Lakers prolong the inevitable, snap 11 game streak, and show the Nuggets can bleed

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Lakers did something they have not been able to do since December of 2022, beat the Denver Nuggets in a basketball game. In doing so, Los Angeles avoided elimination and lives to see another day as the first-round playoff series now shifts back to Denver with the Nuggets leading 3-1.

The Nuggets are still firmly in control of the series, with three more chances to close it out, and two of those coming at home in Ball Arena. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in an NBA playoff series, but still, the Lakers have life.

Nuggets comeback effort finally falls short

The Lakers have led each game of this series by double digits, and that was the case again on Saturday night as they opened up a lead as large as 19 points. And just like in every other game, the Nuggets mounted a comeback and started tightening things up late.

But this time things were different as Denver couldn’t quite get all the way over the hump and take the lead. They cut it down to 7 at one point in the fourth quarter, but in game 4 the Lakers had the answers and were able to hold off their tormentors for a 119-108 win. 

The Nuggets got a typically incredible performance from their leader Nikola Jokic who poured in 33 points along with 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but his supporting cast let him down in this one. After an explosive game 3, Aaron Gordon was held in check with just 7 points on Saturday night.

Nuggets bench no show

Perhaps the bigger issue was the lack of production from the Denver bench. That has been the biggest question mark all season, and they didn’t offer much in game 4, combining for just 5 points on the evening. Reggie Jackson came into the game listed as ‘Questionable’ after spraining his ankle in game 3. 

His status was in serious doubt but he was able to give it a go. Still, he didn’t offer much and was pulled after just 8 minutes, attempting only one shot. Jokic and the starters are incredible, and the lack of bench production likely won’t ultimately hurt the Nuggets in this series. But eventually, they are going to need more from that unit. They’ll be back at it Monday night in Denver as they look to close out the Lakers in game 5.