DENVER — Just when you think Nikola Jokić couldn't possibly be any more valuable, he does what he did Tuesday night.
Jokić, who missed out on a third-straight NBA MVP earlier this month, was without question the most important asset for the Nuggets as they edged the Lakers in a 132-126 win.
The Joker finished the game with a triple-double (34 points, 21 rebounds, 14 assists) as Denver won the first game of the Western Conference Finals at Ball Arena. The Nuggets are now 9-4 in the postseason and are undefeated on their home floor.
"He makes it really simple and makes it look miraculous at the same time," Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon said of Jokić. "It's ridiculous."
Jamal Murray was also impressive with 31 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr. added 21 and 15, respectively.
The Lakers' Anthony Davis led all scorers with a game-high 40 points, and LeBron James recorded a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds.
"I'd rather clean things up after a win in the Western Conference finals than after a loss, so I will take it," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "But much work to do."
The Nuggets, however, dominated the glass and finished the game out-rebounding Los Angeles 47-30.
Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (MT) on Thursday night at Ball Arena.
PHOTOS | Nuggets vs. Lakers in Game 1
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