The Los Angeles Lakers kept it close against the Denver Nuggets, but the backcourt duo of D.J. Augustin and Emmanuel Mudiay put the finishing touches on a 117-107 Lakers loss. The purple and gold went in shorthanded in the toughest back-to-back game in the NBA, then wound up with even less hands on deck before the final buzzer sounded.
Kobe Bryant played just under 11 minutes, sitting out the entire second half as he rested his sore right shoulder. Jordan Clarkson was forced out early after suffering a left knee strain, and with Lou Williams also out with a hamstring injury, the Lakers' backcourt rotation was cut down to Marcelo Huertas and D'Angelo Russell.
Augustin took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 22 points in the final frame and putting the Nuggets on his back. The Lakers' defense had no answer to D.J. as he picked them apart down the stretch, with Mudiay filling in the gaps with eight points of his own in the fourth.
Russell had a solid follow-up to his career night, scoring 24 points with six assists. Most of his damage came in the first half, though, where he scored 17 points. Julius Randle had an effective night from the field, going 5-of-11 for 17 points but missed his double-double, grabbing seven rebounds. Three Lakers cleared double-digit scoring totals, the Nuggets doubling that total as they rode into victory.
The Lakers are off Thursday before hosting the Atlanta Hawks Friday night. We'll see if some of the bumps, pains and strains they're dealing with improve, or they might be working with a bit of a skeleton crew again.