Alex Caruso Energizes Lakers En Route To Impressive Road Win Against Nuggets
Alex Caruso, Lakers
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets, 120-116.

LeBron James came out aggressive to begin the game, attacking the paint and bullying his defender but the Nuggets captured the early lead after knocking down a pair of threes. Nikola Jokic had his jumper going as he was able to take advantage of the open space that the Lakers were giving him.

Denver pushed the basketball up the floor off of Los Angeles misses and extended their lead, but Avery Bradley quickly answered with a 5-0 run. The Nuggets responded with several uncontested baskets underneath the rim and the Lakers found themselves down 31-23 at the end of the first quarter.

Los Angeles found their range from distance at the start of the second quarter as they were able to nail three of their attempts, but had trouble stringing together stops on the defensive end. The Nuggets got hot from beyond the arc themselves as the Lakers were undisciplined in sticking with their shooters.

Anthony Davis and Alex Caruso provided a much-needed boost on both ends as they made plays and were able to cut into the deficit midway through the quarter. Caruso and Dwight Howard‘s energy down the stretch was infectious and helped give the Lakers a 61-55 lead going into the locker room.

Los Angeles came out much more active to begin the third quarter as they hounded Denver on the defensive end and got good looks on offense, including a thunderous dunk from James. However, the Nuggets immediately went on an 11-0 run capped by a Jokic three to tie the game back up.

Howard was a major lift for the Lakers as he provided great one-on-one defense on Jokic and earned several trips to the free-throw line thanks to his activity near the basket. Despite that, Jamal Murray led the Nuggets on a 7-0 run and the Lakers went into the fourth quarter down 87-84.

Much like the beginning of the night, James was in attack mode as he was able to get out in transition for a few easy baskets. However, the game tightened up as the referees allowed both sides to play more physically with Denver taking advantage.

The Nuggets were able to create some separation after a Murray three and Gary Harris layup, so the Lakers responded by going small and were able to tie the game back up. Davis and James ran pick-and-roll exclusively down the stretch but James missed a buzzer-beater jumper and the two teams went into overtime tied at 111.

The Nuggets struck first with a dime from Jokic to Murray for a layup, but Davis answered by drilling a pair of threes to give the Lakers a lead.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope jumped the passing lane on a Jokic pass in the final minute and came up with a steal that ultimately sealed the win for the purple and gold.

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