Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Nuggets – Game 4

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (0-4) | Denver Nuggets (3-2)


The Lakers have now lost four straight to start the season for the 4th time in franchise history after losing 110-99 to the Denver Nuggets as LeBron James falls flat, scoring just 19 points and coughing up eight turnovers. 


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/AP

The Lakers headed on the road for their first multi-game road trip of the season, starting in Denver with the Nuggets

Russell Westbrook left the Lakers’ final preseason game with hamstring tightness but started the last three regular season games. However, on Tuesday afternoon, Westbrook was listed as “doubtful” on the team’s injury report with left hamstring soreness.

Westbrook, so far this season, is averaging career lows in his 15th year in the NBA, 10.3 points on 28.9% from the field, 8.3% from three, 4.3 assists, and 1.7 turnovers in 28.7 minutes per game. He also has a net rating of -6.6 in three games, which ranks 12th on the team.

Lakers’ head coach Darvin Ham confirmed to reporters before the game that Westbrook was not going to play against the Nuggets due to hamstring soreness, and they’ll take it day-to-day. Austin Reaves got the start in place of Westbrook and was only able to produce 8 points, but the 2-3 from three was promising. The rest of the starters remained the same.

Rookie Cole Swider, Dennis Schröder, and Thomas Bryant all remained out for this game. 

Nuggets’ forward Michael Porter Jr. (load management) missed his first game of the season vs. the Lakers. There’s optimism he could be back vs. Utah; sources told ESPN.

An ideal start for the Lakers in Denver, as after a defensive stop, Anthony Davis attacked Nikola Jokic for an and-1 layup, drawing the Serbian’s first foul. 

The Lakers outshot the Nuggets from three right out of the gate with 2-7 (28.6%) from deep. But the Lakers trailed 26-22 after the 1st quarter.

Davis played the whole 12 minutes, tallying 8 points, four rebounds, and three assists, as did Jokic with 6 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Kendrick Nunn continued to struggle to find his shot off the bench, going 1 for 6 with a pair of turnovers.

After falling behind by 10, the Lakers picked it up a bit, with Nunn getting a 3 to fall after Davis and Lonnie Walker IV scored at the rim, making it 52-48 heading into a time-out with 1:14 in the half.

It was a great close to the half for the Lakers, who finished a 13-3 run in the final 2:19 with a transition layup from Walker IV off his steal, then an alley-oop layup from LeBron James to Davis just before the buzzer sounded off. It was all tied at 54.


The Lakers met their match in terms of poor outside shooting, but with LeBron James struggling and Nikola Jokic locked in, the odds were against them


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/AP

The Lakers managed to continue to shoot better than the Nuggets from three. They were 4-16 (25%). Davis continued his strong night with 16 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, vital in the Lakers’ 2020 title push, went down on a layup attempt and stayed down, holding his knee for a while before limping to the locker room under his own power. The Nuggets told reporters that it’s a left ankle sprain for Caldwell-Pope.

After a solid close to the 2nd quarter (13-3 run), The Lakers were run out of the building in the 3rd quarter and trailed 83-65 behind a 29-11 edge in the period. The Nuggets had 28 fast break points to the Lakers’ 12. The Lakers gave up a 32-17 3rd quarter to the Nuggets and had a big hill to climb in the 4th.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Lakers were down by 15, 86-71. James had just 11 points and seven turnovers at this point.

With James and Davis on the court to start the 4th and Jokic sitting, the Lakers started on a 5-0 run to trim the margin to 10 at 86-76 as they attempted a final push.

Nuggets’ head coach Mike Malone went with a full bench lineup to start the 4th quarter with Christian Braun, Bones Hyland, Jeff Green, Davon Reed, and DeAndre Jordan against James/Davis and Co., and it resulted in an 8-0 Laker run to cut the lead to 7.

Then there was a substantial 5-point swing as James missed at the rim, and Denver hit a transition 3. Instead of a 5-point deficit, the Lakers trailed 92-82. The Nuggets had 31 fast break points at this point.

There was no comeback imminent, and the Lakers lost their fourth straight game now as they lost to the Nuggets 110-99. James struggled with just 19 points on 8-21 from the field and 2-8 from three, seven rebounds, nine assists, and eight turnovers. This makes it the first time since his rookie season that James has started 0-4.


Some quick Takeaways


Lakers vs Nuggets
Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/AP

Davis did his thing totaling 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. Ham was asked by reporters after the game about Davis, who appeared bothered by his sore lower back, but stayed in the game for his whole 37 minutes, “He’s fine. He’s fine. He was able to get through the game and give us a lot of production.” said Lakers coach Darvin Hamm after the game.

Walker IV put up 15 points but shot 1-6 from three. As a unit, the Lakers shot 0.2% better from three than the Nuggets. The former shot 8-30 from three (26.7%), and the latter shot 9-34 (26.5%).

Jokic went crazy as he put up 31 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals. Bruce Brown stepped up, scoring 18 points on 4-6 shooting from three. Jamal Murray struggled, scoring just 13 points on 1-7 from three. The Lakers had no answer for the Nuggets in transition, giving up a season-high 35 fast-break points, and they were out-rebounded 54-47.


The Lakers will now head over to Minneapolis, Minnesota, still searching to win their first game of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday, October 28th, at 5:00 p.m. at the Target Center. The game will be available on Spectrum SportsNet and Bally Sports North.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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