Lakers look to even series; steal home-court advantage
The Lakers lost in Game 1 and now look to even the series tonight before going back home to Los Angeles. This is the first time this postseason that the Lakers are trailing in a series.
LA trailed for most of the game and had to play from behind. Coming into Game 2, the Lakers need to come out strong and not look back. Denver is a tough team that is great on both ends of the floor, so this game will be challenging as Denver looks to keep their undefeated home postseason record intact.
The Lakers made some adjustments in the second half, where D’Angelo Russell only played 10 minutes, and Rui Hachimura stepped up in his place. According to Chris Haynes of TNT, Darvin Ham is “considering” placing Rui Hachimura into the starting lineup tonight.
If he is inserted into the starting unit, who will it be in place of? Will Dennis Schroder move back to the bench, or will Russell lose his starting job? The Nuggets have a big starting lineup, and it makes sense to insert Hachimura into the lineup.
Rui Hachimura had a big impact defensively in the series opener.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 17, 2023
Should he be in the starting lineup come Game 2? 👀 pic.twitter.com/TDZ4ls6j5Q
Hachimura did a great job defending Jokic in the second half of Game 1, even though it was a small sample size. On six possessions, Jokic did not score and committed two turnovers. Head Coach of the Denver Nuggets, Mike Malone, had something to say about that statistic prior to Game 2.
"There's this kind of discussion being based [on that] even though the Lakers lost, they're walking out of here, they think they've got something," Malone said. "I'll bet you every red penny I have that Darvin Ham would rather be up 1-0 than down 0-1.”
Darvin Ham seemed to feel very “comfortable” with the defensive adjustments that were made in the second half defending Jokic and just the overall defense. “It has to be done by committee and you have to switch up. You have to switch up matchups at times and you have to switch up coverages….Gave us a chance to get back into the game, and you know, it’s one of the things we know if we need to go back to it, it’s there”, Ham said.
“We’ll be okay. Trust me.”— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) May 17, 2023
Darvin Ham after Game 1 loss 👀 pic.twitter.com/3ibjQZsy2l
Game 2 is pivotal in the series as the Lakers do not want to head back to LA trailing the series 2-0. They have to play to their strengths this game, force turnovers, and run in transition.
The Nuggets will come out ready to play, and the Lakers need to be as well. The Lakers have not lost back-to-back games this postseason, and hopefully, that will not start tonight. Tip-off between the Lakers and the Nuggets is tonight at 5:30 pm PST.