The Nuggets scored 77 points in the final two quarters alone, making the Lakers defense look miserable in the process.
D'Antoni on the team: "They get demoralized or something..."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 6, 2014
They were led by Timofey Mozgov's 20 points and seven rebounds and Ty Lawson's 20 points and 12 assists.
The Lakers got another solid game out of Pau Gasol (25 points and 10 rebounds), but the lack of defense submarined their chances in the second half.
All of the Kendall Marshall passes in the world won't cure a crappy defense, Los Angeles.— Christopher Walder (@WalderSports) January 6, 2014
Key Player Grades
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers, Power Forward/Center
Gasol did a solid job offensively for most of this game, benefiting greatly from the playmaking and passing of new point guard Kendall Marshall.
The recent D-League call-up did a good job of finding in Gasol in good spots, and Gasol did his job to knock down the open shot more often than not.
The situations that got him into trouble were isos against Mozgov. On a few occasions, Gasol caught the ball in the post and tried to go one-on-one after a clear out. The results weren't pretty. He was most effective in catch-and-shoot or catch-and-finish opportunities out of pick-and-rolls.
Defensively, Gasol struggled to keep up with the energy and activity of Mozgov, who beat him up and down the floor countless times.
Kendall Marshall, Los Angeles Lakers, Point Guard
The playmaking is no joke, but Kendall Marshall has some pretty glaring weaknesses, and they were on display against the Nuggets Sunday.
Kendall Marshall's playmaking really is something.— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) January 6, 2014
First, consistency with his shot is going to be a problem. He scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting against the Utah Jazz on Friday, but followed that up by shooting just 3-of-10 from the field Sunday.
His shot is often flat, and it's a set shot with a motion that starts below his head. The trajectory makes it hard to get good rolls from the rim, and the delivery makes it difficult to get shots off against quick defenders.
The other problem for Marshall against the Nuggets was his defense. It may not be fair to say that he couldn't stay in front of Lawson, since most people can't. Nevertheless, Denver's point guard blew by Marshall on more than one occasion like a Corvette going by a semi on the highway.
But it wasn't all bad. Like I said, that playmaking is serious. After posting 15 assists in his first start of the season, he came back Sunday with 17 more.
And he does more than just set guys up with his passing. Marshall is keenly aware of what's happening offensively on every possession. One such example was pointed out by the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus:
Kendall Marshall directed Jordan Hill where to be on the floor - which ended up being in a perfect place to get offensive board+1— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) January 6, 2014
If he can make some marginal improvements in those areas in which he struggles, Marshall will be a valuable guard in the NBA.
Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, Small Forward
Wesley Johnson struggled to have any kind of positive impact against the Nuggets, going 1-of-5 from the field for two points.
He also grabbed only three rebounds and struggled to slow down Wilson Chandler and Evan Fournier on the other end of the floor.
Jodie Meeks, Los Angeles Lakers, Shooting Guard
Like most of the Lakers Sunday night, Jodie Meeks had a good game offensively but was roasted defensively. He scored 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting but was scored on easily by numerous Nuggets.
He had a shot at and failed to cover Randy Foye, Evan Fournier and Nate Robinson.
Robert Sacre, Los Angeles Lakers, Center
Seeing a trend here? Sacre had one of his better games of the season as a scorer but was abused by Timofey Mozgov.
His 6-of-6 shooting and 15 points were nice, but Sacre is in the game for defense and rim protection, and he provided very little of either of those things.
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers, Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Nick Young's 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting off the bench wasn't enough to offset 33 total points from Fournier and Robinson.
He was his typically fun and exciting self on offense, but had almost no impact defensively.
Bench, Los Angeles Lakers
Shawne Williams, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill were the three other Lakers off the bench besides Nick Young. They combined to shoot 6-of-16 from the field on the way to 20 points.
Again, not bad offensively, but none of them did much, if anything, to slow down the Nuggets' attack.
The Lakers have now lost seven of their last eight games, and things are only going to get tougher for them. They're on the road against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m ET.
The defense will be tested once again. Coming into Sunday, the Nuggets were averaging 100.3 points a game compared to 102.9 for the Mavericks.
More fireworks could be in store.
For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.