NBA: Lakers still in control despite Game 3 loss, assures Davis


Posted at Sep 23 2020 04:21 PM

Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant (9) fouls Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) as he shoots during the first half of game three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Anthony Davis is confident that the Los Angeles Lakers can recover after a 114-106 defeat to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, thanks to Davis' game-winning three-pointer in Game 2, but they were unable to carry that momentum into Tuesday's game in Orlando (US time). Instead, the Nuggets led by as much as 20 points in the fourth quarter before the Lakers mounted a huge rally.

They came to within three points but big plays by Jamal Murray down the stretch kept Denver in control and denied the Lakers a come-from-behind win.

"We're still up 2-1. We have control of the series," Davis said afterward.

Nonetheless, he acknowledged that they have to play much better after getting out-rebounded, 53-34, and turning the ball over 16 times. It also didn't help that LA missed 20 of the 26 three-pointers that they attempted in the game.

"We just got to come out in Game 4 and play our style of basketball. Can't turn the ball over. Can't put them on the line," said Davis, after the Lakers allowed Denver to shoot 29 free throws, of which they made 23.

"Our defense was great in the fourth quarter. We got to be able to do that for all four [quarters], all 48 minutes," he stressed. "We can't not play in the first three and then expect to win a game in the fourth."

Prior to this loss, the Lakers won six consecutive contests -- including a comfortable 126-114 victory in Game 1 of the series. Davis said they needed to get back to the style that had worked for them in previous contests, which entailed aggression on both ends of the floor.

"If we come out and play our style of basketball, you know, pushing the pace and being scrappy and being the aggressors, especially on defense, we'll be fine," he said.

Davis also knows that it has to start with him. The big man scored 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, missing all four of his three-pointers. More concerning was his rebounding numbers -- Davis only grabbed two boards in the game.

Los Angeles' other big men -- Javale McGee and Dwight Howard -- only had one rebound each.

"Have to do a better job on the glass personally. I can't have two rebounds for an entire game," said Davis. "I might be better in that aspect, but unacceptable. I mean, there's not really much I can say. I just have to do better."

Game 4 is set for Monday, Manila time.