The Los Angeles Lakers lost game two 101-99 in heartbreaking fashion but may have the opportunity to see the loss in a positive light. This was the best game the Lakers have played against the Nuggets in the playoffs since 2020 when LeBron James and the rest of the team went on to win the NBA Finals. 

At one point, The Lakers were even able to hold a 20-point lead. Unfortunately, the Nuggets consistently chipped away at their lead, staying a well-oiled basketball machine behind Nikola Jokic. Joking showed why he is about to be awarded his third Most Valuable Player award in four years, with many fans believing he should have beaten Joel Embiid in voting last year also. The game climaxed with a Jamal Murray buzzer beater, and a frustrated Lebron James due to the outcome and the lack of a foul call when D’Angelo Russell got hit in the head on the prior play. 

The Lakers had their moments, but they failed to consistently play the best defense of any NBA team to beat the Nuggets. It feels like a tall tale for a team that does not have the perimeter defense to be a true contender this season.

“Why do we even have a replay center?” said a very frustrated James. LeBron has achieved many of the accolades available to an NBA player. It’s why he’s reviewed as a top player in the history of the sport, but he cannot seem to get past this Nuggets team. 

jpNnJHK OiNKF5hrqTA7DE12rJhKVCjpRPQOgsEgFK8WImq0YVxY8kGd12oTEoz oEeyQEdOOHgS2HgY2 SKI9Df7h9VVAnfeKr89yUpPwa1v X2COzcQlFr a yMkfiPVpsMeIXYuZ0 yMUFMS Cs

“It’s all about sustainability,” James said. “It doesn’t matter what you can do throughout the first 47½ minutes. You got to close the game, which we didn’t do. We got to do a better job of that. But some of the things that we’ve done over the first couple games, we’re very excited and happy about those.”

The Nuggets showed why no matter what the Lakers do, they seem to be the better team this season, and there is little that 39-year-old LeBron James can do, despite averaging 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists per game. But what James had produced is impressive, especially while Anthony Davis is averaging 32 points and 13 rebounds. 

The Lakers then dropped game three, despite having a small lead at the half. The Nuggets did what they’ve done for the last seven playoff games where these teams have faced off. They decided to win, and they did. 

This is frustrating for Lakers fans around the world, as a lot of the blame falls on the front office, led by Rob Pelinka. Coach Darvin Ham often also shares the blame for a history of poor coaching this season, being disrespected by his players after his malpractice. 

Anthony Davis spoke about Ham, saying, “We have stretches where we just don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor.” 

Ham responded, saying that he will “agree to disagree.” Ham seems to have lost the respect of his locker room as the Lakers do not adjust, and are now down 3-0. Lebron has pulled off miracles before, but it feels unlikely right now to see the first 3-0 comeback in NBA history by an outmatched and outsmarted Lakers team. LeBron may have a few years until retirement, according to Shams Charania, and the Lakers desperately need to make serious changes as James pursues his 5th championship.