The Los Angeles Lakers saw their losing streak extended to three after getting blown out by the Denver Nuggets, 133-96.
Dwight Howard drew the start because of the matchup with Nikola Jokic and immediately showed off his athleticism on a nice drive to the rim. Despite Jokic’s presence, the Lakers had no issues scoring in the paint but the Nuggets were able to take a slim 14-12 lead after a Jokic layup.
Howard was able to keep pace with Jokic on the offensive end with his activity around the rim and put Los Angeles up one after a lob from Malik Monk. He had already reached double-digit points in the first quarter thanks to some offensive rebounds that led to easy buckets.
Despite Howard’s performance though, poor defense had the Lakers trailing 34-29 after one quarter as the Nuggets made their first six 3-pointers.
Los Angeles was able to pull within two early in the second, but Denver responded with a quick spurt that they capped off with another shot from deep. The Laker defense had no answer for Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, who scored from everywhere on the floor and pushed the Nuggets lead up to 12.
Things only got worse for L.A. as Denver continued to carve them up offensively while the former could not seem to generate any good looks. Russell Westbrook finally started to get himself with aggressive drives to the rim, but the Lakers went into the half down 73-60.
It was a sloppy third quarter opening for the Lakers who committed several turnovers that the Nuggets were able to turn into transition points. Down 19, Westbrook took exception to Aaron Gordon’s physical defense that resulted in double technical fouls.
The Purple and Gold showed some signs of life as they picked up the pace, and a Talen Horton-Tucker fastbreak dunk forced a Denver timeout. However, the Nuggets regained all the momentum with their play on both ends and L.A. went into the final period 102-79.
Hyland picked up where he left off from the first half, bombing deep threes that the Lakers simply could not do anything about. Down 28, head coach Frank Vogel went to his reserves early and L.A. would have to live with another embarrassing loss.
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