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Recap: Denver Nuggets slip to Los Angeles Lakers on the road

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets started their second straight game in the Staples Center with a great defensive possession and fadeaway jumper from Aaron Gordon to take a quick 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers. He found Nikola Jokic on the next possession for a layup before Andre Drummond hit a shot in the paint through some contact. The Nuggets had a couple of empty possessions before Alex Caruso hit a corner triple to give the Lakers a lead which was quickly followed up by a triple from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and an alley-oop layup from Anthony Davis.

Gordon finally broke the team’s cold spell with a 1-of-2 showing at the free-throw line, but Davis got another two points at the rim. P.J. Dozier drilled a triple from the top of the key before Drummond and Jokic traded buckets. Coming out of a Lakers’ timeout, Jokic hit a jumper from mid-range to bring Denver back within two. A miss by KCP turned into two points from Jokic and a tie ballgame.

The two sides traded misses before Davis finally got a layup to fall, but Michael Porter Jr. hit a contested triple over the outstretched hand of Drummond from a few feet behind the 3-point line. Porter followed that up a few minutes later with a block on Davis at the rim. A triple from Shaquille Harrison stretched the lead to four before a Lakers’ bucket made it a two-point game. It was nearly four before Davis skied for a block from behind on JaMychal Green. Coming out of a dead ball timeout, Green converted a Laker miss into two points on the block.

Montrezl Harrell got an easy two points when matched up with Dozier, but Green got those points right back. With 2.6 remaining, the Nuggets had an out-of-bounds opportunity, but Jokic came up just short from 3-point range. The Nuggets were leading by four points heading into the second quarter.

Javale McGee got the scoring going in the second quarter with a fadeaway jumper over Harrell. A Ben McLemore triple cut Denver’s lead in half. A couple of possessions later McGee threw down a huge dunk which put them up by five. Harrell got an offensive rebound and turned into two points and a 3-point play at the line. McGee got two more points after Harrell fell down. Wesley Matthews was called for an offensive foul after jumping into Dozier, but no points came of it with the two sides trading turnovers.

McGee hit a shot from just outside the paint which gave him his fourth straight bucket and eighth straight point for the Nuggets. The Lakers hit a long jumper out of the break, but Austin Rivers got it back with a quick two points of his own. McGee fouled Davis at the rim, and he converted the 3-point play at the line. The two sides traded empty possessions before Michael Malone called a timeout to try and get the Nuggets into a better look on offense.

Nothing came of it as Davis hit a long two, but Jokic wiped it out with a 3-point jumper. Davis was fouled at the rim, but he went just 1-of-2 at the line. Jokic had a couple of physical possessions turn into no points. Following a miss by Dozier, Gordon was rewarded for a block on defense with a huge dunk on offense. Down by five, KCP hit a triple to bring the Lakers within two.

Facundo Campazzo went 1-of-2 at the free-throw line, but the Lakers were within one off of a make from Davis. KCP was at the line, and he gave the Lakers a lead with a perfect trip. Jokic got the lead back with a hard-earned layup at the rim. A miss from Campazzo went the other direction, and Kyle Kuzma hit a corner triple which 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 ran out 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 on the other end. The two sides traded empty possessions before a Campazzo steal turned into a dunk for Porter in transition. Davis drilled a long 3-pointer, and Denver wiped it out right away with a mid-range jumper before Porter powered through Davis for a shot in transition off of Campazzo’s third steal of the quarter. Jokic tipped in a shot that stretched Denver’s lead to four and lead to a Lakers’ timeout.

Gordon helped off of Caruso, and he knocked down a 3-pointer to bring the Lakers within one. A tip-in from Jokic gave them a 3-point lead. Caruso went 1-of-2 at line, and Jokic blocked Drummond at the cup. Jokic was called for an offensive foul, and Caruso quickly tied the game at 54 with a sharp cut to the rim. Caldwell-Pope went 1-of-2 at the line before Drummond was called for a foul on Jokic at the other end.

Jokic went 2-of-2 to give Denver the lead, and they nearly stretched the lead before Rivers and Porter both went tumbling to the floor on a transition opportunity. The Lakers knocked down a 3-point shot to make their lead 58-56. A 6-2 run stretched that lead to six before a 1-of-2 showing from Porter at the line brought Denver within five. Campazzo followed up a great defensive possession with a 3-point shot from the wing to bring them within two.

Rivers went 1-of-2 at the line with a chance to tie the game. Markieff Morris also split a pair at the charity stripe. McGee blocked one shot, but Talen Horton-Tucker flipped one over the outstretched hand of McGee almost immediately. Javale hit a shot from the free-throw line, but Marc Gasol hit a corner 3-pointer to make it a five-point game with just under 24 seconds remaining in the quarter.

The Lakers got a quick two points to start the quarter before Dozier exited the game with an apparent hip injury. A quick 5-2 spurt had the Lakers up by 10 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the quarter. Matthews hit a corner triple, and they were working on putting the Nuggets away as Denver called a quick timeout. The two sides traded misses out of the timeout before Jokic hit a long two-pointer, but Matthews hit his second straight triple of the quarter.

Jokic hit another contested jumper, but the Nuggets were still trailing by 12 with under eight minutes remaining. Denver got within 10, but Horton-Tucker hit a tough jumper from the mid-range area. A miss from Green ended up with THT getting fouled driving to the rim, and he was able to go 2-of-2 which had the Lakers’ lead up to 14. Jokic went 1-of-2 on the other end. A steal from Porter resulted in a free two points before Porter drained a huge 3-pointer that brought the Nuggets within eight.

Davis hit a pair of free throws from the line, and MPJ got them right back with a powerful dunk. Caldwell-Pope threw the ball out of bounds, and Jokic got two points on Drummond that brought them within six. Jokic went 2-of-2 at the line, and the Nuggets were within four following a miss from Caruso. A Porter triple was wiped away following an interesting foul called on Campazzo, but a contested layup brought Denver within two with 1:37 remaining.

Out of a Laker timeout, Davis missed an attempt to stretch the lead. Porter had a contested attempt to take the lead miss before Davis hit a 10-foot floater to make it a four-point game with 41.8 remaining. Jokic was fouled heading towards the rim, and he went 2-of-2 at the line which had Denver within two. Horton-Tucker had the basketball gods favoring him heavily with the ball bouncing his way off of a wild shot attempt, and the Lakers lead by four with 15.1 remaining. Campazzo had his shot blocked by Davis on Denver’s final possession, and Denver’s winning streak was snapped as they lost 93-89.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic - 32

Assists: Facundo Campazzo - 8

Rebounds: Jokic - 9

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic 32 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 12-of-28 field goal, 1-of-4 3-point, 7-of-8 free throw