The Denver Nuggets are preparing for the Los Angeles Lakers’ defensive strategy in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. The Lakers put Rui Hachimura on Nikola Jokic in the fourth quarter of Game 1, which limited Jokic’s performance. However, the Nuggets say they know how to counter the tactic, having seen similar strategies in previous rounds. According to Denver head coach Michael Malone, much is being made of the Lakers’ defensive move, but they have seen it before. The Nuggets have a 1-0 lead over the Lakers in the best-of-seven series.
Nuggets Plan to Use Aaron Gordon to Counter Lakers’ Defense
The Nuggets will counter the Lakers’ defensive strategy by spreading things out with shooters and moving Aaron Gordon around. The Nuggets have run on-ball screen actions where Gordon is in the dunker spot 86 times this postseason. The team has averaged 1.30 points per direct pick, scoring eight points off four on-ball screens when Jokic was matched up with Davis with Gordon in the dunker spot. However, the Nuggets did not generate a single point on the five plays where Gordon was in the dunker spot and Jokic was defended by a smaller player with Davis roaming in Game 1.
Nuggets Bracing for Lakers’ Improved Start in Game 2
The Nuggets are bracing for the Lakers to have a better start to Game 2 after they fell behind 30-14 in the first eight-plus minutes of Game 1. The Nuggets are aware of the Lakers’ defensive strategy and are preparing to counter it. Nuggets guard Bruce Brown said that the team’s goal is to make it tough on D’Angelo Russell on the defensive end and to attack him on the offensive end. He added that the team needs to come out and punch the Lakers in the mouth first.