Brook Lopez holds the ball against the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 2, 2017.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Late Turnovers Cost Lakers in Loss to Denver

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

For as well as the Lakers played in their first 44 minutes against Denver, the last four cost them any shot at victory.

The Lakers tied the game at 100, then committed four turnovers on their next six possessions, as the Nuggets finished with a 15-0 run toward a 115-100 victory.

Los Angeles (8-14) was plagued by all kinds of turnovers by all kinds of players. Larry Nance Jr. was called for a moving screen. Lonzo Ball was whistled for a charge. Brandon Ingram lost a wild dribble. Julius Randle was intercepted on a pass.

Meanwhile, the Lakers couldn’t stop fouling Denver (13-9), which scored eight of its last 15 points at the free throw line.

“For most of that game we outplayed them, to be honest with you,” Randle said. “We outplayed them for most of the game. Just (didn’t at) crucial times and (made) late turnovers.”

Head coach Luke Walton called the fourth quarter “a complete meltdown” and “probably as bad as we could have played.”

But he understood the inevitability of growing pains with such a young team, and expressed optimism that his players would learn from such a collapse.

“A lot of what happened to us tonight was self-inflicted,” Walton said, “and the exciting thing about that is … we can be the ones to change it.”

Unfortunately for the Lakers, it is too late to change a final result that wasted a pair of nice offensive performances from Ingram and Randle.

On the heels of a career-high 32-point game against Golden State, Ingram scored 20 points and flashed his ability to get to the rim and draw fouls (8-of-8 at the line).

Meanwhile, Randle scored 15 points in just 21 minutes by shooting 4-of-4 at the rim and 1-of-2 on 3-pointers.

Even Brook Lopez broke out of his slump with 15 points, and Kyle Kuzma returned from back spasms with a 13-point, 10-rebound double double.

But, in a season afflicted by turnovers, the Lakers couldn’t stop giving the ball away.

Ingram and Ball committed five apiece, but just about every player had a hand in 21 turnovers on the night, which the Nuggets converted into 28 points.

The result of poor ball control was a loss to a depleted Denver team missing its two best players: Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap. Instead, Jamal Murray snapped out of a two-week shooting funk with 28 points and five 3-pointers.

Notes
Ball had nine points, nine rebounds and five assists. … The Lakers had 17 offensive rebounds and outscored Denver on second-chance points, 23-7. … The Nuggets retired Fat Lever’s number at halftime in front of a sellout crowd of 19,520.

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