The Nuggets used great shot selection, hard-nosed defense, and great bench play to open up an 18 point lead on the Lakers in the 2nd Quarter. Without Anthony Davis on offense and Dwight Howard on defense, the Lakers would be down by more than just 10 at the half.
The Nuggets shot 56% from the field and 40% from behind the arc in the first half. Denver also out rebounded the Lakers, 23-11. By keeping the ball in the hands of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have been able to get easy baskets throughout the first half. The only Laker that has been productive on defense has been Dwight Howard. He was able to neutralize Jokic and keep him from getting into the paint.
To make matters worse, when the Nuggets did miss, Denver was able to grab 7 offensive rebounds.
As Frank Vogel told his players during a timeout, they were being outplayed by the Nuggets. He was exactly right. The Lakers look like they were going through the motions on defense and the Nuggets capitalized.
The bright spot for the Lakers is that despite being completely outplayed by the Nuggets in the first half, they are only down by 10 at the break. The Lakers will need to bring a better effort on defense for the final 24 minutes.
Offensively, the Lakers are going to need more output from LeBron James, for he only has 10 points at the half. They will also need a better effort from the supporting cast in the second half if they plan on catching the Nuggets. However, if the Nuggets continue to play with a sense of urgency in the second half, the Lakers do not stand a chance.