The Los Angeles Lakers erased what was once a 12-point deficit but were done in by turnovers in the fourth quarter of a 115-100 loss to a depleted Denver Nuggets team. The Lakers second unit fared well for much of the game, combining to score 49 points.
Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle were instrumental to the Lakers holding a lead at various stages in the fourth quarter, though a combination of starters and reserves were unable to hold off the Nuggets, who closed the game on a 21-2 run.
Randle was instant offense the minute he entered off the bench, as he scored eight points upon checking in late in the first quarter. Randle finished the night with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists.
In his return after missing one game due to back spasms, Kuzma chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Coming off a career-high 32 points, Brandon Ingram scored 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field, while knocking down all eight free throw attempts.
It marked a fifth game this season with at least 20 points and the first time in Ingram’s career he’s scored at least 20 points in back-to-back games.
While he was an abysmal 2-for-his-last-22 from 3-point territory in the last six games, Jamal Murray got off to a hot start for the Nuggets, particularly behind the arc. Murray opened the game 3-for-4 from deep and scored 14 points in the first quarter.
He finished with a game-high 28 points and made five of eight 3-point attempts. Trey Lyles and Will Barton carried the Nuggets bench by scoring a combined 34 points.
Through the first two quarters of the game the Lakers dominated the Nuggets in the paint, 38-18, and held a considerable edge (16-0) in second-chance points. The Lakers went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to take a slim lead, which they squandered before recapturing prior to halftime.
Brook Lopez scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half. It was a welcomed sight for the big man who’d been mired in a slump and last reached double-digits on Nov. 19 — against the same Nuggets when they had a much more formidable frontcourt that wasn’t ravaged by injuries.
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