Nikola Jokic, Nuggets begin title defense by downing Lakers



Jokic’s Nuggets Start Title Defense Strong, Beat Lakers in Opener

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On October 25th, Nikola Jokic showcased his all-around brilliance, posting an impressive triple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. He led the Denver Nuggets to a triumphant start in their quest to defend the championship, as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 119-107 in front of their home crowd.

Jamal Murray contributed 21 points to Denver’s winning effort, while Michael Porter Jr. secured a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made a significant impact with 20 points, and Aaron Gordon added 15 points to the Nuggets’ tally.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 21 points, supported by Taurean Prince, who contributed 18 points. Anthony Davis made a strong start with 17 points, all of which came in the first half. Austin Reaves scored 14, and D’Angelo Russell added 11 points for the Los Angeles squad.

The Lakers made a spirited push in the fourth quarter, scoring the first four points of the period as part of a 13-0 run that began at the end of the third. This surge narrowed what had been an 18-point deficit to just three points at 87-84. However, the Nuggets held their ground, with Jokic sinking a pivotal 3-pointer, setting up Caldwell-Pope for an 18-foot jumper, and making a jumper himself to reestablish an 11-point lead with 7:19 left.

Los Angeles fought back to make it 103-96, but Murray drained a crucial 3-pointer, Caldwell-Pope hit a mid-range jumper, and Gordon executed a powerful dunk, extending Denver’s lead to 110-96. The Lakers managed to get within 11 points, but a timely 3-pointer from Porter and a layup by Jokic sealed the victory for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets came into the game with heightened motivation, having received their championship rings and watched their banner ascend to the rafters. They wasted no time, opening the match with a 12-2 run to establish a six-point lead within the first four minutes of the first quarter. Their lead continued to expand as Caldwell-Pope knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 27-16, and Reggie Jackson added another deep shot, giving the Nuggets a comfortable 14-point lead as they headed into the second quarter.

While Jackson’s early 3-pointer in the second quarter pushed the lead to 40-22, the Lakers started to claw their way back. They closed out the period with a six-point streak, reducing the halftime deficit to 63-54.

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