LOS ANGELES — The smallest player on the floor drove into a crowd for a layup attempt that barely rolled off the rim. And then Isaiah Thomas corralled the loose ball, dribbled his way to some space along the baseline and drilled a turnaround jumper.
About a minute later, Thomas put a move on Nikola Jokic and drove through the lane for the game-clinching basket with 1:37 to play.
In a game that was sometimes offensively challenged but also featured double-digit rallies by both teams, the Lakers’ big fourth quarter propelled them to a 112-103 victory over the Nuggets Tuesday night at Staples Center.
With the loss, the Nuggets (37-31) slipped further out of the crowded Western Conference playoff race. Denver entered Tuesday in the ninth slot but fell to 10th after Utah, San Antonio, the Clippers, Oklahoma City and Minnesota all won. Denver also dropped to 11-21 on the road, including 0-3 in games played at Staples Center against the Lakers and Clippers.
The Lakers outscored Denver 35-21 in the final period to finish off the win. Lonzo Ball gave the Lakers a 90-89 lead with a 3-pointer with 7:40 to play. A Kyle Kuzma shot from beyond the arc pushed that advantage to 100-93 with 4:54 remaining. A Wilson Chandler 3-pointer cut Los Angeles’ lead to 102-99 with less than three minutes to play before Thomas’ nifty move and finish.
Denver built a 13-point lead in the third quarter, when Chandler followed a Jokic four-point play with a dunk. But the Lakers closed the period on a 10-2 spurt to remain within striking distance at 82-77 entering the final frame.
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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports