Every time that the Nuggets play the Lakers, the Real Ball Insiders team tries to do something a little special. Tonight was no different as the Denver Nuggets got the win over the Lakers in a Pepsi Center blowout, 129-101.
Pedro and Corban from Lakers Lounge, our RBI-Lakers affiliate, had quite a few thoughts during the game. The RBI group message was full of taunting between the Dig in Denver and Lakers Lounge teams, but would you expect any less?
The Nuggets started off with a Gallo dunk and didn’t look back from there. Well, there was that brief time in the first, but we don’t talk about that. Ultimately, the Nuggets were able to outscore LA in the first, 35-23, and then again in the second, 32-20. The Lakers rallied in the third, and even began to close the Nuggets 32 point lead to the teens, but it wasn’t enough as they outscored Denver 33-26 in the third. The fourth quarter was big for Denver as they, once again, outscored LA, 36-25.
Starting off tonight, it looked as though the game could be a close one but Denver wasn’t having that. The Nuggets starting playing aggressively on defense (though there were a few silly turnovers), had a solid offense and that combination opened up a huge lead.
The Nuggets, at one point in the third, had a 32 point lead and never trailed (except very briefly in the first). The Lakers came back to end the third, 93-76, but then the Nuggets opened up the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run. It was very clear that the Nuggets were playing for one another to get tonights win.
Denver was led by Will Barton and Jamal Murray, both coming off of the bench, with 22 points a piece. Barton also had 2 rebounds and 6 assists. The Blue Arrow grabbed 2 boards and dished out 3 assists–Murray was 5/8 from beyond the arc.
In the final three minutes of the game, fans got to see a lineup consisting of Malik Beasley,Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and the newest Nugget, Roy Hibbert, and they did not disappoint.
Malik Beasley, who was just recalled from the D-League Sioux Falls Sky Force,threw down in the last few minutes of play (and picked up the tech for taunting in the process).
Ivica Zubac led the Lakers with a career high 25 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson, who was inserted into the starting lineup in place of D’Angelo Russell just hours before tipoff, was LA’s second leading scorer with 19 points, 2 boards, and 3 assists.
Though it was painful for the guys over at Lakers Lounge, they had a few words on tonights loss to Denver:
About an hour before tip off tonight Head coach Luke Walton did something that puzzled and angered a lot of Laker faithful. Walton benched starting point guard D’Angelo Russell, when asked why, Walton replied, “We’re going to look for opportunities to try new things.” Save the BS, coach Walton had to have inhaled the devils lettuce prior to tip off, they were in Colorado, coincidentally.
All jokes aside, Walton pulling and plugging in different line ups isn’t going to help this team get better for the future. You know who your core is, use it to your best advantage. Different lineups kill the rhythm of a team, it gives no chance for a cohesiveness to happen. And last time I checked David Nwaba isn’t the SG of the future, what is he doing starting while Russell is on the bench? Los Angeles was destined to get that butt spanked from the get go.
Ivica Zubac was a bright spot for Los Angeles as he dropped in a career high 25 points and 11 rebounds. That’s where the happy stories stop for Los Angeles tonight as they got beat 129-121. Look, sometimes things work out better when you stop overthinking them and just let it happen naturally. Coach Walton needs to let these guys play and get out of the way.
Oh this game…man oh man. I felt the troubles started before the opening tip when coach Walton announced he was going to bench D’angelo Russell and start Jordan Clarkson in his stead, alongside offensively limited David Mwaba. Why he did this I have no idea, except for the fact that the Lakers are in fall for Lonzo Ball mode and can mix and match any number of their 900 combo guards/forwards. I feel the starting backcourt should be Russell and Clarkson. They are 2 of our most dynamic players and could be our backcourt of the future if given the chance. Anyways back to the game. The contest was tight at the beginning, and around 14-14 I saw myself settling in to what looked to be an entertaining game.
Then all hell broke loose. Will Barton, who had just been playing horrible lately, decided to show up. In a big way. He kept attacking the lane, getting and ones, hitting contested jumpers, and pouring in from deep. He had 22 points on 8-13 shooting and 5-8 from three, with most of the damage being done in the first half. And that wasn’t all. Nikola Jokic threw some highlight passes on us. Jamal Murray made his presence felt. Mason Plumlee started to flex on us. It was all too much and we ended up being steamrolled, we were down 67-43 at the half, led by as many as 32, and fell meekly to the mighty Nuggets by 28 (heavy sarcasm).
As a Lakers fan who has experienced more than a few losses this season, I should be used to this. But I’m not. I’m raw and wounded. This isn’t a loss; this is an embarrassment and I know we’re better than that. With that being said, I have to say good job by Denver. They’re starting to catch a groove now with a couple of wins strung together and can definitely seal this playoff deal with play such as tonight.
And then we had Mase to Joker. Having two of the best passing big men in the league has huge perks, right?
FG%: 53.6% 43.3%
3PT%: 44.7% 30%
FT: 88% 57.9%
Rebounds: 42 46
Assists: 36 17
Steals: 9 10
Blocks: 7 3
Turnovers: 16 16
Points in Paint: 44 52
Fast Break Points: 25 15
Denver will play their second game of a three game homestand on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.