A rematch of the Western Conference Finals was going in favor of the Denver Nuggets much of the night, but then Talen Horton-Tucker and the Los Angeles Lakers bench turned the game around for a 114-93 comeback win.
LeBron James had his jumper going early as he hit a tough turnaround and followed it up with his first 3-pointer of the night, but the Nuggets were able to take a 12-7 lead behind the passing of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
The Lakers scored on three consecutive layups, but Murray kept the Nuggets up with a pair of jumpers. Los Angeles went on a 10-2 run sparked by their defense, and they retook the lead off an Anthony Davis dunk.
However, Denver responded in the closing minutes and Los Angeles went into the second trailing 30-27.
Kyle Kuzma was a spark at the top of the second as he earned an and-1, drained a 3 and came up with a block. But like in the first quarter, the Nuggets answered each time. The Lakers failed to bust the zone and they eventually fell behind by double digits.
L.A.’s offensive woes continued as they experienced a drought for over four minutes before James cut through the lane for a lay-in. Dennis Schroder tried to jumpstart the team with his effort defensively, but a Jokic tip-in at the buzzer left the Lakers down 58-46 going into the half.
Schroder picked up where he left off, making plays on both ends which helped the team go on a 11-4 run and cut into the deficit. Schroder remained in attack mode offensively, nailing a pair of jump shots but Murray was able to answer on the other end.
Montrezl Harrell made an impact after finishing through contact in the paint and later drawing Jokic’s fourth foul. The purple and gold closed the third quarter on an 15-0 run and they went into the fourth leading 83-75.
Horton-Tucker was an offensive boost as he was able to get into the paint and finish near the rim, forcing head coach Mike Malone to call a quick timeout. Despite the stoppage, the Lakers continued to play well on both ends and kept their double-digit lead.
When the Nuggets trimmed into their deficit with five quick points, a Schroder three helped stabilize the Lakers.
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