In the Los Angeles Lakers’ final matchup against the Denver Nuggets, a team that’s become a rival of sorts due to the antics of Jamal Murray in the teams’ last two games, Los Angeles was able to get the much-desired last laugh. Complete with a “Murray sucks” chant in the game’s closing miutes and 26 points and 13 rebounds from Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers defeated the Nuggets by a final score of 112-103 and secured Los Angeles’ 31st win of the season.
The game’s first half was a tale of two quarters, with the only constant being the wave of boos that fans inside of STAPLES Center unleashed upon new public enemy No. 1 Jamal Murray throughout. Julius Randle and Brook Lopez continued their hot play of late, each pouring in 11 points in the opening 12 minutes en route to a 35-22 lead at the end of the first.
Paul Millsap took over defensively in the second quarter, frustrating and ultimately shutting down the red-hot Randle and blocking shots by Randle and Isaiah Thomas. The Nuggets took advantage of an atrocious 3-of-18 shooting quarter from the Lakers, cutting the score to just a one point lead as the Lakers entered halftime up 48-47.
Denver scored the first five points of the third quarter to take the lead over Los Angeles and held a 82-77 lead going into the fourth. However, Kyle Kuzma refused to let the Lakers flatline, scoring 24 of his 26 points in the second half. Isaiah Thomas, the artist formerly known as the “King of the Fourth,” added 11 points in the final 12 minutes to help secure the win for the Lakers.
Wilson Chandler provided a tremendous game for Denver, equaling Kuzma’s 26 points along with ten rebounds, four assists and two steals. Lonzo Ball continued his recent cold-streak with 5 points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field, but contributed in other ways by racking up nine rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks.
Tuesday’s loss brings the Nuggets record to 37-31 on the season, now tied with San Antonio for ninth place in the Western Conference. Lakers fans should rejoice in Tuesday’s win, as Los Angeles will play their second game in as many days on Wednesday against Golden State in a brutal back-to-back matchup.
All stats courtesy of stats.nba.com unless otherwise noted.