Photo: Spectrum SportsNet/X screenshot

Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-103 defeat against the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs, Lakers legend James Worthy criticized the team’s performance, particularly highlighting the disastrous third quarter, which the reigning NBA champions won 32-18.

Despite a strong start from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who combined for 59 points, the Lakers faltered in the second half, allowing the Nuggets to rally behind Nikola Jokic’s standout performance.

Worthy emphasized the importance of maintaining focus and valuing possessions, especially in critical moments of the game. He pointed out the Lakers’ lack of maturity and discipline, particularly in handling the ball and executing on offense.

The Lakers legend highlighted a pivotal sequence in the second quarter where the Lakers squandered their lead due to careless play. He stressed the need for the Lakers to learn from their mistakes and maintain composure under pressure.

“To me until the Lakers understand the value of possession in that second quarter they had a nice lead. And then all of a sudden they forgot the value of possession. I think Denver tied it and LeBron hit that big three. To me that was where the game turned,” Worthy said on Spectrum SportsNet.

Worthy praised the Nuggets for their cohesion and maturity, noting their ability to capitalize on the Lakers’ mistakes and control the tempo of the game.

“The third quarter from that point Denver felt like the third quarter was theirs,” he continued. “They had comeback and they had tied the Lakers, they hit a big three to go up three. And then in the third quarter you saw the maturity of a team that knows how to play together. They value every possession like it’s their last.

“So when you have a lead and you start being frivolous and telegraphic passes, and turn the ball over really not good basketball, not mature basketball, you don’t value the basketball, that’s what happens. And when you give them that momentum, third quarter was a disaster.

“I don’t know if the Lakers stopped thinking they could win, I don’t know what happened, but more turnovers, lackadaisical movement on offense, ISOs, turnovers. And then they just swept your leg at that point.”


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