The Los Angeles Lakers lost in Denver without LeBron James. Nikola Jokic once again underlined his exceptional position. The NBA is on Tuesday morning.

The outlook for the Lakers before the game in Denver’s thin air was poor. LeBron James had to cancel because of a malfunctioning ankle, but Anthony Davis was missing anyway. And so in the end it was a 109-122 defeat at the Western Conference leader, which pushes the Californians to a 19-22 record and thus keeps them further outside the play-off ranks.

While Dennis Schröder did not play well for the Lakers (14 points, four assists, 3 of 13 from the field, 0 of 5 threes), Russell Westbrook came off the bench to be the visitors’ top scorer (25). Overall, however, there was no match for the Nuggets protagonists Jamal Murray (34 points, five threes) and once again Nikola Jokic. The Serbian star centre and two-time MVP shone in many facets and above all acted highly efficiently. With only five converted throws (100 per cent scoring rate), Jokic managed his eleventh triple-double in the current season (14/11 rebounds/16 assists) and, as always, proved to have an eye for his teammates. “A truly selfless superstar,” praised Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

Wagner brothers without a chance – Kings record

Other German professionals besides Schröder were in action on Tuesday night. The Orlando Magic (15-26) are in 13th place in the East after a 111-136 loss at the Sacramento Kings. Franz Wagner finished with 16 points, while his older brother Moritz scored 12 coming off the bench. The strong-throwing Kings (21:18) were happy about a franchise record: 23 three-pointers! Harrison Barnes (30 points) hit six.

Isaiah Hartenstein, for his part, went without a basket after six missed shots and lost 107-111 with the New York Knicks against the Milwaukee Bucks led by Giannis Antetokounmpo (22 points, 10 rebounds). The Knicks (22-19), for whom Jalen Brunson scored 44 points and was thus the league’s best scorer, are seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Celtics (107-99 over Chicago), the New Orleans Pelicans (132-112 at Washington) and the Memphis Grizzlies (121-113 over San Antonio) also won as favourites. Boston (29:12) continues to lead in the East, and Memphis (27:13) tied with Denver in the West.