LOS ANGELES -- In their first home game in over two week, the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a lethargic, first-half start by bumping up their energy on the defensive side of the floor, using a 19-0 run in the third quarter to cruise by the visiting Denver Nuggets, 114-93.
LeBron James posted his second, triple-double of the season and 96th of his pro career, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. James also passed Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (12,681) for No. 3 on the NBA’s all-time list. James now has12,691 career field goals.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 15,837 field goals.
“The number doesn’t do much for me, it’s just the association with a legend like Wilt Chamberlain,” James said about the milestone. “That does something for me, because I’m a guy who grew up reading about the game, studying the game, studying the players both past and present.”
Along with James, the Lakers had seven players finish in double figures. Point guard Dennis Schröder finished with 21 points, and also dished out four assists, while Anthony James chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Lakers improved to 17-6 on the year and 5-4 at home, while the Nuggets dropped to 12-9. Jamal Murray led Denver with 20 points, while Nikola Jokic totaled 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Top player: Talen Horton-Tucker heated up off the bench, finishing with 17 points and three steals in 22 minutes.
What I liked: The Lakers hustled on the defensive end of the floor, including Schröder getting some floor burns by diving for loose balls and Kyle Kuzma hustling back defensively to block shots. The Lakers finished with 10 steals and seven blocks.
What I did not like: The Lakers struggled some on the boards, getting outrebounded 43-39, including 17 offensive rebounds for Denver. The Nuggets also had a 15-9 edge in second chance points. The Lakers also shot two air balls from the free throw line, finished just 14-22 from free throw line.
Injuries: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope suffered what looked to be an ankle injury in the second quarter, limping off the floor. He was replaced in the lineup by Kuzma. However, Caldwell-Pope re-taped his left ankle and came back to play for the second half. Jared Dudley, who missed his 13th straight game due to right calf soreness says he’s about a week away from being healthy enough to play. “I’m trying to build slowly back up, and let’s just be honest man, we can’t even practice,” Dudley said. “Today (Wednesday) is our first practice in about two-and-half, three weeks. So, the only thing I’m doing is calf raises and elliptical and running. It’s been slower than expected, and that’s what happens when you get a little bit older. But the good think about it, they don’t need me.”
They said it: “The Bigs have kind of shifted to being able to shoot the ball, put it on the floor, pass and not just (performing) like the traditional Bigs of going to the block, posting up and going to the basket or shooting jump hooks -- things like that. So, the game has evolved and it’s good to see big man have some of those guard-like skills and bring that to the game.” – Anthony Davis commenting on skilled big man like Nikola Jokic evolving their games and becoming more skilled at handling the basketball.