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Jordan Clarkson notches career-high, but Lakers fall to Denver Nuggets, 120-109

The Lakers will win a game this season, most likely.

There’s a lot of time between now and April 13, so something good presumably will happen to the franchise that used to blow off October and part of November as long as everything looked good in late April, May and June.

Now the main thing the Lakers disregard is their defense, again the offender in a 120-109 loss Tuesday to the short-handed Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.

The Lakers haven’t left the state of California but are now 0-4. Teams roll into their games, blow past 100 points in the late third or early fourth quarter, and win with ease.

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Copy and paste, copy and paste. It keeps happening with a coach who preaches defense but isn’t getting any on the court.

“Basically, they averaged 30 points each quarter,” Byron Scott said. “We’re just not reacting like we need to. We’ve just got to continue to harp on it.”

Jordan Clarkson had a career-high 30 points, but Kobe Bryant came back from his stay-at-home Monday and continued to miss too many shots, scoring 11 points on four-for-11 accuracy. He missed four of five from three-point range.

Bryant was “really angry” at his play through three games, Scott said Monday, and the new spin is that he needed to recapture his rhythm and some conditioning after missing two weeks in exhibition play because of a bruised leg.

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“It’s just a matter of time,” Scott said.

Or maybe time is just bringing Bryant, 37, down.

He wasn’t as down on himself as he was two days earlier, when he claimed to be merely the 200th-best player in the NBA. He verbally shrugged when asked what he would tell Lakers fans who are freaking out.

“Freak out,” he said nonchalantly. “It’s good for the soul.”

On the youth front, Denver’s point guard appears to be slightly ahead of D’Angelo Russell even though Emmanuel Mudiay was drafted seventh overall, five spots below Russell.

Russell didn’t seem thrilled at his fourth-quarter benching.

“I have no idea,” he said. “It’s something I’ve got to deal with.”

Neither one of them shot well — Mudiay three for 13, Russell three for 11 — but Russell was notably absent in crunch time in favor of veteran Lou Williams (24 points, 16 of 19 on free throws).

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Mudiay had 12 points and 10 assists but six turnovers. Russell had seven points, six assists and a turnover.

The Lakers, apparently great behind closed doors, now hit the road for a five-game trip.

“We’ve been having great practices,” Scott said. “We haven’t been able to translate it on the floor for 48 minutes.”

Power forward Kenneth Faried was the player who crushed them Tuesday, combining 28 points with 15 rebounds.

The Lakers got fouled an incredible four times while taking three-point shots in the fourth quarter, leading to a barrage of free throws and a slight comeback from a 93-83 deficit entering the quarter.

They never overtook Denver (2-2), however, and couldn’t come close to stopping them defensively when it mattered.

Copy and paste, copy and paste.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan

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