The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a tough loss against the Dallas Mavericks, and are going up against an even tougher matchup tonight, the 13-4 Denver Nuggets. The Lakers seemed to have their last game under control in the first half, but in the second half, they let the Mavericks take over. After the game, the team seemed to all agree that there were certain areas they should’ve done better at.
“Our defense was terrible, we didn’t rebound the basketball,” said Lakers forward Anthony Davis. “We kept giving them second-chance points and they made us pay with threes. We know what we did wrong. The rebounding has to be better.”
Lakers guard Alex Caruso had a few ideas on where exactly the game slipped away as well.
“I think really in that 3rd quarter, I think we just kind of let the game get away from us. For 12 minutes I think we just didn’t follow the game-plan of what we were trying to do. Gave up some long rebounds, some easy buckets, and we didn’t make shots.”
The Lakers gave up a total of 16 offensive rebounds to the Mavericks. The bad news for them is that the Nuggets rank 3rd in the NBA in offensive rebounds at 11.4 per game, as well as 1st in defensive rating. A big part of the offensive rebounds is their imposing frontline of big men, Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap, but even guys like Will Barton — who’s averaging over one offensive rebound per game — are contributing to the team. This is something that the Lakers will definitely have to keep under control this game if they want to win.
Nikola Jokic is the superstar of the team, but the Nuggets overall do a great job of distributing their scoring. Jamal Murray leads the team with 18.5 points per game, and then their next three top scorers average 15.6, 15.4 and 13.5 points per game.
Denver runs much differently than the Lakers do in that department, as L.A. has two big scorers in Davis and LeBron James, and then there’s a bit of a drop off. However, both teams play at a fairly slow place. The Lakers rank 22nd in the NBA in pace, whereas the Nuggets rank dead last. So one way the Lakers can hurt the top-rated defense in the league is by speeding up the pace of the game.
The Lakers know that the Nuggets are going to be a tough opponent. If the Lakers lose this game, they’ll have their first back-to-back loss this season. Head coach Frank Vogel doesn’t seem too worried, however, as he believes his team has it in them to respond after their loss.
“Playing in Denver’s always tough, (and) as well as they’re playing this year, it’s going to be even tougher,” Vogel told reporters on Sunday night. “I believe in our guys. If we play to our abilities, there’s nobody we can’t beat and nowhere we can’t get a W. So we’ve got to make sure that we respond from this, and bounce back and try to get a W couple days from now.”
Notes and Updates
- Nuggets Head Coach Mike Malone is a big fan of what the Lakers have done so far, calling them “the best team in the West” ahead of their match-up in Denver.
- Despite having their winning streak snapped on Sunday, the Lakers don’t want to make losing a habit. Anthony Davis said the team doesn’t ever want to lose twice in a row, while Danny Green says that the Lakers have “got to put four quarters together” and that they “can’t play from behind and dig ourselves into a hole.”
- Frank Vogel was honored for the Lakers’ 17-2 record in October and November with the Western Conference Coach of the Month award on Monday.
Today’s game between the Lakers and Nuggets will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. PST in Pepsi Center, and will be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.