The final score came to be Lakers 127 – Nuggets 99 and it was a tale not of 2 halves, but 1 quarter to 3 quarters. The first quarter had the Lakers at their worst, 8 turnovers, ineffective defense and poor execution of the offense. The rest of the game was a team that played far more with their heads. 6 turnovers from the rest of the game and a resurgence of the bench with 63 points and most importantly they took a third quarter lead of 6 and expanded and then held it, keeping the starters on the bench. In that regard, it’s the perfect first game of a back to back, only Lamar went over 30 minutes with 32.
The hero of the bench mob in the 4th quarter was Sasha Vujacic, who kept gunning until he found his shot or the Nuggets fouled him. He parlayed 6 of 14 shooting into 22 points, a career high, with the help of 8-9 at the foul stripe (both career highs). Sasha was also in the middle the night’s controversy with Carmelo Anthony being ejected on a flagrant 2 foul on Sasha that left Sasha holding his throat.
Luke Walton had a positive effort, with 6 of 9 shooting leading to a season high of 14 points.
The end of the game got time for the end of both teams’ benches. Javaris was clearly the most excited at the prospect, with 7 points in 5 minutes of garbage time.