The Los Angeles Lakers started a four-game series in six days with a tough road match against the Denver Nuggets, which became a difficult battle when Lonzo Ball was injured in his left ankle.
Ball was injured late in the second quarter when he slipped on Malik Beasley's foot, who was down after trying to bounce back. As Ball was slow on his feet, the Nuggets fell and finished a four-point game.
That brought their lead to seven points and Denver did not look back from there. The struggles already present of the attacking Lakers have been magnified without Ball and Rajon Rondo, who remains marginalized while recovering from an operation by hand.
Even if they managed to shoot better than 5-by-35 behind the three-point line, the rebound difference may have been too difficult to overcome. After losing 117-85, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he felt the team was losing energy via: Spectrum SportsNet:
"I thought we had done a good job in the first period. Our priority was to keep them out of the line of fouls and not return the ball. Unfortunately, we could not take pictures. And then I think we gave way to fatigue. … I thought we were tired. We went out and played a good rhythm at the beginning of the match, in the first quarter. I do not know if it has been postponed or if we have not adapted to the altitude. It looked like a lot of those possessions where they got extra offensive rebounds, we had guys who were just sucking for air. That's why part of our shoot this morning was going up and down and trying to get used to breathing our lungs. Each team has to deal with what's playing here, so that can not be an excuse for us. We must be better. "
The Nuggets finished with a rebound of 60-39, which can be attributed to 48.5% against only 39.1% for the Lakers. However, Denver also beat its way to 16 offensive rebounds, doubling the Lakers total.