Lakers in familiar territory facing elimination after 112-105 loss to Nuggets in Game 3 of first-round playoff series – NBC Los Angeles

Last month, after another regular season loss to the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James spoke candidly about his frustration playing the defending champions.

“They have our number,” said James following a 124-114 loss on March 3rd. “We haven’t beaten them in quite a while.”

‘Quite a while’ is quite the understatement. It’s been 496 days and counting since the last time the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets on December 16, 2022.

The losing streak reached 11 games on Thursday night after the Nuggets mounted a second-half comeback, defeating the Lakers 112-105 in Game 3 of their first-round series at Arena.

For the second straight year, the Lakers find themselves down 3-0 and on the brink of getting swept by the Nuggets out of the NBA Playoffs.

Denver took all four games against the Lakers during the Western Conference Finals last May.

Aaron Gordon led the Nuggets with 27 points as four different starters scored over 20+ points for the reigning champions.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Award winner Nikola Jokic finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with a game-high 33 points and 15 rebounds. LeBron James finished with 26 points in the loss.

D’Angelo Russell did not score a single point after finishing with 23 points on 7 three-pointers in Game 2 on Tuesday.

Austin Reaves tallied 22 points in defeat.

For the third consecutive game the Lakers got off to a hot start, building a 12-point lead early in the second quarter.

But it’s not how you start, but how you finish, and the champs are the best at closing games in the NBA.

Denver out-scored the Lakers 34-22 in the third quarter and took a 12-point lead of their own midway through the third quarter.

Gordon dominated his matchup by running the baseline. At one point in the third quarter, he scored a layup or dunk on five out of seven offensive possessions.

Once the Nuggets built up a double-digit lead, the Lakers folded like origami, allowing the inevitable outcome to happen.

Game 4 of the series tips off on Saturday night from arena at 5:30PM PT.  

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