Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, Jamal Murray scored 21 points and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-107 to begin defense of their title on Tuesday night.

Michael Porter Jr. had 12 points and 12 rebounds, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in 20 points and Aaron Gordon finished with 15 for the Nuggets.

LeBron James scored 21 points, Taurean Prince contributed 18, Anthony Davis had 17 — all in the first half — Austin Reaves scored 14 and D’Angelo Russell added 11 for Los Angeles.

The Lakers scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, part of a 13-0 run that began at the end of the third, to cut what was once an 18-point deficit down to three at 87-84. They had chances to get closer, but Jokic hit a 3-pointer, fed Caldwell-Pope for an 18-footer and made a jumper to give Denver an 11-point lead with 7:19 left.

Los Angeles responded to make it 103-96, but Murray drained a 3-pointer, Caldwell-Pope hit another mid-range jumper and Gordon threw home a dunk to make it 110-96. Los Angeles got back within 11 but a 3-pointer from Porter and a layup by Jokic closed it out.

The Nuggets came out inspired after receiving their championship rings and watching the banner being raised to the rafters. They used a 12-2 run to take a six-point lead 4:02 through the first quarter and kept building on it.

Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer to make it 27-16 and Reggie Jackson drained one from deep to give Denver a 14-point lead heading into the second quarter.

Another Jackson 3-pointer early in the second made it 40-22, but the Lakers chipped away, scoring the last six points of the period to cut the deficit to 63-54 at halftime.

Los Angeles got within five to start the second half, but the Nuggets recovered and took a 16-point lead late in the third quarter. The Lakers scored the final nine points of the quarter, and a 3-pointer from Russell made it 87-80 heading into the fourth.