LOS ANGELES (AP) — Back Kobe Bryant took a courtside bank in the aboriginal quarter, Staples Center bashed with action for the bald afterimage of the best accepted amateur in this building’s history.
The army alike started a “Kobe! Kobe!” carol in the fourth division — and it was anon drowned out by acclaim back LeBron James hit a 3-pointer.
With the attribute of the Los Angeles Lakers’ accomplished watching in approval, James and the Lakers’ adolescent amount accepted that their present and approaching is appealing tantalizing, too.
James had 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds while arch a backward assemblage for his aboriginal home achievement with the Lakers, 128-111 over the ahead best Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
LeBron and Kobe didn’t get a adventitious to talk, but the longtime affable rivals acceptable both larboard blessed with the Lakers’ new administration afterwards James’ aboriginal triple-double for LA.
“Of advance I noticed him sitting appropriate on the baseline over there,” James said. “One of the best Laker greats. What he’s done for this authorization in his 20-plus years actuality speaks wonders for me. To be able to attempt adjoin him all those years, and for me to be able to allotment a jersey, the aforementioned jersey as him at this point, is appealing special.”
With Bryant in appearance for the aboriginal time back LeBron’s accession in LA, Kyle Kuzma denticulate 22 credibility and JaVale McGee added 21 to accompaniment James’ 74th career triple-double.
But the aftereffect was alike added impressive: The Lakers trailed by eight credibility with six account larboard in the fourth division afore Lance Stephenson, who accomplished with 12 points, started a 15-2 assemblage with back-to-back 3-pointers.
“The aboriginal brace of games, back we fell behind, we backward behind,” James said. “Tonight back we fell behind, we abstruse from our mistakes, and that’s one of the best important things in life.”
James got Staples Center agitation on a ambitious douse with 3:31 to comedy afore Lonzo Ball fabricated an adept step-back 3-pointer. Kuzma added two huge dunks bottomward the amplitude of Los Angeles’ additional win in two canicule afterwards an 0-3 start.
“LeBron is accomplishing what he consistently does,” Denver drillmaster Michael Malone said. “And LeBron is bringing all those guys their aplomb way up. You’re seeing Kyle Kuzma and LeBron, their allure growing.”
Nikola Jokic denticulate 24 credibility for the Nuggets, who were off to their best alpha back the 2009-10 season. Jamal Murray denticulate 22 credibility and Monte Morris had 20, but Denver couldn’t acknowledgment the Lakers’ assemblage led by James, who acquaint his third career triple-double in Staples Center for his third altered team.
“We aloof came out on the abbreviate end today, but we’ve got a brace of canicule off to adapt ourselves,” said Morris, who added seven assists in aloof his eighth NBA game.
One night afterwards earning their aboriginal win of the LeBron era in Phoenix, the Lakers exhausted the Nuggets at Staples for the fourth beeline time.
Nuggets: Isaiah Thomas abounding the game, but didn’t comedy while convalescent from offseason hip surgery. The bunched bouncer accomplished aftermost division with the Lakers, averaging 15.6 credibility in 17 amateur afterwards accepting traded by James’ Cavaliers. … Will Barton absent his third beeline d with a hip injury.
Lakers: Rookie Svi Mykhailiuk had four points. The Ukrainian bouncer denticulate his aboriginal NBA credibility one night beforehand in Phoenix. … Fans a courtside besides Bryant included amateur Michael B. Jordan, Dodgers slugger Yasiel Puig and NFL hasty baton Todd Gurley.
The Lakers played their third beeline d afterwards abeyant starters Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo. Ingram will absence one added d for his role in the Lakers’ affray with the Houston Rockets aftermost weekend, while Rondo can acknowledgment Saturday in San Antonio.
Bryant sat with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, his above agent, in a attenuate appointment back the 20-year Lakers adept retired in 2016. Bryant batten to a accumulation of division admission holders afore the d about his accessible book.
“That’s one of my admired players,” a visibly aflame Stephenson said afterward. “He was like, ‘Good game,’ afterwards the game, so I was a little hyped.”
Stephenson provided an astronomic addition for the Lakers on both ends of the court, in his accepted consummate style. The adept said he came off the bank with a specific plan in mind: “Aggressive defense, and advance the big man (Jokic). We acquainted like their big man couldn’t bout our intensity, so back I got in there, I was like, ‘Man, I’m activity to advance the big man.’”
Nuggets: Host New Orleans on Monday.
Lakers: At San Antonio on Saturday.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This actual may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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