Lakers prevail over Nuggets in OT in battle of West's top teams

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Los Angeles Lakers exited Denver with an overtime win and even firmer grip on the Western Conference entering the All-Star break with a 120-117 win over the Nuggets on Wednesday.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis both topped 30 points, with James posting a triple-double with 14 assists and 11 rebounds. Per ESPN, James and Davis are the first Lakers teammates to register 30 points and 10 rebounds since Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2008.

The Lakers won through dominance in the paint between their two stars and Dwight Howard’s 14-point, 11-rebound night, with Nuggets star Nikola Jokic limited by foul trouble for much of the game.

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It wasn't always pretty, but the Lakers got it done in Denver. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
It wasn't always pretty, but the Lakers got it done in Denver. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

It was a tough games for the Nuggets between Jokic’s struggles and missing half of their bench. Key reserves Will Barton, Mason Plumlee and Michael Porter Jr. were all out with injuries.

Jamal Murray almost made up for those absences with a 32-point, 10-assist night. At the very least, the Nuggets showed they are one of the few teams that can legitimately hang with the Lakers.

A back-and-forth game — both teams held double-digit leads at some point before the fourth quarter — turned into a thriller at the end.

The most frustrating moment of the night for the Nuggets came on a bizarre jump-ball call that erased what should have been a Jokic and-1 that could have given the Nuggets a six-point lead with less than four minutes left.

Instead, a potential three-point play for the Nuggets turned into basically a passer-interference foul on one of their own after Davis won the jump ball and James completed a long outlet pass to Alex Caruso. The Lakers took the lead 30 seconds later, and Gary Harris sent the game to overtime on a shot through contact at the rim.

The win gives the 41-12 Lakers a four-game lead in the West entering the All-Star break.

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