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Lakers reserves can’t finish hot start from veterans in 113-111 loss to Nuggets

LeBron James and the rest of the starting lineup looked great for the Lakers, but the bench blew a 15-point lead in the second half and dropped the team’s second preseason game in a row.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their second game of the NBA preseason on Tuesday, losing to the Denver Nuggets 113-111, despite a few inspired performances by the team’s veterans in the first half.

The veteran trio of Rajon Rondo, LeBron James and JaVale McGee combined for 39 points on 14-of-19 shooting from the field (73.7 percent). McGee led the Lakers in scoring for the second consecutive game with 15 points to go along with a game-high 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.

It’s just the preseason, but McGee continues to show he can the be the steadying force in the middle the Lakers need. There’s a very, very good chance he outplays his contract within the first handful of games.

Second-year guard Josh Hart also shined in his opportunity with the Lakers. Hart started in place of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on Tuesday and ended the night with 14 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists in 25 minutes.

However, seeing as it is just preseason, the veterans didn’t close out the game. Unfortunately, the Lakers’ reserves weren’t able to finish what the veterans started.

Lance Stephenson led a spirited comeback for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, but his supporting cast of Joel Berry II, Isaac Bonga, Travis Wear and Jonathan Williams couldn’t get the job done, with Bonga passing the ball to Wear as the buzzer sounded with the Lakers down by two points.

While it would have been nice to see the Lakers get a win in what was LeBron James’ debut in front of the home crowd at STAPLES Center, it is just preseason. Plus, they’re missing a few bodies, most notably Lonzo Ball, who has yet to suit up for the purple and gold in the preseason.

The Lakers will be back at it on Thursday, when they host the Sacramento Kings. If De’Aaron Fox is lucky, neither Lonzo Ball or Alex Caruso will be available.