Lakers Aren’t Far Off After Opening-Night Loss to Nuggets


The lights were bright and the rings were glaring off of them. A familiar setting for the Los Angeles Lakers, playing in their second-consecutive ring night.

As seen in LA’s 119-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets, playing the defending champs — and the league’s forthcoming dynasty — is the hardest of feats on opening night. And when you take into account that The Purple and Gold haven’t won on opening night since 2016, the odds were surely against them.

There were highs and there were lows. So, let’s look at three glaring things from the Lakers’ opening night.


It was probably a smart financial decision to not bet against LeBron James‘ expected decline over the last few years. Entering his 21st season, James looks as fresh as ever.

The King’s 21 points and eight rebounds sat atop the team’s box score and his +7 plus-minus was emblematic of his impact on the floor in just 29 minutes (least of all starters).

This revelation can be both concerning and optimistic. For one, we know that James is still fully capable of playing at an all-world level. Barring injury, we’re looking at another LeBron-like season.

However, the Lakers as currently constructed cannot be relying on James as much as prior seasons. Especially if this decrease in minutes is expected to be a regular occurrence.

“You always want to be on the floor,” James said post game. “Especially when you have an opportunity to win a game and you feel you can make an impact. I guess there’s a system in place and I’m going to follow it.”

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that James’ decreased workload is expected to be consistent all season. With much more depth on the roster, the Lakers must preserve the 38-year-old as much as possible throughout a grueling 82-game season. The rest of the roster must do better.


What was possibly the biggest point of contention in Los Angeles’ Western Conference Finals run last season has risen again. Anthony Davis cannot afford to go ice cold on offense. Davis finished an efficient first half with 17 points but never found the bottom of the bucket again.

As referenced previously, the Lakers need Davis to perform consistently at a high level if they hope to truly contend this season. A donut in the second half of a high-stakes game is not ideal.

It is worth mentioning that Davis looked stellar on both sides of the ball in the first half. It is a long season and this game won’t mean as much in the grand scheme of things, but Davis simply needs to be more consistent in games like this.


If you would’ve asked me this time last year how pleased I was with LA’s supporting cast, I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s different this season. The Lakers have professional depth. That wasn’t much so the case on opening night.

Taurean Prince’s 18 points on 4-for-6 shooting from deep gave Lakers fans a feeling unfamiliar to any prior role player. The spacing and timely shot-making that Prince provides is going to be a massive development over the course of the season.

As for the other role players, there wasn’t much left to be desired. The group of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and Gabe Vincent scored a combined 37 points, shooting 14-for-41 from the field. There were some bright spots for Cam Reddish who had an underwhelming preseason.

Preseason standout Jaxson Hayes only saw six minutes and 54 seconds of play time and second-year guard Max Christie played in garbage time. More minutes for them are expected.


It was an unideal first game. Spoiling a ring night would be a great start to boost morale and momentum early.

It’s a long season and the team we watched on Tuesday night is going to be vastly different than the one we’ll see in the latter months of the season.

With all that being said, the Lakers are a good team and there are 81 more games left to iron out the minor questions.

Up next, a home opener against an offensive juggernaut Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

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Los Angeles Lakers overalls

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