LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Denver Nuggets for the second straight time this preseason on Tuesday night. This time it was held at Staples Center in front of a crowd that got to see the new look Lakers for the first time up close. This game was a lot closer with it coming down to the last possession of the game before they fell 113-111.
This was LeBron James first time playing in Staples Center in a Laker uniform.
At Tuesday's morning shootaround, James said about playing in Staples for the first time as a Laker: "It's a new beginning, a new start; it's a new excitement for myself."
James played just the first half and finished with 13 points in 15 minutes.
Summer league MVP Josh Hart who started in place of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at shooting guard scored 14 points taking a team high 13 shots making six. Four of the five starters scored in double figures: Javale McGee (15), Rajon Rondo (11), LeBron James (13) and Hart's 14.
Coach Walton still has a few games to figure out line ups and rotations. His major concern and focus should be on the defensive side of the floor. They ended the first half giving up a cross court pass to Will Barton with around five seconds remaining that resulted in Barton knocking down the three. The Nuggets then erased a 18 point lead in 3rd quarter to ultimately come away with the win.
The Lakers weren't good defensively on any level. They weren't good on the ball, defending the pick and roll, challenging at the rim, and probably most importantly there was a lack of communication and trust.
They have the personnel with their versatility and size and length but the with it just being their second game playing with one another, it's going to take time to figure out everyone's strengths and weaknesses.
The effort should never be in question especially from a team with a lot of expectations and something to prove.
Next Game: Thursday 10/4 vs Sacramento Kings @ 7:30 PT.