Lakers on brink of elimination after 11th straight loss to Nuggets

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers blew another second half lead to the Nuggets and are one loss away from having their season come to an end.

LOS ANGELES — It just keeps happening over and over.

The Denver Nuggets continued their dominance over the Lakers. After another slow start, the Nuggets went on their signature avalanche in the third quarter as they beat the Lakers down, 112-105. The L.A. Lakers are now one game away from being ousted in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Denver has beaten LA 11 straight times in the regular season and the playoffs combined. More importantly, the Nuggets hold a 3-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Lakers.

In Game 1, Denver put the game away in the third quarter. It was the same script for Game 3. The Lakers had a 53-49 halftime lead before the Nuggets went on separate 9-0 and 8-0 runs that knocked Los Angeles out.

The hustle of Aaron Gordon was the huge difference as he dunked and rebounded on his way to 29 points and 15 rebounds (both postseason career-highs). The Nuggets had four players that scored 20 or more as they took turns dismantling the Lakers, who looked flat after a fast start in the first period.

It almost seemed like the Lakers, who led by as much as 12 points, were a one-man team after the first quarter. Anthony Davis was hard to stop as he went for 33 points and 15 rebounds.

LeBron James did have 26 points but his impact was hardly felt. Austin Reaves added 22 points but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Both teams were awful from long range; the Lakers shot 5 for 27 (.185) while the Nuggets went 5 for 28 (.179). D’Angelo Russell once again stood out like a sore thumb as he went 0 for 6 on 3-pointers.

Also, the Nuggets had 13 more rebounds than the Lakers.

Can the Lakers hold off elimination Saturday? Not if they don’t change this script that they’ve been following since Dec. 16, 2022.