Keys to must-win Game 3 for Lakers

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Lakers head into their first home playoff game after dropping both games in Denver. Heading into Game 3, some adjustments will need to be made to get back into the series.

It was a heartbreaking loss in Game 2, as Jamal Murray hit a mid-range shot at the buzzer to give the Nuggets a 101-99 win.

The Lakers controlled the game through midway into the third quarter, but Denver began to rally back. They cut the lead to ten entering the fourth quarter, resulting in a win down the stretch for the Nuggets.

With a crucial must-win Game 3 on the horizon, it’s time to delve into the keys that will pave the way for the Lakers to get back in the series.

Play all 48 minutes

Despite losing the first games in this series, the Lakers should have some confidence going into this game. They have played exceptionally well, but it has been the fourth quarter that has been the difference.

The Purple and Gold have let games slip late due to careless basketball on both ends of the floor. They need to improve their offense down the stretch. In Game 2, Anthony Davis was dominant, finishing with 32 points on 14-19 shooting. However, in the fourth quarter, Davis only attempted one shot. 

LA needs to do a better job of feeding the hot hand so they can match Denver down the stretch when they are at their best.

Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura step up

Another thing that the Lakers need is two key role players, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, to step up. 

Reaves finished Game 2 with nine points on 4-11 shooting and 1-5 from three. Hachimura was even worse, with three points on 1-7 shooting and 0-2 from deep.

If the LakeShow is going to win Game 3 at home, they need Reaves and Hachimura to play at the level that they are capable of.

This is a must-win game for the Lakers, as falling down 3-0 would be nearly insurmountable. Look for the Purple and Gold to come out focused as they try to make the series 2-1.

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