The Los Angeles Lakers turned in perhaps their most complete game of the 2019-20 NBA season so far when they defeated the Denver Nuggets to kickoff their road trip.
The All-Star duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James led the way for the team as they combined for 50 points and 16 rebounds while the bench provided solid play to keep the Nuggets at bay for stretches at a time.
Playing in Denver is always a tough ask given the high altitude, but several Los Angeles players were also dealing with flu-like symptoms. Those obstacles coupled with the fact the Nuggets are one of the best teams in the NBA would have made a loss seem likely, but they were able to battle all throughout the night and earn a tough win.
In his walk-off interview, James reiterated the team’s goal of not dropping consecutive games, but also discussed how impressed he was with how well the Lakers came together in the win, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“That’s one of our goals and it’s realistic for us. Will it happen? It’s to be seen, but it didn’t happen tonight — us losing two in a row — and we just came in with a great mindset. We got like four or five… maybe six or seven guys battling the flu right now but sometimes that’s the best way to lock in when you’re dealing with an illness. But everybody picked each other up, the bench was incredible, and it was a great road win for us.”
Los Angeles has been prone to starting out slow before turning it up late in games, but this time around they did a good job of remaining focused for nearly the entire contest and executing on both ends. Despite the Nuggets making an early third-quarter push to briefly take the lead, the Lakers managed to settle down and take back control.
While Davis and James did most of the heavy lifting per usual, the bench also did their part as players like Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Dwight Howard made several plays that kept Denver from making a serious run. Tightly contested games like the one between the Lakers and Nuggets often comes down to the role players and they stepped up when called upon.
A win in Denver is a fantastic way to get back on track, but the purple and gold get another tough test when they play the Utah Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back situation.