LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 29 points and 15 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets withstood a furious late rally by the Los Angeles Lakers to hold on for a 127-121 victory Tuesday night.
Denver led by 19 late in the third quarter only to see the Lakers close within one with 1:59 to play. The comeback fell short, however, and Los Angeles lost its fifth consecutive game.
Will Barton added 26 points and eight assists to help the Nuggets win their third straight. Kenneth Faried had 20 points and seven rebounds.
Lou Williams scored 24 points and Nick Young had 22 for the struggling Lakers, who have won just five of their last 26 games.
The Nuggets jumped out to a 66-54 lead at halftime. They shot 64.1 percent from the floor while holding the Lakers to 37.5 percent.
Nuggets: Jokic is on a roll. In his last 19 games, he’s had 12 double-doubles and averaged 18.1 points and 9.6 rebounds. … Denver has outrebounded its opponent in 32 of its first 39 games, with two ties.
Lakers: F Luol Deng missed the game with a sprained right wrist. … Two of the team’s top three scorers are reserves (Williams at 17.6 points per game and Jordan Clarkson at 13.9), which explains why the Lakers lead the NBA in bench scoring (49.4 ppg). … Los Angeles has started 13 different players and no Lakers player is averaging 30 minutes per game.
Nuggets: Thursday night at the Spurs, who have defeated Denver seven consecutive times in San Antonio. The Spurs beat the Nuggets by 28 points two weeks ago in Denver.
Lakers: Host the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. The teams met in the Lakers’ fourth game of the season, with Indiana winning at home 115-108. That loss preceded the Lakers’ only three-game winning streak.