EditorsNote: 2nd update; correct play by play in 9th graf, changes waiving to waving iin 12th graf
Paul Millsap had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Jamal Murray scored 20 and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 117-85 on Tuesday night.
Malik Beasley also had 20 points to establish a career high, and Nikola Jokic had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Nuggets. Denver has won four straight after dropping six of its previous seven.
The Lakers were 5 of 35 from behind the 3-point line and shot just 39.1 percent overall. Kyle Kuzma, who led Los Angeles with 21 points, was 1-for-7 from long range, and LeBron James missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
James finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Denver took control of the game in the third quarter with a strong push out of the locker room. Jokic hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to quickly make it a 14-point lead.
Millsap hit a couple of baskets, including an up-and-under baseline jumper that gave the Nuggets a 74-58 lead midway through the period.
Denver ended the quarter when Mason Plumlee tipped in a Trey Lyles miss with 2.1 seconds left for an 89-71 advantage.
Plumlee finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Nuggets put it away early in the fourth. Murray and Beasley hit 3-pointers, with a Kuzma floater in between, and Lyles drained a turnaround jumper to give Denver a 104-78 lead with 7:29 left.
James and the rest of the starters sat on the bench the rest of the game as Denver closed it out.
Millsap had a strong first half, scoring 16 points and pulling down seven rebounds in 13 minutes. Murray, who has had some animated moments against Los Angeles the past two seasons, had 15 points to help Denver take a 58-50 halftime lead.
He also added another wrinkle in his personal back-and-forth with the Lakers, waving at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after he hit a layup in the second quarter.
The Nuggets played without guard and second-leading scorer Gary Harris. Harris left Friday’s game against Orlando with left ankle soreness and has been inactive the past two games.
—Field Level Media