The Denver Nuggets got off to a hot start against the Los Angeles Lakers and led by double digits at half time. Unfortunately, a heavy Lakers whistle and a heavy dose of LeBron James combined with a complete meltdown from Denver ended up making the game do a 180. LeBron got a triple double while Nikola Jokic had a quiet night and the Lakers once again proved to be too much for Denver.
Jokic started the game by feasting on Marc Gasol who could do nothing to stop him. That helped Denver open up a five point lead but LeBron was also playing well which kept Denver from getting ahead by more. Jamal Murray also was aggressive to start with a couple buckets early on. The Lakers hung tough behind LeBron though and the game was very tight when the benches started coming in. Dennis Shroder and Anthony Davis carried the load while LeBron got a rest. Denver’s bench got a boost from Monte Morris and Michael Porter Jr. though to keep them in front. After one it was Nuggets thirty, Lakers twenty-seven.
The bench was filled with energy to start the second quarter and they utilized a 2-3 zone which gave the Lakers some issues. That helped the lead grow for Denver, who got ahead by six behind Morris, MPJ and JaMychal Green. The Lakers pushed back but they couldn’t string together enough baskets to cut into Denver’s lead. Unfortunately right when LA went cold so did Denver so their lead stayed right around 8 for several minutes. The Lakers flat out couldn’t buy a bucket though and eventually the Nuggets lead pushed to double digits. LeBron really was the anyone doing anything for LA, though the TNT announcing crew thought Schroder elevated to all NBA by diving on the floor. The Nuggets offense stalled a bit with the half ending but it didn’t hurt them much. At the close of the second they were still up by a dozen.
JaMychal GR33N got 'em with the fake! pic.twitter.com/U4mGKqJWW2— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 5, 2021
The second half opened with three quick foul calls on Denver in the first ninety seconds including a pair of and-ones for the Lakers. Every single call went LA’s way early in the third and the Nugget lead was down to five forcing Michael Malone to take a timeout. The Nuggets found some momentum behind Murray to hold off the Lakers run and held the lead at five at the halfway point of the quarter. The Lakers weren’t doing much in the way of offense but they got to the free throw line and kept the pressure on Denver. The Nuggets went ice cold with the quarter winding down and a nice fade away from LeBron got the Lakers the lead with a little over a minute to go. The next ninety seconds were the worst Denver’s bench has probably played all season, falling behind by eight on a 15-0 Los Angeles run.
The Nuggets offered no resistance to start the fourth which made Malone call a rage timeout with little over a minute gone in the fourth. The Nuggets play was just sloppy. They’d get a bucket but then fall asleep on defense or turn it over on the other way down. The Lakers lead ballooned to fourteen and it felt like all the air was out of Denver’s sails. Jokic took one last stab at it and got Denver within ten before a Lakers timeout and subsequent 5-0 run pushed the lead right back up again. Lebron threw a few more highlight passes and messed around and picked up a triple double. The deep bench checked in and it was done. Nuggets collapse in the second half, lose 114-93.