Lake Buena Vista (USA), Sep 19 (EFE) .- Star forward LeBron James, who plays his first Western Conference finals with the Los Angeles Lakers, was confident in the way the team responded to the strategy of the Denver Nuggets in the opening game of the best-of-seven series they won 126-114.
“It took us the first quarter to realize how they faced the game. I’m not saying we fully understood them because it is too early in the series to say that, but we started to feel better,” he said.
James, 35, who finished with a double-double of 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, explained that the key to the victory was in the best defensive rhythm they put in from the second quarter.
“We just started to have a better defensive rhythm and did some very good markings in the second quarter, which allowed us to reach a comfortable lead with which we came into the break (70-59),” James said.
The star forward of the Lakers, who hours before the game had known the bad news of having been second in the vote for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, which was won by Greek power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, for the second time in a row, admitted not having assimilated it in good taste.
“I have to admit that I feel angry to receive only 16 votes compared to 85 for Giannis (Antetokounmpo),” said James.
Center Anthony Davis, who finished as the Lakers’ leader with a double-double of 37 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, also appreciated the MVP choice.
“Definitely, the news did not like (James) and touched him in self-esteem. He went out to the field on fire, as if he had a chip on his shoulder and if he had to prove something,” he said.
However, the Nuggets didn’t think James’ “anger” at not winning the MVP award was a factor that hurt them.
“It has nothing to do with it,” said Canadian point guard Jamal Murray, who scored 21 points, as did Serbian center Nikola Jokic, as the leaders of the Nuggets. “We know how the whole series is going to be.”
Murray recalled that his team is the youngest in the NBA, that they have no experience in this type of competition, but that they would learn soon, especially in terms of the personal fouls that were pointed out in the first half and that conditioned their performance.