Lakers struggle late and lose to the Nuggets, 101-94

Kobe Bryant, Wilson Chandler, JaVale McGee
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant attempts a reverse layup against Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler (21) and center JaVale McGee in the first half Sunday at Staples Center.
(Gus Ruelas / Associated Press)

The Lakers played their first opponent of the season with a losing record, but still couldn’t get the win, falling to the Denver Nuggets, 101-94, in overtime.

Danilo Gallinari, who missed a free throw late in the fourth quarter that might have sealed the win for his team, hit a vital three-pointer with 1:28 left in overtime to give the Nuggets a 94-90 lead.

Kobe Bryant answered with a fadeaway jumper, but Ty Lawson scored with a minute left. After another Bryant miss, the game became a free-throw shooting contest.

Bryant missed a difficult three-pointer with 12.9 seconds left, the Lakers’ last real hope, and the team fell to 3-11 on the season.


Denver (6-7) won their fourth consecutive game, led by Wilson Chandler with 19 points.  Timofey Mozgov notched a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.  Lawson finished with 18 points and 16 assists while Arron Afflalo added 16 points. Gallinari finished with 10 off the bench.

The Lakers were led by Bryant’s 27 points, although he needed 24 shots to get there.  Jeremy Lin scored 17 and had five assists.

Carlos Boozer sat with a shoulder injury.  Ed Davis started in his place, fouling out in 22 minutes with four points and five rebounds. 

Robert Sacre took advantage of the opportunity to score 13 points in 18 minutes.  Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson moonlighted at power forward.  Hill finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.  Johnson scored seven with 12 boards.


Nick Young struggled, shooting only 2 of 12 from the field for seven points.  Wayne Ellington contributed eight off the bench.

Denver shot 37.8% from the field but the Nuggets missed 15 free throws in 38 attempts (60.5%) and 27 three-pointers in 37 tries.

The Lakers hit 37.1% from the field and 12.5% from behind the arc.  The team is off until Wednesday, when they host the Memphis Grizzlies (12-2).

The Nuggets return home to host the Chicago Bulls (8-5) on Tuesday.

Lakers 86, Denver Nuggets 86 (end of regulation)

The Lakers and Nuggets simply couldn’t score for most of the fourth quarter, missing from just about everywhere, including from the free-throw line.

When the dust settled, the Nuggets scored 14 points in the quarter, the Lakers 11.

Danilo Gallinari missed the opportunity to put the Nuggets up by a point with 15.1 seconds left on the clock, but he split a pair of free throws.  Kobe Bryant missed a fadeaway and, eventually, time ran out in an ugly fourth quarter with the score tied.


Bryant has 23 points to lead all scorers.  The Lakers have shot 37.8% from the field.

Denver was led by Wilson Chandler’s 18 points, shooting 36.1% as a team. The Nuggets have missed 13 free throws in 30 attempts (56.7%).

Lakers 75, Nuggets 72 (end of the third quarter)

Jeremy Lin and Robert Sacre helped the Lakers climb ahead of the Nuggets by three points heading into the fourth quarter.

Lin scored 11 points in the third quarter while Sacre added 10.  Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers with 16 points, followed by Lin (15) and Sacre (13).  As a team, the Lakers are shooting 45.8% from the field.

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson tallied a double-double in 29 minutes with 14 points and 15 assists. 

The Lakers had 13 assists as a team, Denver 18.

Forward Wilson Chandler has 15 points to lead the Nuggets, who are shooting 40.3% as a team.


Lakers center Jordan Hill is two points shy of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.

Nuggets 41, Lakers 39 (halftime)

The Lakers whittled down a Nuggets’ seven-point lead to two, but Jeremy Lin’s late three-point attempt for the lead missed.

Denver struggled from the outside, shooting 19 from behind the arc and connecting on only four (21.1%).  The Lakers were slightly better at 3 of 12 (25%) from long range while shooting 36.6% from the field for the first half. The Nuggets shot 33.3% from the field but owned a three-point advantage in made free throws, 9-6.

Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with 11 points. Wayne Ellington chipped in eight points off the bench, including a surprising dunk in transition.

Ty Lawson is nearing a double-double in 20 minutes, scoring eight points with eight assits. Lawson took only three shots but converted all six of his free throws.

Outside of Bryant shooting 55.6% (5 of 9), the other Lakers starters combined to make only 23.5% (4 of 17) of their shots.

Nuggets 21, Lakers 19 (end of the first quarter)

The Lakers only shot 38.9% from the field in the first quarter against the Nuggets, but finished the period down by just two points while holding Denver to 31.8% shooting.

Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with nine points.  Ty Lawson has eight for the Nuggets.

Neither team converted a three-point attempt, Denver missing six and the Lakers two. The Nuggets hit seven free throws in 12 attempts, helping account for their slight lead. The Lakers took eight shots from the line, making five.

Carlos Boozer sat out with a shoulder injury, giving Ed Davis a chance to start at power forward next to center Jordan Hill. Davis scored a point with two rebounds in seven minutes.


The Lakers (3-10) return home from a three-game trip to host their first under-.500 opponent of the season.

The Denver Nuggets (5-7) started the season slowly but have since won three in a row.

Carlos Boozer (strained left shoulder) is questionable, but Jeremy Lin (sore back) is expected to play.  The Lakers will play without Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).

For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Denver Nuggets.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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