2024 Western Conference First Round Preview: Lakers-Nuggets Regular Season Matchups Review

The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets face off in their second consecutive Western Conference playoff series. The two teams will meet in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs as the No. 2 seed (Nuggets) and No. 7 seed (Lakers) following their Western Conference Finals matchup last season when Denver swept L.A.

But this is a new season, and while the Lakers definitely have to do their best to win a seven-game series, the Nuggets aren’t taking LA lightly either. The Lakers went 23-10 from February 1 through the end of the regular season, moving up to the No. 8 seed and taking care of business on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans in the Play-In Tournament for the No. 8 to earn. 7 seed.

The Lakers and Nuggets have faced off three times in the regular season this year, with Denver extending their win streak and posting victories in all three meetings. They have won their last eight straight games against the Lakers. In fact, two of the Lakers’ 10 losses since February 1 have been against the Nuggets. Let’s take a look at all three regular season meetings here.

October 24 @ Denver: Nuggets 119, Lakers 107

LA kicked off the 2023-2024 regular season in Denver for an immediate rematch of the Western Conference Finals. Implementing a few new players – Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood and Cam Reddish – into the lineup while dealing with an injury to Jarred Vanderbilt meant the Lakers were at a bit of a disadvantage coming in against a well-paved Nuggets rotation.

It was a dismal first quarter for LA, but they fought back alone until the Nuggets pulled away in the final minutes to secure a 12-point victory. The Lakers trailed by four points with 8:49 left, but the Nuggets closed out the game on a 25-17 stretch.

Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver, scoring 29 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists. LeBron James was the Lakers’ leading scorer with 21 points.

February 8 @ Los Angeles: Nuggets 114, Lakers 106

In the first game after the NBA trade deadline — when the Lakers decided to hold out rather than make one of their rumored potential deals — the Nuggets were in town. And even though the Lakers were without D’Angelo Russell, Vincent, Vanderbilt and Reddish, they still had enough to play hard against the Nuggets, who were without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Unsurprisingly, this game followed a similar script to the opener. The Nuggets took an early lead – leading by 10 at halftime – and then the Lakers were able to climb back in and make things interesting for a moment. LA and Denver were back and forth throughout the fourth quarter, and Austin Reaves even tied the game with a three with 2:18 to go.

But a 10-2 run by Denver ended the game in an eight-point victory. Jamal Murray finished with 29 points and 11 assists, while Jokic had 27 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Anthony Davis had 32 for the Lakers.

March 2 @ Los Angeles: Nuggets 124, Lakers 114

By the time the Lakers reached their final game of the season against the Nuggets, they had bolstered their starting lineup of James, Davis, Russell, Reaves and Rui Hachimura. And the results showed that, unlike the first two games, the Lakers took an early lead. In fact, the Lakers led by as many as 11 in the first half and took an eight-point lead into halftime.

But the Nuggets quickly erased the deficit in the third and it came down to the wire again. The Lakers led by two with 3:50 left in the game, but lost by 10 thanks to a 16-4 run by the Nuggets.

Jokic had 35 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while James led the Lakers with 26 points.