LeBron James Anthony Davis Lakers
LeBron James Anthony Davis Lakers Source: Eurohoops

The Los Angeles Lakers just had a practice game with the Denver Nuggets to start their new season. This game showed some problems for the Lakers. Their best player, LeBron James, doesn’t always play his best at the beginning of the season. And the Lakers haven’t won their first game for a few years now. But remember, one game doesn’t tell the whole story of the season. The Lakers have been successful in the past, even after losing the first game.

Lakers’ Loss to Nuggets – A Glimpse Into Preseason Challenges

In this particular preseason game, the Denver Nuggets outperformed the Lakers, securing their win with a score of 119-107. It’s important to remember that preseason games may not accurately predict regular-season performance. However, this result brought to light a significant issue for the Lakers. It emphasized the need for them to enhance their strategies and teamwork. This improvement is particularly crucial when they face formidable opponents like the Nuggets.

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The Lakers and Nuggets had a recent history in the 2023 Western Conference Finals. In those matchups, the Nuggets swept the Lakers. However, it’s worth noting that those games were much closer than the 4-0 series score suggests. Three out of the four victories for the Nuggets were won by a margin of just six points or less. The game that confirmed their series win had a winning margin of only two points. This series history sets the stage for the Lakers’ determination to do better against the Nuggets in future playoff series.

LeBron James’ Opening Night Struggles – A Streak of Frustration

Significantly, the Lakers’ recent preseason loss highlighted a recurring issue – LeBron James’ difficulties in early-season games. LeBron, a player known for his ability to play his best as the season goes on, has struggled in season openers. Since LeBron joined in 2018, the Lakers have faced disappointment year after year, with a challenging season-opening record of 0-6. It’s important to understand that this streak of unsuccessful season openers isn’t solely a reflection of the Lakers’ abilities. Season openers have pitted them against strong opponents, including the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, in four of the past seasons. The Clippers, despite their current status, have historically been a tough opponent for the Lakers. Additionally, in 2021 and 2022, the Lakers were still adjusting to the dynamics brought about by the addition of Russell Westbrook.


The only loss that’s hard to excuse in recent memory happened in 2018 when the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Lakers. However, the Blazers from that season showcased their strength by making it to the Western Conference Finals. In retrospect, it was a tough matchup for the Lakers. The Lakers’ preseason loss to the Nuggets and LeBron James’ early-season struggles have raised questions, but these early signs don’t necessarily define the fate of the Lakers’ season. As they continue to improve their game and incorporate new talents, the Lakers are determined to overcome the Nuggets’ challenge in future playoff series and finally end their streak of unsuccessful season openers. While one preseason game might seem like a significant setback, it’s just a small part of the demanding 82-game regular season, and the Lakers’ history of success remains intact.