Before this summer, nobody was more associated with a 3-1 lead than LeBron James and the Warriors. Of course, you probably saw a million bad jokes on Twitter about how Denver is in a good spot, but this is a LeBron-led team here and the Lakers pulling out a big adjustment really gives them the upper hand. Plus, this is the 19th game for the Nuggets compared to 15 for the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers (-6) vs. Denver Nuggets, 9:00 pm ET
Team Totals: Lakers 110.3, Nuggets 104.3
Injury News: Anthony Davis (ankle) is questionable (more below), Danny Green (finger) is probable, LeBron James (groin) is probable, Dion Waiters (groin) is questionable, and Will Barton and Vlatko Cancar remain out.
AD Injury Note: Coach Frank Vogel said AD is experiencing soreness on Friday, but he is “good to go” for this one. LeBron is also dealing with soreness from a knee to his thigh, but he’s also good to go.
Lakers Expected Starters: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard
Nuggets Expected Starters: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic (note: Malone is stubborn on lineup changes, but there’s a good chance he starts Michael Porter Jr. over Harris.)
Lakers Rotation Notes: JaVale McGee still got a six-minute stint in the second quarter, Dwight saw some time in the second quarter (starting center usually doesn’t), KCP and Rajon Rondo picked up most of the closing minutes with Alex Caruso and Markieff Morris splitting the remaining ones (AD and LeBron out there, obviously), Danny Green subbed in a little later than usual in 2Q for the Dwight minutes.
Nuggets Rotation Notes: Gary Harris’ minutes were cut and he didn’t play in the fourth, Monte Morris played most of the final 16 minutes, Jamal Murray played the final 30, Grant had a 21-minute stint (including halftime), Millsap and Michael Porter Jr. had some overlap in the fourth (not in first three Q), four minutes of Mason Plumlee with Nikola Jokic in G4.
Vogel Quotes: He said that LeBron asked to guard Murray, and added “obviously I granted it.” Vogel said LeBron “did a great job down the stretch” on guarding Murray after “nothing was really working to slow him down.” He said the Lakers paid more attention on the glass, and they were more committed to crashing the boards while also driving hard to the paint on the offensive end. Vogel said AD’s start was “off the charts,” and he showed toughness to play through the ankle injury. Vogel said Dwight “obviously” helped with his energy, and he added the “team commitment” was much better throughout the game. He said the lineup change was “something that we could always go to” as they feel out a series. He said the Lakers wound up AD to crash more on the offensive glass.