The Denver Nuggets committed a late rally to defeat the Lakers 114-106. Before the matchup, Ham noted how the game was a progress report to see the state of the Purple and Gold.
“We did a good job for the most part taking care of the ball,” said Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. “But our turnovers, they had 15 points off our seven turnovers.”
The Purple and Gold tied with Denver at 104 with 2:18 left in the game. The Nuggets then created a 12-4 run. The defending champions continually relied on one particular play to score.
At the half, the Denver Nuggets leads the Lakers 59-49. Anthony Davis and Michael Porter Jr have 14 points each
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“Very good teams, they have the ability to run plays late in the game that they haven’t run all game and certain packages they can go to where they get a really good shot,” said Lakers forward LeBron James.” “But makes it even more dynamic if you have a point guard and you have a center as great as [Jamal Murray] and [Nikola Jokic].”
Denver led by as much as 15 points. By the fourth, the Lakers cut their deficit to four. Center Jaxson Hayes showed aggression, scoring six points in under two regulated minutes. He also made a chase-down block in the first half.
Hayes had a season-high of 16 points on the Lakers’ 114-105 win against the Boston Celtics on February 1.
“[Hayes] is playing really solid basketball right now, really good, disciplined basketball. His motor is like no other,” Ham said. “The joy he brings to the game, that positive energy, that high-level energy is definitely infectious.”
The Lakers trailed against the Nuggets in the first half but showed more urgency in the second.
“We all sensed going into the locker room that we were a little down,” Hayes said. “We all looked at each other and said ‘c’mon, we got to turn it up’ and that was that.”
The Purple and Gold were without D’Angelo Russell, Cam Reddish, and Jarred Vanderbilt. Guard Max Christie suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter. Davis lamented on how the team needs to get back to full health.
“The effort was there tonight, we had a lot of breakdowns for threes late in the game,” Davis said. “Just breakdowns overall where they scored but I like where we are as a unit.”
The lack of transactions before the NBA trade deadline could evoke how the Lakers front office is content with the current roster. Guard Austin Reaves mentioned that the effort and chemistry among his teammates are strong.
“It’s great, it’s basically been the same thing all year, the vibes have been good,” Reaves said. “This is what we have and we’re confident in that, just got to keep building.”
The Lakers will host the New Orleans Pelicans on February 9 at 7:30P.M.