Denver opens NBA title defense with a huge win over the Lakers

Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets got the job done against the Lakers (David Zalubowski/Associated Press via

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Denver Nuggets made sure to cap off their ring ceremony night with an opening win as they outdueled the Los Angeles Lakers, 119-107, during the kickoff game schedule of the NBA season last October 25, 2023.

It was all Denver in the first half after blitzing their way to an 18-point advantage as their signature ball movement and on-point passing were too much for the revamped Lakers squad.

However, Los Angeles ramped up their intensity in the second half and trimmed their double-digit deficit to just three points, 87-84.

The purple nation’s 13-0 scoring run made it possible which started in the last three minutes of the third period until the opening minutes of the fourth.

Just when the Lakers thought they could weather the storm and complete the comeback effort, the Nuggets responded like champions and countered with their own offensive avalanche to regain their double-digit lead.

The trio of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did the damage for the Nuggets to deny Los Angeles’ valiant effort in the last six minutes of the ball game.

Denver’s pivotal sequence came when Murray swished a three-pointer followed by a Pope’s jumper. To wrap up the crazy stretch, athletic power forward Aaron Gordon threw down a slam dunk that ballooned their lead to 110-96.

After that waxing hot outing, the Lakers never came back and showed signs of fatigue as they only scored 11 points in seven minutes.

Jokic led the way for the Nuggets with another triple-double effort of 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists while Murray chipped in 21 markers to get the win on their home floor.

Meanwhile, the Lakers got 21 points from LeBron James and 18 from newcomer Taurean Prince but the Nuggets’ high-octane performance in the final period denied them from taking an early win in the opening NBA season.