The Lakers got their first win of the season on Wednesday night in Phoenix, but they claimed their first quality win on Thursday, beating the Nuggets 121-114 in front of a Staples Center crowd that included Kobe Bryant.
In the process, James recorded his first triple-double with the Lakers, third ever at Staples Center, fifth against the Nuggets and 74th of his career.
But this Laker win, he said, was by committee as seven players reached double figures. Kokoskov brings European influence to the Suns, one built around teamwork and a philosophy of passing up a good shot for a great one that has held quite a few great coaches in good stead over the years. Though the Suns' immediate worry is Booker's health status after leaving the game in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring, Phoenix's broader concern is how the season's narrative has quickly flipped from promising to disastrous. "I'm going to sleep it off and tomorrow have a better understanding of what's going on".
With the Lakers down eight and lacking in life, Lance Stephenson buried a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, and it was immediately clear that he was headed for an extended heat check.
Removing this year's preseason game from the equation, the last time that James faced the Nuggets he delivered one of the most clutch performances of his entire career.
"This is what I want to say about the asthma", McGee said when asked about it after the game.
LeBron and Kobe didn't get a chance to talk, but the longtime friendly rivals likely both left happy with the Lakers' new direction after James' first triple-double for LA.
They were also missing Brandon Ingram who was slapped with a four-game ban for starting the melee, then, after being separated, charging back into the kerfuffle and throwing a wild sucker punch from behind at an unsuspecting Houston player.
"He's really good", Lakers head coach Luke Walton said.
It was the Lakers' second win in two days after struggling to a 0-3 start to the season.
Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Derrick Rose had 16 and Taj Gibson 13 for Minnesota. Although the Nuggets went on a 14-6 run to take a slim lead into the fourth quarter, they were unable to shake the Lakers.