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Game thread: Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets

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Will Lakers fans outnumber Nuggets fans at the Can tonight?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After an offensive outburst - and _efensive lack of performance - against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Denver Nuggets look to head into the Christmas holiday on a more positive note when they take on (the old, decrepit, on his last legs) Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. In what could prove to be his final appearance at the Pepsi Center, Bryant headlines a team sporting intriguing youngsters Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and D'Angelo Russell . They also have seasoned veterans Metta World Peace, Roy Hibbert, and Lou Williams. They are also awful.

Denver, who squandered away an opportunity to start the reestablishment of their home court dominance by forgetting what defensive basketball even looked like, needs to suck the life out of the hapless Lakers early. They need to not let Los Angeles feel good about this game at any point. To do that, they need to do a much better job making the Lakers, as coach Michael Malone says, "feel them" on the defensive end. If the Nuggets let the Lakers hang around and ease into the game, they could again be in for a long night. One thing has become clear over the up and down performance of Denver over the first quarter of the season is that the team struggles with consistency - both from game to game, and, more troubling, from quarter to quarter. While this isn't too surprising given the youth of the team and the changes made this past off season, it is an area that will have to change if the team ever wants to move from out of the "bad" NBA team category into the "mediocre but promising" one.