Lakers defeat Nuggets to capture first win of season

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers win their first game of the season as Russell Westbrook shines off the bench.

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James scored 26 points, Anthony Davis added 23 to go with 15 rebounds and the host Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 121-110 on Sunday night for their first win of the season.

Lonnie Walker IV scored 18 points, as did reserve Russell Westbrook, who also had eight rebounds and eight assists for Los Angeles.

After the game, the Lakers celebrated their first win of the season and Darvin Ham’s first win of his head coaching career by showering their coach with water and Gatorade.

Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 14 rebounds to pace Denver. Jamal Murray scored 21 points, Aaron Gordon chipped in 18, Michael Porter Jr. finished with 17 and Bruce Brown notched 10 off the bench.

The Nuggets played without Bones Hyland, who was injured during warmups.

The game was tied at 67 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter when Denver started to build a lead. Murray and Brown hit shots and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drained a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets ahead by seven, and a 3-pointer by Brown made it 83-75 with 3:45 left in the period.

Walker scored 10 points during an 18-2 run that gave the Lakers a 93-85 lead heading into the fourth.

Matt Ryan opened the last period with a 3-pointer and Walker split a pair of free throws to give Los Angeles a 12-point lead. Denver scored the next seven points to get within 97-92, but the Lakers extended the lead to 106-95 on a driving layup by Davis with 7:51 left.

Jokic’s hook shot cut the deficit to seven, but Los Angeles went on a 7-1 run to take a 113-100 lead.

The Nuggets made one last push but twice missed 3-pointers that would have got them within four, and a tip-in by Davis and a layup from Westbrook helped the Lakers close it out.

The Nuggets led by 10 in the first quarter before Los Angeles clawed its way back to get within five entering the second quarter. It was 39-33 with 8:29 left in the period when the Lakers went on a 14-5 run to take their first lead of the night.

A layup by Troy Brown Jr. in the final seconds of the second gave Los Angeles a 55-51 lead at halftime.

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