The Los Angeles Lakers played their second preseason game Friday night at Staples Center when they hosted the Denver Nuggets. Here is our recap of the game:
Both teams started out a bit sloppy, but the first score of the night was a three-pointer by Lou Williams, who started over Jordan Clarkson for the second consecutive game. Will Barton tied the game at three with a three-pointer of his own two possessions later.
The teams then exchanged baskets until the game was tied at 11 with just under eight minutes remaining in the first when the Nuggets went on an 8-0 run to take a 19-11 lead. The Lakers starters looked out of sync, and defensive miscues and turnovers were frequent. D’Angelo Russell finally ended the Denver run by hitting a three-pointer of his own, his first of four on the night.
The Lakers closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 37-32 lead fueled by Clarkson who scored five of the team’s final seven points. Tarik Black and Larry Nance Jr. also made a big impact with their defensive energy off the bench.
The Lakers picked up their play in the second quarter, led by Clarkson, who had 15 points and four steals on the night. In the final six minutes of the quarter, the Lakers held the Nuggets to just four points while scoring 17 of their own taking a 58-49 lead into halftime.
Russell led the Lakers with 19 points in the first half, while Julius Randle led the team with four rebounds.
Nick Young started the second half in place of World Peace, logging his first minutes of the preseason. After the game, coach Luke Walton said that swapping out World Peace for Young at halftime had been his pre-game plan.
Williams hit another three-pointer to open up the third quarter. The veteran guard finished with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes, but he struggled on his defensive rotations. Julius Randle played with great energy, pushing the ball up the floor with every opportunity and finding teammates like Ivica Zubac and Timofey Mozgov for easy finishes in transition.
Los Angeles took a 80-72 lead into the fourth quarter, where head coach Luke Walton gave a lot of the team’s young players possibly fighting for a roster spot an opportunity to finish out the game. Brandon Ingram picked up his first two field goals as a Laker, as he had a dunk and banked in a three-point attempt to give him six points on the night.
The Lakers held a nine-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the contest, but the Nuggets closed the game on a 19-4 run led by the Nuggets two first round picks from the 2016 draft, Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley. Murray had 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting. The Lakers lineup to finish the game consisted of Julian Jacobs, Anthony Brown, Travis Wear, Thomas Robinson, and Yi Jianlian, and the game broke down and got sloppy as players hunted for their own shots. Still, overall it was a solid performance from the Lakers, who dropped to 1-1 in the preseason.
Russell led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with four rebounds and five assists.