AFP – With superstar LeBron James sidelined by a muscle strain, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their most lopsided loss of the NBA season Sunday as injury fears were raised about star big man Anthony Davis.
Paul Millsap scored 21 points, Nikola Jokic added 18 and Will Barton had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Denver in a 128-104 road victory over the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers.
The Nuggets (20-8) won their sixth straight game to pull within three games of the Lakers (24-6), who dropped their third game in a row.
James missed his first game of the season due to a thoracic muscle strain, suffering the mid-section injury in the Lakers’ Tuesday loss at Indiana but playing Thursday and producing a triple double in a loss at Milwaukee.
Without James, the Lakers had 19 turnovers and a season-low 18 assists, eight off their average.
Davis was bothered by a right knee issue in the third quarter but kept playing and produced 32 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
He went to plant his right foot but it didn’t land solidly when he moved right to defend the basket and he fell to the floor.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis “tweaked it” but “felt good enough to go back in” and added, “I didn’t feel like he looked limited.”
Denver trailed 67-65 before going on a 37-15 run for a 20-point lead with 10 minutes remaining. Denver’s 73 second-half points were the most allowed by the Lakers in a half this season.
“We didn’t have enough juice defensively the whole game,” Vogel said. “That’s why you see that kind of number.”