DENVER (AP/CBS4) — Nikola Jokic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 122-105 on Sunday night in a game in which Anthony Davis re-aggravated his sore right Achilles.
The spotlight was on the showdown between Jokic and LeBron James, who are both among the favorites in the NBA MVP race. Jokic finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. James had 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, but the Lakers’ seven-game win streak ended.READ MORE: Pediatrician Drawing Support For Push To Get Students Back In The Classroom
For his big game, Jokic credited a new mindset.
“If I’m open, shoot it,” Jokic said. “If I see someone is coming, just pass the ball. Don’t overthink anything.”
Los Angeles never got back on track after Davis limped to the locker room in the first half. He finished with 15 points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.
Jamal Murray scored 25 points for Denver in its third straight win. Rookie Zeke Nnaji had 16 points, and fellow reserve Facundo Campazzo finished with 15.
“In this business, you never know when your number is going to be called,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “You better be ready when it’s called. That’s what I’m proud of most.”
This was meeting No. 2 of the season between the teams that advanced to the Western Conference finals last season. In the first contest on Feb. 4, the Lakers trailed by 12 points in the third quarter before going on a big run to take control. They outscored the Nuggets 68-35 in the second half for a a 114-93 win.
Only this time, the third quarter wasn’t an issue. Denver outscored the Lakers 30-24 in the third to open a comfortable lead and stretched it to as many as 21 in the fourth.
And while the Lakers were able to rally from 20-point deficits in their last two wins, they couldn’t storm back in this one.
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Lakers: F Kyle Kuzma scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Nuggets: Gary Harris (left adductor strain), Will Barton III (personal reasons) and P.J. Dozier (strained right hamstring) were out. … F Paul Millsap didn’t play in the second half due to a sprained left knee. He had 10 points.
HOW ABOUT THAT PASS
Campazzo had a no-look pass in the first quarter that whirled past the head of Kuzma and straight to Nnaji, who drained the 3-pointer.
For as good as the NBA champion Lakers were last season, Malone believes their additions of Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schröder and Marc Gasol takes them to an even higher plateau.
“In my opinion, and no disrespect to any players that are not back … I think they’re even better this year with the talent they’ve brought in,” Malone said.
Lakers: At Minnesota on Tuesday. Beat the Timberwolves 127-91 on Dec. 27.
Nuggets: Begin a four-game trip Tuesday in Boston.MORE NEWS: Aurora City Council Questions Panelists About Elijah McClain Independent Review
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