The Los Angeles Lakers got off to an easy victory in game one of the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets, winning 126-114 in the early hours of Saturday.
Lakers have started slowly in the previous two rounds but appeared in a hurry with big man Anthony Davis notching 37 points and 10 rebounds while LeBron James added 15 points and 12 assists.
The top-seeded Lakers opened a double-digit lead in the first half that they easily extended in the third quarter.
James had finished behind Giannis Antetokounmpo in the voting for the regular season MVP and acknowledged being “pissed off” at receiving just 16 first-place votes to Antetokounmpo’s 85 from a panel of global sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, and the Nuggets may have felt the wrath of that.
“It definitely sparks him and like he got a chip on his shoulder like he’s got something to prove,” Davis said.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points and Dwight Howard rejoined the rotation with 13 in a powerful return to the conference finals for the Lakers, who hadn’t been to the NBA’s final four since winning their last championship in 2010.