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Lakers

Coming off loss, Lakers face another tough test against Nuggets

Lakers forward Anthony Davis controls the ball against the Mavericks.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis says the team wants to shift its focus to the Denver Nuggets and not think too much about losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
(Katharine Lotze / Getty Images)

They had no choice but to move on to the next big challenge, knowing full well that playing the Nuggets will present the Lakers with another threat in the uber-tough Western Conference.

Sunday was the day in which the Lakers’ 10-game winning streak was snapped at Staples Center by the Dallas Mavericks.

Tuesday will be the day in which the Lakers will try and bounce back from that defeat and see if their goal of not losing two consecutive games can be a reality when they travel to Denver.

“We’re not going to get too low about this game, and then we work on our next opponent and get ready for them,” Anthony Davis said Sunday afternoon after the Lakers dropped a 114-100 game to the Mavericks. “It’s one game. We’re not going to put our heads down over this one, but at the same time we need to learn from it and get ready for the next one.”

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This next one against the Nuggets will be just as big of a test for the Lakers.

The Nuggets have won 10 of their last 12 games and their 13-4 record in the Western Conference is right behind the Lakers’ 17-3 mark.

The Nuggets have the top defensive rating in the NBA (101.9) and are allowing a league-low 101.8 points per game.

The Lakers struggle with their shooting and can’t stop the Dallas Mavericks from pulling away in the second half of a 114-100 loss at Staples Center.

They are holding teams to a league-low 30.9% three-point shooting and the 42.8% field-goal shooting the Nuggets allow teams to make is the fourth-lowest in the league.

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“Each game is a new challenge,” Danny Green said. “Denver is even tougher team. Can’t take nothing away from Dallas. They are really good. But Denver is new challenge, a different challenge. They have been playing well in the West the last couple of years. They have many different threats, inside and out, so it’s going to be a fun one and we look forward to scouting, looking at the film and figuring out what we need to do to obviously improve on ourselves, but also guard them and make them play to towards their weaknesses.”

But even that can be difficult for the Lakers because the Nuggets are not just good on defense but they are very capable on offense.

They have four players averaging in double-figures, making it hard to focus on just one or two players defensively.

Guard Jamal Murray leads the Nuggets in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per game.

Center Nikola Jokic is second on the team in scoring (15.6) and first in rebounding (10.4) and assists (6.0).

Will Barton (15.4) is third in scoring and Paul Millsap (13.5) is fourth.

“That’s part of growing together — how you respond to losses,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “And we couldn’t have a tougher opponent coming up with the next game. Playing in Denver is always tough. As well as they’re playing this year, it’s going to be even tougher. So, I believe in our guys. If we play to our abilities, there’s nobody we can’t beat and nowhere we can’t get a W. So we got to make sure that we respond from this (loss to Dallas) and bounce back and try to get a W a couple days from now.”


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