Five takeaways from the Lakers' 106-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets

Five takeaways from the Lakers' 106-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets
Wesley Johnson is guarded by Denver's Wilson Chandler during the first half of a game Tuesday at Staples Center. (Michael Nelson / EPA)

The Lakers (13-39) lost their fifth straight game on Tuesday night, falling to the Denver Nuggets (20-33).  Here are five takeaways from their 106-96 win at Staples Center.

1. At halftime, Ty Lawson scored just four points with six assists, his team down 48-45.  By game's end, Lawson finished with 32 points and 16 assists.


In the fourth quarter alone, Lawson scored 16 points with six assists.  The Nuggets shot 75.0% from the field over the stretch as the Lakers simply had no answer for Lawson.

2. Jordan Clarkson didn't have his best game, scoring seven points, although he did notch a career-high seven assists.  Through his nine starts, the rookie is averaging 13.0 points, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals.

After the game, Clarkson said Lawson was his toughest test yet -- that's from a long list of top-flight point guards including Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tony Parker, Brandon Knight and Kyrie Irving.

3. Coach Byron Scott primarily went with the Lakers' veteran players down the stretch, with Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington, Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson and Nick Young.

Scott wasn't happy with Clarkson's defense on Lawson.

"He was giving [Lawson] way too much space, way too much respect, and that's what I told him when I took him out," said Scott.

Not that Lin, or any other Laker, had any real success against Lawson in the fourth period.

4. Young had somewhat of a bounce-back game, scoring 12 points in the Lakers' loss.  Trying to pull out of a long slump, Young shot just four of 13 from the field but that was a step in the right direction.

"A little bit better," said Scott.  "He's still not shooting it as well as we know he can.  He did a better job defensively.  Hopefully he is coming out of it.  Like I said before the game, he's just lost some of his confidence.  He's got to get that back.  If he does, he will go back to being the Nick that we all know and love."

5. With the loss, the Lakers continued to stay within striking distance of the three bottom teams in relation to NBA draft lottery standings.  The Lakers owe their first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns unless it's top-five protected.

The New York Knicks (10-42) are at the bottom, followed by the Minnesota Timberwolves (11-41) and Philadelphia 76ers (12-41).  The Orlando Magic (16-39) are "behind" the Lakers with the fifth-worst record.

The Knicks visit the Magic on Wednesday, guaranteeing a victory for one of the two franchises.

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