December 23, 2019 / 5:22 AM / a month ago

Nuggets hand LeBron-less Lakers 3rd straight loss

EditorsNote: 7th graf, change Nuggets’ game turnover total to 10 sted 8

December 22, 2019; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) before playing against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Millsap scored 21 points and Gary Harris added 19 as the Denver Nuggets used a second-half burst for a 128-104 victory Sunday over the host Los Angeles Lakers, who played without the injured LeBron James.

Nikola Jokic had 18 points and six rebounds, while Will Barton finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won their sixth straight. Malik Beasley chipped in 16 points off the bench.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 32 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, but he sustained a knee injury. Kyle Kuzma, who returned after missing the previous five games with an ankle sprain, had 16 points off the bench for the Lakers, who dropped their third in a row. No other Laker scored in double figures.

James missed a game for the first time this season with a thoracic muscle strain in his back.

Denver prevailed despite guard Jamal Murray, who entered the contest averaging 17.9 points per contest, scoring six points on 3-of-11 shooting, including 0-for-6 on 3-pointers.

The Nuggets took control with a solid third quarter and buried the Lakers in the fourth. A 12-0 run lifted the Nuggets to 77-67 advantage after two free throws by Barton with 4:38 left in the third quarter. They increased the margin to 91-78 on a tip-in by Mason Plumlee to end the third. Denver outscored Los Angeles 36-25 in the quarter.

The Nuggets also forced six Lakers turnovers in the quarter without committing any. The Nuggets had only 10 miscues in the game to 19 for the Lakers.

Davis left the game with 3:13 remaining in the third after tweaking his right knee and picking up his fourth foul. He returned to start the fourth quarter but it didn’t make any difference.

The Nuggets led 55-53 at the break. They also outshot the Lakers 44.4 percent 39.2 percent in the first half. Overall, Denver hit 48.9 percent of its field goals to 47 percent for Los Angeles

The Nuggets also converted 11 of 32 3-pointers (34.4 percent) to 10 of 29 (34.5 percent) for the Lakers.

—Field Level Media

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