Denver Nuggets Hang On for Thrilling Game 1 Win Over Los Angeles Lakers

The Western Conference Finals got off to a rollicking start on Monday night. The Denver Nuggets exploded out of the gate in Game 1, outscoring the Los Angeles Lakers 72-54 in the first half and surviving a nail-biting comeback attempt to secure a 132-126 win.

It was a game of sensational individual performances. Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic restated his case as the NBA's best player, piling up 34 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists on a ruthless 12 of 17 from the field. Jokic announced his presence immediately; he snatched 12 rebounds in the first quarter alone. It was his sixth triple-double of the postseason.

Jokic also got plenty of help. Jamal Murray pitched in with 31 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three key steals, hitting 12 of 20 field goal attempts. He's been effective all postseason and appears ready to be the Robin to Jokic's Batman after a couple of injury-plagued years.

The Nuggets needed every bit of Jokic and Murray's elite performances because the Lakers' stars came to play. Anthony Davis was all but unstoppable, compiling 40 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks while hitting 14 of 23 from the field. LeBron James contributed 26 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists on an efficient nine of 16 field goal attempts. Even Austin Reaves had a game to remember, scoring 23 points while sinking five of nine from behind the arc.

The Nuggets will breathe a sigh of relief as they head home tonight. They nearly squandered a 20-point second-half lead and weathered a transcendent night from Davis, who has struggled to string together dominant offensive games over the past month. Davis has followed each of his three 30-point performances this postseason with 16 or fewer points in the proceeding game. 

The Nuggets will host the Lakers for what promises to be an exciting Game 2 on Thursday at 8:30 PM ET.

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