The Los Angeles Lakers continued their down fall with the worst season in franchise history extending, as they headed to the Pepsi Center to face the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night. The team hoped to break a four-game losing skid.
The Lakers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday, 105-100, dropping their 57th loss of the season, much better than when they faced each other Sunday, 106-78. Jordan Clarkson bounced back from a two-point game to finishing with 20 points in the second. Jeremy Lin did not play and in his place, Jabari Brown, his first-career start, as the Lakers ran an all-rookie backcourt.
The Nuggets (28-49) on the other hand, though winning five out of seven home games, they still have a worst home record with 21 losses since 2002-03.
Despite the falls of this tragic season, the team hopes to improve for a better one next year. The Lakers sit ahead of three teams, maybe four, but the fourth-lowest team has a better chance at the top pick in the draft lottery.
Both teams started off slow and struggled to get shots up on the board. Ryan Kelly managed to dunk the ball with an assist by Jordan Clarkson, as the Lakers are tied at three. Kenneth Faried drove through the middle over Wesley Johnson for a three-point play, as the Lakers trailed, 8-3. With 8:34 on the clock, the Nuggets continued to dominate the Lakers, as Randy Foye knocked in a jumper behind the arc, Denver on an early 11-0 run and are up by 10, 13-3. Kelly sank in a three-pointer to cut the deficit to seven. Danilo Gallinari answered back with a three, back to ten. The Lakers continued to be in foul trouble, giving away free shots and continued to trail in the game. Midway through the first, the Lakers are down by 10, 23-13, after a free throw by Brown. Dwight Buycks sank in a jumper, as the Lakers are down by eight, but Lawson answered back at the other end of the court. Turnovers and missed shot opportunities continued to take control of the Lakers. With 1:46 to play, Lawson, a three-point play extended the Nuggets lead to 11, 35-24. Ed Davis answered back with a three-point play of his own, but Lakers are still down. After two free throws by Buycks, the Lakers made it a two-point game.
Despite a slow first quarter start and the lack of defense, the Lakers headed into the second down by two, 35-33. The Lakers finally led the Nuggets after Robert Sacre and Kelly both made two-point shots. Sacre managed to get two fouls, extending the Lakers lead to four, 39-35, to start the second. With their tenth transition point of the game, Erick Green put in a slam dunk, after a turnover by Sacre, Lakers up by just two, 41-39. Midway through the second, the Lakers led the Nuggets, 45-41. Clarkson got the mid-range jump shot to put the Lakers up by four. A three-pointer by Gallinari tied the game at 52. As the clocked winded down, so did the Lakers defense, as the Lakers trailed, 58-54.
After three free throws by Brown and a jump shot by Clarkson and Kelly, the Lakers jump out to a three-point lead, 61-58, to start the third quarter. Gallinari knocked in a three to tie the game at 61. Lawson drove through the middle of the paint to extend the Nuggets lead, 67-63. Denver continued to take control over the Lakers and push the lead to 12, after another three-pointer by Gallinari, who was wide open. Midway through the third, Foye made shot behind the arc and was answered back by Johnson with the layup, 78-65, Lakers trailed. An alley-oop dunk by Faried from the assist of Foye, as Denver found an offensive rhythm, draining the Lakers energy. Less than three minutes left to play, Faried put in a two-handed dunk, as the Nuggets led by 20, 89-68. With turnovers and bad shots on the Lakers side, they ended the third quarter down 93-70.
Dwight Buycks finished at the rim and drew the foul. Buycks hit the free throw to get the Lakers back within 20. Jabari Brown nailed a jumper, but the Nuggets countered with a shot from Kenneth Faried. Robert Sacre connected on a turnaround jumper, but once again, Faried countered with a bucket of his own. Buycks makes it an 18-point game with a pair of free throws. Gallinari continued to stay hot hitting his seventh three of the night. Rookie Gary Harris threw down a dunk on Sacre giving the Nuggets a 21-point edge. Buycks crosses up rookie Harris and drilled the three giving him a career-high 15 points on the night. Jordan Clarkson hit a floater in the lane. After a pair of easy baskets by the Nuggets, Denver leads by 21 following an acrobatic move from Clarkson. Clarkson makes a nice dish to Davis off a turnover. Clarkson made another free throw to improve his total to 21. Denver closes out the game, 119-101.
Byron Scott On Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis, Jordan Clarkson