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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Nuggets – Game 6

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (1-5) | Denver Nuggets (4-3)

 

The Lakers have finally won their first game of the season and their first at home after defeating the Denver Nuggets 121-110 off huge contributions from LeBron James and Anthony Davis

 

Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

The Lakers came into this game as the only team in the NBA without a win.

Thirty minutes before tip-off, the Lakers retired George Mikan’s No. 99 jersey. Mikan became just the 11th player in Lakers’ history to have a jersey up in the rafters, joining the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Kobe Bryant (8 and 24), Wilt Chamberlain (13), and Shaquille O’Neal (34), etc.

Pau Gasol was also in attendance and will see his jersey go up in the rafters in March.

The Lakers’ starters against Denver were Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr., LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Russell Westbrook came off the bench once again and seemed to buy into his new role fully.

Davis was ruled out last time against Minnesota with low back soreness, and there were questions about his availability against Denver, but he gave it a go during warm-ups and felt good enough to play.

Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant remained out for this game. Juan Toscano-Anderson had also been ruled out again due to a left ankle sprain he suffered against Denver the last time they faced off.

Starting the game, Davis carried the Lakers early by making 4 of their five field goals in just 12 attempts, with the rest of the team missing several layups. But the Nuggets still led 15-11 after the first time-out.

James had started flat as he was 0 for four on attempts, all at the rim. Denver took advantage to open a 25-15 lead. The Lakers got a screen-and-roll dunk from James off of a Westbrook assist on their final possession of the first quarter but trailed 31-26 after 12 minutes. 

They started well, hitting 2 of 5 three-pointers, but they struggled in the paint early, converting just 6 of 17 attempts to Denver’s 7 of 12 and 4 of 12 from three. Walker IV has attacked the rim well this season, but he couldn’t finish early, now 0 for 4 in the paint as the Lakers’ inside woes continued.

Denver still led 33-28 after Davis tipped in James’ near miss. But the Lake show rallied from a 10-point 1st quarter deficit to take a 47-44 lead and were now tied at 49 with 2:38 to play in the half.

Davis was up to 13 points with seven boards despite being bothered by his sore back all night. Westbrook had 9 points, four boards, and four assists off the bench as the Lakers went up 55-51 at halftime over the Nuggets.

 

The Lakers came into this game with a different vibe than last time against the Nuggets. Their confidence was sky-high, and they were firing on all cylinders

 

Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Lakers’ defense was strong, holding Denver to 38.0% from the field. James was 4 for five on jumpers and 4 of 13 in the paint, totaling 19 points. The game was all tied at 67.

Denver came out firing after halftime and shot 8 for 12 from three in the 3rd quarter alone. This allowed them to push their lead back up to 8. A few of their threes were contested, with the shot clock winding down.

Walker IV trimmed the deficit to 3 after making two jump shots in a row. Then, back-to-back threes from Matt Ryan and Walker IV and two free throws off a put-back layup attempt from Davis had the Lakers up 90-85.

Austin Reaves beat the shot clock with an and-1 layup on the baseline to make it an 11-0 Laker run as they took a 93-85 lead into the 4th quarter. Their largest lead on the season.

The Lakers didn’t let off the gas pedal and had the Crypt jumping out of their seats as they held a 113-101 lead with 1 Nikola Jokic free throw coming after a time-out at the 4:33 mark. The Lakers were +8 in the 2nd half up to this point, with a balanced effort.

Davis appeared to tweak his back after a crucial tip-in bucket and motioned toward the bench. Darvin Ham called upon Beverley briefly, but Davis told Ham he’d stay in.

The Lakers trailed 83-75 with three minutes left in the third quarter but outscored Denver 46-27 to close out a 121-110 victory, their first overall this season and their first at home.

We needed this for our team, our spirits, our fans, our organization,” Davis told reporters after the game about the Lakers getting their first win and dealing with his back injury.

 

Key Takeaways for the Lake Show

 

Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Lakers held Denver to 42.7% from the field while also shooting 47.9% themselves and a season-best 43.3% from three.

A huge difference from this game against Denver compared with the opposite result on Wednesday came in transition. The fast break points were 14-9 in the Lakers’ favor, while the last time they faced off, Denver feasted 35-18. The Lake show also committed only nine turnovers which helped their cause.

Jokic had 23 points on 1-5 shooting from three, 14 rebounds, and six assists. Jamal Murray had 21 points, four rebounds, and five assists.

James finished with 26 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. Davis had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Westbrook off the bench was electric, totaling a team-best plus/minus of +18 and putting up 18 points on 6-12 from the field and 2-4 from three, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Walker IV was solid, having 18 points on 3-5 shooting from three.

Our fans were awesome tonight,Ham told reporters after the game. “I really wanted to give them something to be loud and proud about. Hopefully, we can string a few of these together and just keep growing and learning.

 

The Lakers will stay at home after winning their first game of the season and will look to build off of that as they take on the New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday, November 2nd, at 7:30 p.m. at the Crypto.com Arena. The game will be available on Spectrum SportsNet, NBA League Pass, Bally Sports New Orleans, Sun, and Southwest.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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