The two-time MVP had 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists in 42 minutes.
“I mean, he’s a two-time MVP,” Davis said. “He’s very skilled, obviously as his numbers show. Made some tough shots. Just try to make it tough for him. Switching up matchups and schemes on him, but he’s been playing well through the entire season and especially in this playoffs. So you tip your hat to him.”
Jokic shot 12-of-17 from the field, 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in Game 1. The future Hall of Famer had a plus-minus of +11 and helped the Nuggets defeat the Lakers by a final score of 132-126.
Denver will look to take a 2-0 series lead in Game 2, which is on May 18. Los Angeles hasn’t lost two games in a row in this postseason.
Anthony Davis Talks About Nikola Jokic’s Buzzer Beater
Jokic hit a tough 3-pointer over Davis at the buzzer to end the third quarter and all Davis could do was smile and walk away.
“I just looked at him and just smiled,” Davis said. “There’s nothing else I could have done. 40 feet away from the basket, one dribble, kind of throws it up and it goes in. So it was definitely one of them nights, but we’re encouraged about the second half of the game and things we can get better at and make some adjustments going into Game 2.”
Davis was a monster in Game 1 for the Lakers. The eight-time All-Star and Chicago native had 40 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 42 minutes while shooting 14-of-23 overall and 11-of-11 from the charity stripe. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, Davis’ incredible night wasn’t enough to prevent the team from falling behind in a series for the first time in this postseason.
The Lakers Lost Game 1 in the First Half
The Lakers lost Game 1 in the first half. They were outscored by the Nuggets 37-25 in the first quarter and 35-29 in the second quarter.
Los Angeles played better in the second half, outscoring Denver 38-34 in the third quarter and 34-26 in the fourth quarter. The purple and gold need to start Game 2 strong if they want to have a chance to even up this series.
“It took us a half to get into the game,” Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James said after Game 1. “And that was pretty much the ballgame right there. They punched us in the mouth to start. … I know the game is won in 48 minutes, but they set the tone in 24 minutes and we were playing catch-up for the next 24.”
James, 38, had 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in Game 1. The four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP has only lost one conference finals series during his legendary career.
The Lakers beat the Nuggets in the 2020 Western Conference Finals at the Walt Disney World bubble in five games, but this Denver team is much better than the 2020 squad.