DENVER – Jamal Murray scored a season-high 34 points, Nikola Jokic recorded his 11th triple-double of the season, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 122-109 on Monday night in a game that included LeBron James withdrew from the game due to pain in the left flank. ankle.
Jokic finished with 14 points – on 5-of-5 shots – with 11 rebounds and 16 assists to help the Nuggets win their 11th straight home game. This is their longest home streak with 12 consecutive wins in 2018.
Denver is still tied for first place in the Western Conference with Memphis.
“We did what we had to do,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “The guys came to work with a working attitude. Everyone got up and went about their work.”
Russell Westbrook finished with 25 and Thomas Bryant added 17 and 10 boards for the Lakers, who snapped their five-game winning streak.
James was ruled out hours before kickoff, joining injured striker Anthony Davis (right foot) on the bench. Patrick Beverley did not play after the break due to a hip injury.
The Lakers entered the game without Troy Brown Jr. (left quadriceps strain), Austin Reeves (hamstring strain), and Lonnie Walker IV (knee tendinitis).
“Thanks to our guys – they kept fighting and just made a couple of bad passes, a couple of balls that didn’t hit our side, a couple of shots missed,” said Lakers coach Darwin Ham. “The group that was there, they were competitive and then they gave it their all until we couldn’t give anymore.”
Leading by a full 20 points in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets saw the Lakers make a mini-run. But Murray calmed the situation down with a three-pointer.
Murray’s scoring performance was another big step as the point guard returned to form after an ACL tear that saw him miss all of last season.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone urged his team to keep the intensity high against the battered Lakers.
“You have to fight human nature when you don’t have LeBron on the team… and all those guys,” Malone said. “You can’t relax.”
Lakers: G Kendrick Nunn scored 15 points. … G Dennis Schroeder was called up for maintenance in the third quarter.
Nuggets: Zika Nnaji turned 22 on Monday. … The Nuggets were charged with two technical fouls to delay the game. … Centavius Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points and Bruce Brown scored 15. … It was Jokic’s 87th career triple-double.
The Lakers are beginning the process of preparing Davis for his return home.
“There are different benchmarks set in the course of the coming weeks and if he hits those marks and ticks those boxes, then he’s back on the court,” Ham said. “Am I ready to schedule? Not.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On Monday, James was named Western Conference Player of the Week. In his last three games, he averaged 35 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists.
James, 38, is 35 points away from joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a member of the 38,000-point NBA club.
Lakers: Start a five-game home stance against Dallas on Thursday.
Nuggets: Take Phoenix on Wednesday.
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