LeBron James moved past Michael Jordan and into fourth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, but it was otherwise another disappointing night for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 115-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
James went into the night needing 13 points to pass Jordan, which he accomplished in the second quarter, en route to finishing with 31.
Although Lance Stephenson returned from a sprained toe that forced him to miss three games, the Lakers remained without Lonzo Ball, Tyson Chandler, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. For Kuzma, it was the start of what could be a week-long absence as he recovers from a sprained ankle.
The Nuggets, losers of three in a row, were hot out of the gate thanks to consecutive 3-pointers by Will Barton. They were buoyed by James missing his first shot and four free throws in pursuit of history.
The Nuggets shot 63 percent in the first quarter and led 43-25 heading into the second. James’ achieving another personal milestone coincided with the Lakers going on a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to 13 points.
Denver responded with a run of their own to take a 17-point lead into halftime. When the Nuggets stretched their lead out to 23 points, Lakers head coach Luke Walton turned to a lineup that comprised of Johnathan Williams, Rajon Rondo, Josh Hart, Wagner and Alex Caruso.
The group managed to get the Lakers back into the game and cut it to one possession early in the fourth quarter. Although the lineup scrapped to keep it close, they never managed to get over the hump, even when James entered the game.
Gary Harris rescued the Nuggets by scoring 11 straight points, putting the Lakers in a 100-91 deficit.
Reminder: Vivid Seats is the Official Ticket Reseller of LakersNation.com. New Customers use “LAKERSNATION” (all CAPS) in the Vivid Seats App on your phone and get 10% off any Lakers home game ticket order for the remainder of the season.