Lakers have no defense for their first loss

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Reporting from Denver — Kobe Bryant’s shot abandoned him. Pau Gasol no longer scored with ease.

Shannon Brown, of all people, tried to keep the Lakers among the undefeated, but it all dissolved in front of an overjoyed Pepsi Center crowd, the Denver Nuggets dropping the Lakers on Thursday, 118-112.

The Lakers surrendered 33 points in the fourth quarter, their defense sputtering badly, matched in ineffectiveness only by Bryant’s outside touch.

Bryant had 34 points but made only 11 of 32 shots. Gasol wasn’t much better: 17 points on six-for-17 shooting as New Orleans (7-0) became the NBA’s only undefeated team.

“Just another game in November,” Bryant said, not taking the loss all that hard.

The Lakers (8-1) blew a chance at the second-best start in franchise history, though it could almost be predicted based on their recent play.

They were sloppy against Toronto, stellar against Portland, but again apathetic in a slim victory against Minnesota. It all seemed to catch up to them Thursday.

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