The Denver Nuggets almost blew another game to the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday night. After a gut-wrenching loss on Sunday night where the Nuggets gave up a buzzer-beating three to Anthony Davis to go down 0-2, the Nuggets were playing for their season. They were able to jump up big on the Lakers in the third quarter, maintaining a double-digit lead over Los Angeles with Jamal Murray and Jermai Grant leading the way for Denver. But, with the fourth quarter winding down the Lakers switched to a zone that befuddled the Nuggets and allowed Lakers’ Rajon Rondo and LeBron James to get steal after steal cutting the lead to as little as four points after it had been as high as twenty.

The Nuggets held on to win 114-106 and extend a series that likely would have been all but over with a loss. “Maybe they can beat us by 20, 30, they can beat us by a last shot, but we just cannot quit,” Nikola Jokic said. “Effort needs to be there.” Jokic, who has been excellent this postseason, had a lackluster performance for his standards putting up a 22-10-5 with five turnovers in a sloppy game. The Nuggets have shown an ability to get back in any series after coming back from down 3-1 in back-to-back series. But the longer this series goes the Lakers have to be careful. They are an older team and many of their players were visibly exhausted by the end of the game and the young legs of the Nuggets can survive these bigger minutes loads better than the Lakers.

Never bet against LeBron James, ever. But it felt like the Lakers left the door open just a crack on Tuesday with their inability to complete their comeback and likely get a long rest before the Finals starts, with Heat-Celtics looking like a long series. They still have the better team with the best two players, but if another player not named LeBron or Anthony fails to show up then the Nuggets may have a real shot now.

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