Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James missed the showdown against the Denver Nuggets, as Lakers lost 104-128 at Staples Center.

James was doubtful due to a thoracic muscle strain, which he suffered during a 105-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Lakers announced James' absence just hours before tip-off at Staples Center in Los Angeles, though Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis faced the Nuggets (19-8).

Anthony Davis played almost a lone hand for Lakers (24-6), posting 32 points and 11 rebounds as he fought through a suspected knee problem sustained after an awkward fall in the third quarter.

Kyle Kuzma added 16 points on his return from an ankle injury but there was no stopping Nuggets (20-8), which was inspired by Paul Millsap's 21 points and a double-double from Will Barton (14 points, 13 rebounds).

James – whose first season with the Lakers was ravaged by injury – is averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game in 2019-20.