LeBron James, Lakers have no answers for the Nuggets, see historic night spoiled

Mar 2, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23)
Mar 2, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday night was a historic one in Los Angeles as LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to hit the 40,000-point career threshold. It’s yet another box to check off along the road to Springfield as James continues adding to his legacy, building arguably the greatest career the sport of basketball has ever seen.

However, the record-setting achievement came in yet another disappointing loss at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, as the Lakers fell 124-114 at home, their eighth straight loss to the Nugs. This may have felt particularly disappointing for Lakers fans, but this has just become business as usual when these two teams square off.

Nuggets own the Lakers

Last year, of course, the Nuggets swept the Lakers out of the Western Conference Finals and this year has been more of the same. It started on ring night, when the Nuggets received their championship rings, then beat the Lakers on their home floor as fans chanted “Who’s your daddy?!” at the Lakers.

Then in Los Angeles, on Mamba Night, the Lakers unveiled a statue for the late Kobe Bryant, only for the home crowd to watch their team fall to the Nuggets again. And this time, on the night when LeBron becomes the only player ever to reach 40,000 career points, the night is marred by a Nuggets’ victory.

The Lakers led for most of the night before Denver closed on a 16-4 run to ultimately pull away and win by 10. To say the Nuggets have their number would be an understatement at this point, as they just don’t have any answers, especially in the game’s biggest moments. Denver has owned the Lakers in clutch moments and that was on display again Saturday night.

Possible playoff preview?

The win moves the Nuggets to 42-19 on the season and into a tie with the Timberwolves for first place in the Western Conference in the wins column. The Lakers fell to 33-29 and sit in 10th place. Climbing out of the play-in tournament seems less and less likely by the day.

If the Nuggets finish as a top 2 seed in the West, and the Lakers end up in the play-in tournament for a second straight year, these teams may well be headed for another 7-game series - this time in the first round of the playoffs. It’s hard to imagine there is any team the Lakers would rather see less.