Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Nuggets- Game 78

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (31-47) | Denver Nuggets (47-32)


Despite a 28 point game from Anthony Davis yesterday, the Lakers, unfortunately, are singing the same tune of defeat, falling to Denver 129-118.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

One-star returns at long last, while another is forced to take a seat. This is the story that has plagued Laker Nation all year, a story seemingly crafted from hell.  Lebron James had an ailing ankle yesterday, missing action but hopeful that Anthony Davis could carry.

The Lakers got it started on a 6-1 run, with the offense revolving around Dwight Howard and DavisDenver caught up quickly thanks to Nikola Jokic scoring the first 7 for his side. But the Lakers remained ahead throughout the quarter.  Davis put the Lakers up 5 with a signature layup before Monte Morris brought it to within two on the jumper.   A three from D.J. Augustin in response helped keep them in the lead going into the second.

Demarcus Cousins led one final 6-2 run for the Nuggets at quarter’s end, but Los Angeles maintained the edge of a 4-point lead.  Anthony Davis was on a roll early as the first option yesterday, hoping to keep it up before halftime.  The Lakers shot over 60 percent in the quarter, essentially showcasing that letting Denver back within four could have been avoided.

The Nuggets would have it tied in the early minutes of the second, leading to several lead changes and making things interesting.  After Aaron Gordon gave his side the lead with a three, Westbrook got it right back on the follow.  AD then allowed it to transition into a 12-2 run by leading the Lakers back to a comfortable lead of 9.  The script continued to flip, however, with Malik Monk adding two consecutive scores on the drive but then getting blocked by Morris on a three-point attempt.

The Nuggets fed off this defensive gem by Morris, getting themselves right back in the game before the break.  A 5-0 run led by Jokic brought it to a one-score game before Will Barton knotted things up from deep.  Westbrook responded with a highlight dunk on his own fastbreak, but Barton hit three from the line to ultimately win the first half.

Both teams were over 50 percent from the field in the first half, an offensive display that proved why it was so close.  The Nuggets, however, are not facing elimination like the Lakers, with reports of the near return of Jamal Murray for possible postseason play.  Once again, all pressure was on Los Angeles to perform in hopes of avoiding another loss in the lowest of possible playoff positions.

The Lakers led for most of the half, but resilient offense from Jokic had the Lakers down one at 62-61 by the break.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Westbrook and Dwight Howard led a 17-6 run to start the second half, and it was the same story seen after tip-off for LA.  They would go back on top by seven before Jokic tied it back up on a 7-0 sequence.  The Lakers grabbed three different leads in the early moments of the third, but Gordon and Jokic remained willing to capitalize.  The former MVP led four additional lead changes, with Anthony Davis scoring three straight times on the other side.

So, the big guys owned the third yesterday, keeping a consistent back and forth throughout the quarter.  The Nuggets were up by 3 in the final seconds of the third, but one last Westbrook jumper left the Lakers with more than enough time to establish the win.

Carmelo Anthony grabbed the lead right back with a jumper to start the fourth, later responding with another go-ahead from deep.  The veteran was flexing his clutch gene early, with neither side able to find a way to jump ahead.  After Stanley Johnson tied it again with a three, Cousins and Jokic led a compelling 13-2 run, stunning the Lakers.  Things were again falling apart for LA, suddenly down 11 points with 5 minutes to play.

AD could only bring it to single digits with two straight buckets, but Barton continued his fine night with another three in response. Jokic led Denver with 36 points yesterday, while Barton and Gordon found a way to post 20 each. The signs of an upset for the Lakers had been showing all night, but when it finally counted, the former MVP effectively shut them down.  He hit the dagger free throw after putting it back inside, leaving the Lakers only a minute to await their imminent loss.

Laker Nation is losing hope by the day, forced to claim another defeat upon the conclusion of this game.  With only four games remaining in the regular season, the rematch against Denver will be exceptionally crucial for Los Angeles next Sunday.


The Lakers head to Phoenix Tuesday to take on the Suns. The game can be seen at 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV.  

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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