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Lakers

Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 117-107 loss to Denver

Emmanuel Mudiay, D’Angelo Russell

The Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell defends Denver guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

1. The Lakers showed again that they may have their backcourt of the future, as rookie D’Angelo Russell and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson combined for 37 points.

The Lakers didn’t get to see them together in the second half because Clarkson suffered a strained tendon in his left knee in the third quarter and didn’t return.

But before he left, Clarkson had 13 points.

Russell followed up his career-high 39-point game against Brooklyn Tuesday night at Staples Center with 24 points against Denver on Wednesday night.

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“I’m seeing progress there,” Kobe Bryant said. “They’re looking pretty damned good right now.”

2. The two rookie point guards — Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay — went at each other, neither backing down to the challenge.

Russell, drafted second overall by the Lakers last June, and Mudiay, taken seventh overall by the Denver Nuggets, are the future for their teams.

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Mudiay had 22 points on 10-for-20 shooting. He also had seven assists and four rebounds.

3. If there was a big problem for Lakers Coach Byron Scott, it was his guards’ inability to stop Denver’s backcourt.

Besides Mudiay having a big night, D.J. Augustin had 26 points off the bench for the Nuggets.

Russell and Clarkson, when he played, and Marcelo Huertas were not able to stop Mudiay and Augustin.

“Their guards lit us up,” Scott said. “Again, it goes back to that end of the floor. We’ve just got to get better at that end of the floor. Guys have to take a little bit more of responsibility on taking those challenges, and tonight, Mudiay and especially D.J. coming off the bench, those guys killed us tonight.”

4. Nick Young gave the Lakers a little spark off the bench.

Young got to play because Bryant couldn’t finish the game because of a sore right shoulder.

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Young had eight points on two-for-five shooting and was one for four on three-pointers.

After he was jeered by the Nuggets’ fans following an air ball three-point attempt, Young waved three fingers at the crowd when he made a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.

5. The Lakers were beat on the backboards, 42-31.

Joffrey Lauvergne led the Nuggets with 10 rebounds off the bench.

Julius Randle and Tarik Black led the Lakers with seven rebounds.


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