Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Nuggets – Game 65


Undermanned and on the second end of a back-to-back set, the Los Angeles Lakers managed to upset the Denver Nuggets, 93-89, at home on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Lakers

Despite being without LeBron James and Dennis Schroder, the Lakers were able to take an early 10-4 lead as they were able to force the Nuggets into tough shots and turnovers. Los Angeles exploited Denver’s lack of rim protection with Andre Drummond, but Nikola Jokic answered on the other end to tie the game at 14.

The Nuggets took a 17-16 lead off a Michael Porter Jr. 3-pointer, but Anthony Davis resembled his old self after knocking down a mid-range jumper and blocking a dunk attempt. L.A.’s defense was steady, but they would go into the second trailing 24-20.

The bench bigs for both teams opened up the second with plays as JaVale McGee and Montrezl Harrell infused some energy for their respective teams. Defensively, Los Angeles and Denver were able to clog up the paint allowing the latter to stay slightly ahead midway through the period.


Davis returned to the game and picked up where he left off, taking the open jumpers while also making a concerted effort to get all the way to the rim. He looked as aggressive as he has since returning from injury, leading all scorers with 16 first-half points.


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers were able to capitalize on open perimeter looks and as a result, they went into the half leading 45-42. Drummond picked up four first-half fouls, which led to Marc Gasol getting a few spot minutes, and he immediately injected some energy into the Lakers with his ball movement to close the half.

Los Angeles struggled to contain Porter as he broke loose for a transition dunk and got his jumper to fall down to give Denver back the lead. Alex Caruso was a spark, doing the dirty work on the defensive end and driving to the hoop for a layup to tie the game again.

With Andre Drummond in foul trouble, Gasol got more minutes off the bench and nailed a three to extend the Laker lead to six. Gasol knocked down another shot from distance and L.A. held a 70-65 lead going into the final quarter.

Wesley Matthews and Gasol were a major boost to the start of the fourth as they ignited an 8-2 run to give Los Angeles a 13-point lead. Jokic took over the scoring for the Nuggets, but the Lakers had an answer each time down.

However, Porter was once again a problem as his scoring whittled down the L.A. lead to single digits. The Nuggets pulled within two in the final minute, but a Talen Horton-Tucker lay up and a Davis block sealed the much-needed win.


Lakers News and Notes:


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: Los Angles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers broke out of their slump in a big way with a win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Prior to that game, the Lakers lacked any energy and clearly showed they did not care too much about winning some important games. Head coach Frank Vogel has emphasized getting to the playoffs completely healthy, but it seems as though it is coming at the cost of wins.

A lack of continuity has been Los Angeles’ downfall during the 2020-21 season and that has largely been due to players simply being absent. Prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Dennis Schroder was ruled out due to health and safety protocols and it was rumored he would miss at least 10-14 days.

Vogel later confirmed the report before the win over Denver. “So now, I couldn’t say anything last night, but we can say now that it’s 10 to 14 days with him being in the health and safety protocols.”

Vogel did not want to speculate whether or not Schroder had gotten the vaccine, although Schroder essentially confirmed to a German news outlet that he had not. Regardless, Vogel supports him and the players’ choice to receive it or not.

“Well, first I can’t comment on whether he had gotten it (COVID-19 vaccine) or not gotten it,” Vogel said. “What his opinion on it is not for me to comment on. We support all of our players’ right to make a decision on their own bodies. It’s as simple as that. It’s just one of those things that everybody has a different viewpoint on it in terms of how they want to manage their own personal health and we support our players with whatever they decide.”

The timeline of Schroder’s absence coupled with Vogel’s answer about the vaccine makes it likely that Schroder contracted coronavirus (COVID-19). The point guard will likely be unable to suit up until the playoffs, which puts the Lakers in an even more precarious position.

Lakers discussed the positives and negatives of the COVID vaccine.

There seemed to be some hesitancy from players regarding the COVID vaccine and Vogel admitted that he and the team spent time to discuss the pros and cons of receiving it.

“Yeah, there was discussions,” Vogel said. “I actually think we talked about it, we had a meeting about it in a Zoom early in the season before the vaccine was available and then right before, I forget what point it was, but I want to say days before it became available on the 15th to us on the 16th is the day a lot of us got them. It was just sort of a reminder of all the benefits going into that.

“I got the vaccine on the 16th. If I test positive right now, that doesn’t matter. I’m not fully vaccinated until the [New Orleans] Pelicans game or something like that after my second shot, so we’re not even in that window so I don’t think anyone should question that, but that’s about the timeline for where we were at in terms of when we presented this stuff to the guys.”


The Lakers are right back at it at home against the Nuggets on Monday. The tip-off is at 7:00 pm and the game can be seen on ESPN & Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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