The Los Angeles Lakers struggled in a number of areas during Tuesday's 114-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, but no shortcoming was as apparent as the rebounding disparity.
Denver enjoyed a 44-25 rebounding advantage in large part because Lakers big man Anthony Davis grabbed only two boards. Starting center JaVale McGee finished with one, while Dwight Howard added one off the bench.
LeBron James (10) was the only Laker to finish with more than four rebounds.
"I have to do a better job on the glass," Davis said, per Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet. "I just have to be better."
Davis grabbed double-digit rebounds in all five games of Los Angeles' second-round series against the Houston Rockets and finished the first two contests against Denver with a combined 19. He is one of the better rebounders in the league, finishing 18th in the league during the regular season with 9.3 boards a night.
However, Nikola Jokic, who had 10 rebounds, and the rest of Denver's frontcourt dominated the boards. Even point guard Jamal Murray chipped in with eight rebounds.
Despite the rebounding disparity, the Lakers still had an opportunity to win the game down the stretch.
They dialed up the defensive intensity with James, Rajon Rondo and Davis spearheading a matchup zone that continued to force turnovers. Los Angeles trimmed a 20-point deficit to as little as three in the fourth quarter before Murray drilled two critical three-pointers and assisted a Paul Millsap dunk in the final three minutes.
If Davis and the Lakers rebound better during Thursday's Game 4, they may not need a frantic comeback like they did in Tuesday's contest.