The Lakers are taking on the Denver Nuggets tonight after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 116-95 in what was an impressive win and could be the best win of the season. Mike D’Antoni will be going with the same starting lineup that is now featuring Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson. After playing well throughout the game against the Pelicans this could be a starting lineup that has what it takes to have this Laker team playing consistent basketball. Steve Blake did a great job distributing the ball against the Pelicans and it will be important for him to continue to do well with Steve Nash expected to be out for at least two weeks. On a second game of back to back games it will be a tough game for the Lakers who will be taking on a Nuggets team that had the previous night off.
The Lakers got off to a good start hitting three of their first four field goals. Steve Blake and Jordan Hill knocked down the first few shots for the Lakers and looked aggressive as they were in the game last night. The Nuggets came out playing slow but started to attack the basket scoring on consecutive possessions. Halfway through the quarter the Lakers started to struggle defensively and could not close out shots while the Nuggets started to get going offensively. Pau Gasol is off to a good start making his first three field goals. The Lakers continue to struggle as a team to get going missing jumpers and turning the ball over. Off the bench, Chris Kaman gets a few jumpers to go down while Blake does a good job passing the ball. Blake leads the team in scoring with seven points and has five assists with the Lakers trailing at the end of the quarter 33-28.
The second unit starts the quarter off for the Lakers and have not come out with intensity on both sides of the floor. The bench has missed consecutive shots in one possession and have allowed the Nuggets to drive inside the paint. Denver’s 7-0 run ends with Nick Young hitting a long jumper. Lakers cannot find a rhythm and the Nuggets are taking full advantage trying to add to their lead. Hill is showing great effort fighting for every rebound he can get. After having a great game against the Pelicans, Meeks finally gets his first bucket in the game hitting a three pointer. The Lakers are 3-8 from the three point line with a little under five minutes remaining in the quarter. Gasol is playing well offensively hitting a short jumper and dishing out a nice pass to Hill that ended in a dunk. Jordan Hill, who is playing with three fouls, remains aggressive chasing after offensive rebounds and keeping the Lakers in the game. The Lakers continue to struggle defensively giving up a three pointer and second chance points. At the end of the half Jordan Hill leads the team with 13 points along with seven rebounds. The Lakers trail the Nuggets 60-54.
Lakers come out striking first off a two point shot by Gasol but a break down defensively leads to a three pointer by Randy Foye. Blake continues to play well attacking the basket and hitting a jumper. On the Nuggets side Ty Lawson hit a couple of jumpers but Blake responds with a three. Gasol missed his last three field goals but gets a short jumper off an assist by Blake. Gasol with a little more than six minutes to go in the quarter has 14 points while Blake has eight assists. Some strong defensive play from the Lakers with Gasol blocking a shot by Lawson and Hill getting a steal off a bad pass by Kenneth Faried. Nuggets have cooled off quite a bit missing a few shots close to the rim. The Lakers have been getting a couple of runs going but the Nuggets keep putting them away. Lakers get consecutive turnovers but get lucky with the Nuggets not hitting shots on both attempts. With the quarter slowly coming to an end Young makes a big play getting fouled while knocking down a three. The quarter ends with the Nugget’s lead being cut to just four points and Gasol has quietly become the leading scorer for the Lakers with 16 points.
A bad start to the quarter by both teams with the Lakers missing their first two shot attempts to go with a turnover. Nuggets miss their first shot attempt and turn the ball over as well. The Lakers offensively missed four field goals before finally getting a shot to go down Xavier Henry. Nuggets have picked it up and are now dominating offensively getting jump shots to go down and driving the ball in for a couple of layups. A pair of free throws by Blake and a short jumper by Gasol brings the lead back down to six. It has been a trend throughout the whole game once the Lakers get close the Nuggets run away with the lead. Wilson Chandler gets a couple of three pointers to go down and the Nuggets are ahead of the Lakers by 14 points with five minutes to go in the game. The Lakers get a chance for one last run with a three by Johnson and a few missed shots by the Nuggets. They do not take advantage missing a few attempts of their own and turning the ball over.