The Denver Nuggets started their second straight game at Staples Center with excellent defensive possession and a fadeaway from Aaron Gordon to quickly take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers. He found Nikola Jokic on the next possession for a layup before André Drummond hit the paint job with contact. The Nuggets had a few empty possessions before Alex Caruso hit a corner treble to give the Lakers a lead that was quickly followed by a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope treble and an alley layup from Anthony Davis.
Gordon ultimately broke the team’s cold snap with a 1-in-2 performance at the free throw line, but Davis got two more runs at the rim. PJ Dozier punched a triple from the top of the key before Drummond and Jokic traded buckets. Coming out of the Lakers’ timeout, Jokic hit a midrange jumper to bring Denver down to under two. A KCP failure turned into two Jokic points and a draw.
Both teams traded duds before Davis finally got a knockout layup, but Michael Porter Jr. hit a contested treble on Drummond’s outstretched hand just yards behind the 3-point line. Porter followed that up a few minutes later with a blockage on Davis at the rim. A Shaquille Harrison triple increased the lead to four before a Lakers bucket made it a two-run game. It was almost four hours before Davis skied a block from behind on JaMychal Green. Coming out of a dead ball timeout, Green converted a Laker check to two runs on the block.
Montrezl Harrell had two easy points in his match with Dozier, but Green picked up those points straight away. With 2.6 remaining, the Nuggets had an opportunity out of bounds, but Jokic came just short of the 3 point range. The Nuggets led by four points heading into the second quarter.
Javale McGee got the score in the second quarter with a fadeaway jumper over Harrell. A triple Ben McLemore cut Denver’s lead in half. A few possessions later, McGee threw a huge dunk that made them go up by five. Harrell got an offensive rebound and turned into a two-run and a 3-point game to the line. McGee got two more points after Harrell fell. Wesley Matthews was sentenced for an offensive foul after jumping into Dozier, but no points came out of it with the two teams trading turnovers.
McGee hit a shot just outside the paint, which gave him his fourth straight bucket and eighth straight run for the Nuggets. The Lakers hit a long jumper coming out of the break, but Austin Rivers got him back with two quick runs. McGee fouled Davis at the rim, and he converted the game to 3 runs at the line. The two sides traded empty goods before Michael Malone called a time-out to try and give the Nuggets a better look on offense.
Nothing came of it as Davis hit a long two, but Jokic cleared it with a 3-point jump. Davis suffered a rim foul, but he went just 1 of 2 to the line. Jokic had some physical possessions transformed at no point. Following a failure by Dozier, Gordon was rewarded for a block in defense with a massive attacking dunk. Down five, KCP hit a triple to bring the Lakers down to under two.
Facundo Campazzo went 1 of 2 at the free throw line, but the Lakers were within a shot of Davis. KCP was on the line, and he gave the Lakers a lead with a perfect trip. Jokic regained the lead with a hard-won layup at the rim. A Campazzo check went the other way, and Kyle Kuzma hit a corner triple that gave the Lakers a two-point lead. Caldwell-Pope hit two more at the line which gave them the Lakers a 3-point lead. Caruso forced a loose ball that went over the clock, and they lead the Nuggets 45-42 at the half.
Campazzo converted a two-point shot to start the third quarter before Gordon blocked Davis at the other end. The two sides traded empty goods before a Campazzo robbery turned into a dunk for Porter in transition. Davis punched a long 3-pointer, and Denver immediately wiped him out with a midrange jumper before Porter passed Davis for a transition shot out of Campazzo’s third steal of the quarterback. Jokic threw a shot that extended Denver’s lead to four and led to a Lakers timeout.
Gordon helped Caruso, and he knocked down a 3-pointer to bring the Lakers down to one. A tip-in from Jokic gave them a 3-point lead. Caruso went 1 of 2 to the line, and Jokic blocked Drummond at the cut. Jokic was called up for an offensive foul, and Caruso quickly equalized the game at 54 with a clean cut to the rim. Caldwell-Pope went 1 of 2 to the line before Drummond was called for a foul on Jokic on the other end.
Jokic went 2 of 2 to give Denver the lead, and they nearly stretched the lead before Rivers and Porter both fell to the ground on a transition opportunity. The Lakers reversed a 3-point shot to lead 58-56. A 6-2 run stretched that led to six before a Porter’s 1-of-2 display at the line brought Denver down to five. Campazzo followed up a great defensive possession with a 3-point shot from the wing to bring them down to less than two.
Rivers went 1 of 2 to the line with a chance to tie the game. Markieff Morris also split a pair at the charity band. McGee blocked a shot, but Talen Horton-Tucker returned one at McGee’s outstretched hand almost immediately. Javale hit a shot from the free throw line, but Marc Gasol hit a 3-point corner to make it a five-point game with just under 24 seconds left in the quarter.
The Lakers quickly got two points to start the quarterback before Dozier left the game with an apparent hip injury. A quick 5-2 surge saw the Lakers win 10 with just under 10 minutes left in the quarter. Matthews hit a corner triple, and they were working to put the Nuggets on the sidelines as Denver called a quick time out. Both teams traded duds out of the timeout before Jokic hit a long two, but Matthews hit his second straight triple of the quarterback.
Jokic hit another hard-fought jumper, but the Nuggets were still trailing by 12 with less than eight minutes to go. Denver got under 10, but Horton-Tucker hit a tough jumper from the midrange area. A miss from Green resulted in a THT foul driving the rim, and he managed to go 2 of 2, which saw the Lakers move up to 14. Jokic finished 1 of 2 on the other. end. A steal from Porter resulted in two free points before Porter depleted a whopping 3 points that brought the Nuggets down to under eight.
Davis hit a pair of free throws from the line, and MPJ got them back with a powerful dunk. Caldwell-Pope threw the ball out of bounds, and Jokic had two points on Drummond, which took them to under six. Jokic went 2 of 2 to the line, and the Nuggets were down four after a failure by Caruso. Porter’s triple was erased following an interesting foul on Campazzo, but a contested layup brought Denver under two with 1:37 to go.
On a Laker timeout, Davis missed an attempt to stretch the lead. Porter had a contested attempt to take the failed header before Davis hit a 10-foot float to make it a four-point game with 41.8 left to play. Jokic was fouled while heading for the rim, and he went 2 of 2 to the line which had Denver within two. Horton-Tucker had the basketball gods favoring him heavily with the bouncing ball on a wild shot attempt, and the Lakers were leading by four with 15.1 to go. Campazzo saw their shot blocked by Davis on Denver’s final possession, and Denver’s winning streak was halted as they lost 93-89.
Points: Nikola Jokic – 32 ans
Aide: Facundo Campazzo – 8
Rebounds: Jokic – 9
Game player: Nikola Jokic 32 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 against, 12 of 28 goals, 1 of 4 3 points, 7 of 8 free throws