Lak­ers look to re­gain con­fi­dence

Daily Southtown - - Scoreboard - By Brian Ma­honey

The Nuggets don’t sound like an un­der­dog.

Ja­mal Mur­ray be­lieves they should be lead­ing theWestern Con­fer­ence fi­nals. They aren’t, though they say there is still a long­way to go in the se­ries.

If the Lak­ers don’t start play­ing bet­ter, theNuggets might be right. Out­played for much of the last 11⁄

2 games, the top-seed­edLak­ers look to re­gain con­trol of the se­ries when the teams play Game 4 on Thurs­day night.

The Lak­er­swere care­less­with the ball and not dis­ci­plined enough on de­fense in Game 2, when they needed An­thony Davis’ 3-pointer as time ex­pired to avoid a loss. In­stead of cut­ting down on their turnovers and fouls, the Lak­ers re­peated them in­Game3, help­ing theNuggets build a big lead on their way to a 114-106 win that cut the Lak­ers’ lead to 2-1.

“It’s not go­ing to be win­ning in­gre­di­ents for us if we con­tinue to do that andwe knew that. Even af­ter Game 2, we talked about that,” LeBron James said. “Got to be bet­ter than that Game 4.”

The third-seeded Nuggets have been be­hind by two games in all three play­off se­ries, so they were stung but not sunk when Davis de­nied them in Game 2. They came back and con­trolled much of Game 3 and re­sponded with poise af­ter their one faulty stretch, when the Lak­ers cut a 20-point deficit to three.

“This gives us that much more con­fi­dence go­ing into this se­ries, let­ting them know that we’re here, we’re in this for the long haul,” Nuggets coach MichaelMal­one said

The Lak­ers eas­ily re­cov­ered from their other two losses in the play­offs. They dropped Game 1 against the Trail Blaz­ers in the first round and won the next four. When they lost Game 1 again in the sec­ond round against the Rock­ets, they fol­lowed with six straight vic­to­ries, so aren’t go­ing to over­re­act to an­other de­feat.

“We’re still up 2-1. We have con­trol of the se­ries,” Davis said. “We’ve just got to come out in Game 4 and play our style of bas­ket­ball.”

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