Los Angeles—The Lakers are hitting their stride at the right time just before the All-Star Weekend. Teams can usually gauge where they are leading up to that point.
Lakers Lebron James scored 27 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists, Dennis Schröder chipped in 21 points as the Los Angeles blew it away in the second half for a 114-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
James moved into third place on the NBA’s career field goals list while recording his 96th career triple-double and his second of the season, propelling LA to open a five-game home-stand with their 11th victory in 14 games.
Los Angeles sprinted out to a 19-0 run over the final two quarters sparked by James and Horton-Tucker, who drove into the paint at will, scoring four straight buckets along with two steals and a block.
The Denver’s bench had a lot energy to start the second quarter, they switched to a 2-3 zone which gave the Lakers some issues. Their lead grew because of LA’s difficulties shooting over the zone defense. Denver extended the lead by six behind Morris, MPJ, and JaMychal Green. The Lakers went cold so did Denver, the lead stayed right around 8 points for several minutes.
The Nuggets took a 12-point lead into halftime (58-46) with a 29-16 rebounding advantage, but LA closed the third quarter with a 15-0 run to take an eight-point lead.
Talen Horton-Tucker scored 12 of his 17 points in the second-half for the defending NBA champions, who returned from a strong seven-game road trip jump starting the Lakers comeback in the half.
Nikola Jokic struggled in the game with 13 points and 10 boards after scoring 47 points and 12 rebounds Sunday in the Nuggets’ most recent outing against Utah.
Jamal Murray scored 20 points and Monte Morris chipped in 16 for Denver, who struggled down the stretch of their second loss in eight games.
James spoke about his displeasure with the NBA’s decision to hold an All-Star game amid a compressed regular season and a global pandemic.
The Lakers superstar also knows his presence won’t be required in Atlanta next month — particularly not after his latest performance in a career that just keeps setting milestones.
Nuggets: Gary Harris sat out after straining his left adductor muscle last weekend. Denver hadn’t played since last weekend because its scheduled game with Detroit on Monday was scrapped.
Lakers: Anthony Davis had 13 points and nine rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope twisted his left ankle in the first half, but had it re-taped in the locker room and returned for the second half. Jared Dudley sat out with right calf soreness.
PASSING THE STILT
James made a finger-roll layup midway through the first quarter for his 12,682nd career field goal, surpassing the great Wilt Chamberlain for third place in NBA history. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15,837) and Karl Malone (13,528) have made more shots in league history. James became the third-leading scorer in NBA history a year ago, trailing only Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Nuggets: At Kings on Saturday.
Lakers: Host Pistons on Saturday.