THE Denver Nuggets prepare for the Los Angeles Lakers facing a 2-0 deficit in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night (Wednesday in Manila) at AdventHealth Arena near Orlando.
A series deficit is par for the Nuggets’ course this postseason.
The Nuggets have been the king of comebacks in their two earlier series this postseason, rallying from 3-1 deficits to advance at the expense of Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers in the first two rounds.
“We’re a group of guys that hate to lose,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
The Nuggets lost 126-114 in Game 1 of the best-of-seven and came within seconds of a get-even win in Game 2, falling 105-103 when Anthony Davis buried a contested 3-pointer just before the final horn.
The back-to-back wins give the top-seeded Lakers a 2-0 lead in a playoff series for the first time since 2012, when they still needed seven games to discard Denver in the first round.
The Lakers haven’t lost a best-of-seven in which they led 2-0 since the 1969 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
The last time Denver moved on after falling behind 2-0 was in 1994 in the memorable best-of-five, first-round matchup with Seattle. The Nuggets were the No. 8 seed and the SuperSonics were No. 1.
Malone left the court Sunday night believing another comeback remained a possibility.
“Some guys like to win, some guys hate to lose,” he said. “One thing I know about our group: Even though we are disappointed, frustrated, angry, we’ll use that motivation to come out and try to take Game 3.”