Nuggets still in control of Lakers series, but 1 stat is cause for serious concern

Apr 27, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) shoots against
Apr 27, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) shoots against / Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Even after falling in Los Angeles on Saturday night, the Nuggets lead their first-round series against the Lakers three games to one. The Lakers forced an extra game, but ultimately the Nuggets will likely finish off the gentlemen’s sweep on Monday night. Nobody thinks the Nuggets are in any real trouble.

But there has been one concerning trend that has been apparent in this series and could come back to haunt them down the road against stiffer competition. That’s the three-point shooting by the Nuggets. As a team, they’ve made just 27.6% of their attempts from long-range over the four games in this series.

3-point shooting woes for the Nuggets

That mark is well below league average and well below the Nuggets regular season, when they shot 37.4% as a team, good for 10th in the NBA. It’s almost seven percentage points below the Portland Trail Blazers who were the worst three-point shooting team in the league this year at just 34.5%.

In the postseason they’ve only made 34 of their 134 attempts. Digging in a little deeper, this comes despite the fact that Michael Porter Jr. has been hot, making 15 of those threes and doing it on 44% three-point shooting. Take him out of the equation and things are looking extremely bleak. 

This isn’t going to bite the Nuggets in this series, but it definitely could later on in the playoffs. The Nuggets aren’t one of the more reliant teams on threes, but it’s still an important part of their offense - and the NBA in general. If they get smoked from the three-point line by a good team, that’s going to be hard to make up.

The Nuggets need a hot hand

The team has plenty of good shooters who are struggling; Jamal Murray especially has had a very tough go of it. The team needs to find their shooting form before it’s too late or this could become a fatal flaw. 

Along with Murray, the bench has struggled from deep and Aaron Gordon is yet to make one in the whole series. The Nuggets don’t need the entire team to catch fire, but they are definitely going to need somebody to hit some shots and change the math before it’s too late.