Russell Westbrook has triple-double in win over Nuggets
(Andrew Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James led the Lakers past the Denver Nuggets on Friday at the Arena, 126-108. James scored 30 points in the win, with Russell Westbrook having one of his best games, scoring 15 points, with 12 assists, and 11 rebounds after teammate Anthony Davis suffered a foot injury during the first half.

Davis played for 17 minutes in the first half and did not return to the court for the second half. He suffered what the team called a “foot injury” when he landed awkwardly following a layup attempt against Nikola Jokic. Multiple publications report that Davis’ injury could sideline him for at least a month. Under that scenario, Davis would miss more than 20 games. The Lakers are presently in 12th place in the Western Conference.

James played center in Davis’ absence, grabbing nine rebounds. He finished the night with 30 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. The Laker bench stepped up to assist James as they propelled the team to victory. Westbrook had his second triple-double off the bench this season. The win was particularly satisfying for Westbrook.

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“The pace has changed, and the game changed. You could see it. When we play that way, it’s hard to beat us,” Westbrook said.

Thomas Bryant has spectacular night in Laker win
(Andrew Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Laker’s role players shined brightly in this much-needed win. Thomas Bryant outhustled two-time MVP Nikola Jokic in the second half and pushed the pace with 21 points. Bryant’s numbers tell the story, as he contributed nine field goals, six rebounds, one assist, and two steals. After the game, Bryant said he did not know that Davis was injured until he found out that he would start in the third quarter.

My mindset was just, bring this energy, bring what I can to this team, and hopefully, it works out the right way, and it did,” he said.

Laker coach Darvin Ham believes Bryant was the energy the team needed.

“He came out and had a really, really huge effort against a two-time MVP. [He] really helped us on both sides of the basketball, just his energy and activity. His no-quit mentality. We needed that. He was a huge burst for us,” Ham said.

The Lakers had 28 fast break points and 64 points in the paint. Austin Reaves and Dennis Schröder added 16 points and 15 points, respectively.

LeBron James goes up for a dunk in win over Denver
(Andrew Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

While James wished the best for Davis, he expressed gratitude for this win.

“It’s huge, especially after the heartbreak loss we had last time against Boston,” James said. “We started to get defensive stops and were able to get out and execute offensively.”

Jokic finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. Jamal Murray added 25 points, five rebounds, and six assists. The Nuggets had 19 total turnovers, resulting in a 17-11 fall, with the Lakers improving to 12-16 on the season.

The Lakers will need the continued aggressive play of its role players as they hit the road to face the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center, the Sacramento Kings at Golden Center 1, the Charlotte Hornets at home, and the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day at the American Airlines Center.