`The Los Angeles Lakers went into the Inland Empire banged and bruised, and it showed in every way during a 122-104 blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets. Instead of improving on an “alright” outing against the Nuggets just days prior, things went the opposite way in a hurry.
By hurry, I mean real hurry. The Lakers gave up 45 points in the first quarter alone, getting kicked while they were down. Trey Lyles lived up to his first name, draining three threes in the first 12 minutes. Jamal Murray drained three of his own from downtown in the opening quarter as well, and the Nuggets went 12-of-19 overall.
Consider all of those stats are from the opening frame, then consider that the Lakers, as a team, only went 11-of-30 from three-point range through the entire game. Not a recipe for success.
Kenneth Faried led the way with 25 points for the Nuggets, perhaps playing with a chip on his shoulder after being benched. Jamal Murray made five of his six attempts from outside for 20 points of his own.
Without Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the debut of Brook Lopez still on hold, the Lakers were easily thwarted. It was a stiff reminder that a couple injuries — even minor ones — could go a long way in detouring the Lakers along the way this season.
Leave it to Kyle Kuzma to be the lone bright spot, leading the Lakers in scoring for the third game in a row. 21 points, three steals, two rebounds and a three-for-four night from outside was another solid showing from The Kuz.
The Lakers finally get consecutive days off to regroup, get fully healthy and take a hard look at what comes next after an 0-3 start to preseason. They’ll be in Las Vegas next, taking on the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.