Recap: LeBron James Reaches 40,000 Points But Lakers Still Lose To Nuggets
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets squared off in the final Western Conference Finals rematch of the 2023-24 regular season on Saturday night.

It’s no secret that the Nuggets have had the Lakers’ number, winning seven straight dating back to last season. The Lakers looked to end that streak while building momentum to get back in the playoff race, but the game followed a similar script as the Nuggets pulled away late to earn a 124-114 victory.

As is normally the case when these two teams meet, the Nuggets got off to a quick start with Nikola Jokic scoring the first four points, although Anthony Davis then responded with four of his own.

The Lakers caught fire from there though with Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves connecting from deep to take a 12-7 lead.

LeBron came in needing just nine points to reach 40,000 for his career and he went to work early with five quick points to extend L.A.’s lead. After buckets by Hachimura and Reaves, the Lakers even led by double digits for the first time. The Nuggets closed the first quarter strong though to cut their deficit to 33-27.

James had a layup to begin the second quarter and then drove for another, reaching the 40,000 mark with the Lakers calling timeout to give the King a well-deserved ovation and tribute video.

D’Angelo Russell started to get going from there with a pair of triples to get the lead back to double digits. Michael Porter Jr. was also hot for Denver though, keeping his team within striking distance.

After three Davis points to end the second quarter though, the Lakers went into the locker room leading 66-58 after leading to whole first half.

The Nuggets started the third quarter on an 8-4 run, getting things close before Hachimura hit a big triple. Jamal Murray got going from there though, tying the game at 75 with some crafty finishes.

Reaves then had five straight points for L.A., although Jokic responded with seven straight of his own to give Denver its first lead since the opening quarter. Jokic scored 13 straight points for the Nuggets at one point, but the game went into the fourth quarter tied at 89.

As is normally the case with the Nuggets, they heated up to begin the fourth with Porter and Murray connecting from deep. James responded with a big three-point play and then a triple though to regain the lead for L.A.

Back and forth the teams went from there, exchanging buckets with it going into the final minutes close.

From there, the Nuggets just took over with Jokic and Murray scoring with ease and the Lakers struggling. The Nuggets went up by seven, forcing a Lakers timeout. L.A. could never make their way back from there, going on to suffer the defeat.

What’s next for the Lakers

The Lakers’ tough month of March continues when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. The Lakers have won two of the three matchups against the Thunder so far this season.

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