When LeBron James was asked about his team being behind down 0-3 in the series and trying to come back to win, he gave a measured response and said it needs to take it one game at a time.
LeBron: "Just gotta get one. One at a time. Just focus on Game 4. That's all you can think about."
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) May 21, 2023
The Lakers played somewhat effectively in the first few minutes of the game, only to fall behind by 14 points in the second quarter. Although they made a spurt to make things competitive in the third quarter and early in the fourth, there was a nagging feeling that they were simply competing with Denver, rather than finding any sort of advantage.
Jamal Murray was unstoppable in the first half with 30 points, and Nikola Jokic took the baton afterward and finished the job. But the Nuggets’ role players were also killers — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 17 points, Michael Porter Jr. contributed 14 points and Bruce Brown went for 15 points off the bench.
With Los Angeles threatening in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets went on a torrid run to put the game out of reach and the Lakers near death.
James shot just 8-of-19 from the field, and he was again unable to hit the 3-point shot with any consistency, missing six of his nine attempts from deep. Many observers and fans begged him to limit his 3-point attempts following Game 2, but he didn’t exactly take that advice.
Just days ago, the Lakers looked like a legitimate championship contender. Now they have been reduced to needing to become the first NBA team to overcome a 0-3 deficit in a playoff series, which seems extremely unlikely given their deficiencies lately.
One of those deficiencies has been the 3-point shot. They made just 31.3 percent of their attempts from downtown, and guard D’Angelo Russell was particularly poor, going 1-of-6 from that distance.