-108, Nuggets.

The Lakers will take on the Denver Nuggets on Monday, May 22, at 5:30 pm PST.


– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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