Denver Nuggets crush Lakers again, Darvin Ham cops crowd chants as LA near NBA playoff elimination

The Denver Nuggets rallied to push LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers to the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs as pressure built on under-fire coach Darvin Ham.

The defending champion Nuggets erased a 10-point first-quarter deficit to beat the Lakers 112-105 in Los Angeles.

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Aaron Gordon scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic added 24 points, another 15 boards and nine assists for the Nuggets, who took a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series.

No NBA team has ever rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series.

“We’ve got to figure out how to get one (win) to stay alive,” Ham said.

But the Nuggets have now won 11 straight games against the Lakers, including their sweep in last season’s Western Conference finals.

“I don’t think it is necessarily about our opponent,” Gordon said.

“I think it’s about what we do and who we have as our guys in our locker room.

“We just focus on being great each and every night and let the results take care of itself.”

The Nuggets have been particularly effective in third quarters this series, outscoring the Lakers by 31 points.

“Our third quarters have been atrocious,” Austin Reaves said.

“If we want to find our way back into this one we have to be good in all four quarters, but especially that third quarter.”

Down by four at halftime, the Nuggets pulled away relentlessly in the third quarter and were never really challenged in the fourth.

“It’s a make or miss league,” said Ham, who faced “Fire Darvin” chants as the result in yhet another clash with Denver became clear.

Anthony Davis scored 33 points and pulled down 15 rebounds and James scored 26 points with six rebounds and nine assists.

But D’Angelo Russell went scoreless, missing all seven of his shot attempts, and Davis had just three points in the final period.

Jamal Murray, who made the buzzer-beating game-winner in the Nuggets’ crushing 101-99 Game 2 victory, added 22 points and nine assists and Michael Porter Jr. chipped in 20 points and 10 rebounds for Denver.

Originally published as Another ‘atrocious’ third quarter leaves Lakers on the brink

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