The Los Angeles Lakers continued their skid as they lost to the Denver Nuggets, 128-104.
With LeBron James out of the starting lineup, the Lakers initially struggled to score in the half court as the Nuggets packed the paint with defenders and forced them into long jumpers. Rajon Rondo then sparked an 8-0 run midway through the first quarter and capped it with a three to give Los Angeles the lead.
Kyle Kuzma made his return to the lineup and immediately picked up a block on Michael Porter Jr. while Alex Caruso recorded two quick steals to ignite the break. Anthony Davis cleaned up a Kuzma miss from three and the Lakers went into the second up 28-23.
Los Angeles opened the quarter with an all-bench lineup that did a good job of keeping pace with Denver offensively and maintaining their slim advantage. Kuzma finally got into a rhythm scoring the basketball as he was able to nail a pair of running floaters just inside the paint on consecutive possessions.
Despite the team’s shooting woes, they were able to manufacture points as Dwight Howard and Rondo earned several second chance opportunities they manage to capitalize on. However, Paul Millsap was able to get going a bit and the Lakers went into the half down 55-53.
Los Angeles had a sloppy start to the third quarter as they committed three turnovers that allowed Denver to get out in transition for a few easy scores. An overturned goaltending call that went in the team’s favor eventually led to a Danny Green corner three but the Nuggets responded with a 12-0 run to take control of the game.
With the game getting out of hand, Davis and Kuzma went to work on the offensive end but Los Angeles had trouble containing Denver as they were in a good offensive rhythm. With nothing going on either end, the Lakers went into the fourth quarter down 78-91.
Davis returned to the game after briefly exiting in the previous quarter due to a knee injury, but Denver continued to shoot well from the field and extended their double-digit lead. The Lakers could not get out of their own way as they committed several more careless turnovers as the Nuggets swarmed them along the perimeter.
Los Angeles managed to knock down a pair of triples to cut into the deficit, but the Denver lead was too much to overcome and they eventually dropped their third straight game.