It’s only fitting that a game between the top two teams in the Western Conference couldn’t be decided in regulation. Overtime was needed to settle things, as the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers put the All-Star break on hold for a little longer. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, the Lakers escaped with the 120-116 victory, following tough shot-making from Anthony Davis throughout the overtime period.
“Give them credit, it was a great game,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “I can’t fault the effort from our guys. Our guys gave it everything they had, it’s just a tough loss.”
Although the Lakers quickly scored the first two baskets of the game, the Nuggets responded with an 8-0 run to take an early lead. Denver was able to maintain control of the game throughout the quarter. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić served as a dynamic one-two punch for Denver early, as the two combined for 18 points in the first frame. The Nuggets led 31-23 after one as the Lakers’ offense slumped to 40 percent shooting from the field.
Hot 3-point shooting helped the Nuggets build a 13-point lead within the first four minutes of the second quarter. Denver had already knocked down six 3-pointers within the first 16 minutes of the game. However, Los Angeles slowly crawled back into the game throughout the middle stages of the quarter and ultimately took the lead back late in the half. The Nuggets struggled to make shots offensively throughout the quarter and the Lakers built an advantage on the boards to secure a 61-55 lead at the break.