LOS ANGELES — The Denver Nuggets will try to find their comfort zone again inside the friendly confines of Staples Center on Tuesday when they face the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Nuggets have won six in a row on the Lakers’ home court, a streak that dates back to a 122-103 win by the Lakers on Nov. 30, 2012. Denver also hasn’t dropped a regular-season series to the Lakers since 2011-12, when Los Angeles captured three of four meetings.
The Nuggets will face a Los Angeles squad that has hit hard times since a 10-10 start. The Lakers (15-30) followed that up by dropping 20 of their past 25 contests. Their latest setback occurred Sunday in a 102-97 loss to the Detroit Pistons, who snapped a three-game skid and ended a string of six straight losses at Staples.
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Youth and inexperience continue to plague the Lakers.
“We all know we got a young team here,” Los Angeles coach Luke Walton said. “Down the stretch, we are playing teenagers, 20-year-olds, 21-year-olds, and this is a grown man’s league. Are we good enough to win? Absolutely we are, but it takes making mistakes. There is no formula that tells you this is exactly what happens.
“Different people get it at different times. Some people never get it, and some get it right away. I’m very confident that as a group we are going to get it and our young guys are going to figure it out.”
The Lakers can’t figure out how to limit their turnovers or how to prevent opponents from ripping apart their soft defense. They committed 15 turnovers (resulting in 18 points) against the Pistons. The Lakers average 15.1 miscues per game, which ranks 23rd in the league.
The Lakers also rank 26th among the league’s 30 teams on points allowed at 110.2 per contest.
Despite their success in Los Angeles, the Nuggets also are among the NBA’s weakest defenders. They are 28th in points given up at an average of 111.2 and 27th in miscues committed at 15.5.
However, the Nuggets (16-23) can put points on the scoreboard. They have scored at least 100 points in 13 of their past 14 games and are averaging 132.5 in the past two. On Monday, the Nuggets posted a 125-112 victory over the visiting Orlando Magic.
Nikola Jokic, who has been on a tear, delivered a career-high 30 points with 11 rebounds and five assists against Orlando. Jokic has recorded 12 double-doubles in the past 19 games and is averaging 18.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists in that span.
“It’s fun to play with him,” said Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, who scored 20 points vs. the Magic. “He’s a willing passer. He doesn’t care who scores the points as long as we’re winning. That’s a great player to play with.”
Emmanuel Mudiay finished with 18 points and a career-high 13 assists. Denver had 33 assists overall.
The Nuggets are expected to be without shooting guard Gary Harris, who sprained his right ankle against the Magic. An X-ray was negative for a break or fracture.