A night after a big fourth quarter comeback to beat the New York Knicks, the Lakers found themselves in a hole they couldn’t get out of tonight against the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers were down nine points after Corey Brewer hit a 3-pointer to end the third. In the fourth quarter, the Nuggets built that lead to 15 and had an answer for every Laker push.
The Lakers were shorthanded much of the second half after Dwight Howard was ejected in the third quarter for a Flagrant 2 foul on Kenneth Faried. That, along with 14 turnovers and the 20 offensive rebounds they gave up did not allow the Lakers to make a successful comeback. After cutting the Nuggets’ lead to seven with 4:38 left in the game, Metta World Peace missed a fastbreak layup that led to a Dalino Gallinari three on the other end, helping the Nuggets hold on to win the game, 126-114.
The Lakers broke down defensively on seemingly every possession as Denver found the open man. The Nuggets, who shoot 33% from three-point range on the season, shot 12-of-22 (54.5%) from downtown tonight. They also had 58 points in the paint, outscoring the Lakers by 20.
The Lakers played well offensively at times, but they couldn’t get enough stops to string together a timely comeback as they had done in the prior three games. Fourth-quarter comebacks got them wins against Charlotte, Golden State, as well as yesterday against New York. But unlike those three games, the defense never picked up in the last period and the Lakers never had a chance to get back in the game.
Kobe Bryant had 40 points and six assists to lead the Lakers. Brewer scored 27 off the bench for the Nuggets.
The Lakers fall to 14-15 and look to get back to .500 on Friday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.