For three quarters, the Denver Nuggets outworked and outmatched the Los Angeles Lakers, leading by as many as 21 at one point.
In spite of this, Darvin Ham’s squad was able to claw their way back into the contest and had a chance to tie it with a three-pointer.
Shannon Sharpe thinks Ham and the Lakers should be pretty optimistic about their chances in this series for this reason.
There’s no reason to believe the Lakers can’t defeat the Nuggets in this series, according to Sharpe, who noted that the Nuggets performed virtually perfectly and were still in a position to tie the game.
.@ShannonSharpe says the Lakers should be encouraged after Game 1:
If I m Darvin Ham, I m not going back to the smallish lineup. I m starting Rui; I loved the way he played! pic.twitter.com/iVwhBc7IFH
UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) May 17, 2023
Furthermore, he noted that Ham shouldn’t play the Nuggets in that small lineup again because they have enough of size in Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Jokic and are the greatest rebounding team in the postseason.
He would prefer that Ham stick with Rui Hachimura, who performed a better job of protecting Jokic and offers the Lakers more size to counter the Nuggets’ imposing and physically strong frontcourt.
Even if Austin Reaves doesn’t give them as much on the offensive end of the floor, Hachimura is a big guy who can hold his own better than Reaves and has had some big postseason moments.
The Lakers cannot afford to put themselves in a deficit early in the game once more, despite the fact that they did allow the Nuggets to score 132 points on 54% shooting.