LOS ANGELES >> The plays left the Lakers feeling inspired as they sliced away deficits. The plays also left the Lakers frustrated as they allowed Denver to score at will.The Lakers’ 127-121 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at Staples Center summed up the team’s good, bad and ugly in a season filled with youthful promise and youthful mistakes. In this case for the Lakers (15-31), all of those elements emerged during their fifth consecutive loss. After trailing by as many as 19 points, the Lakers went on a 17-1 run to open the fourth quarter to cut Denver’s lead to 110-101 with 5:37 left. From that point, Lakers reserve guard Lou Williams then scored 10 of his team-leading 24 points. Jordan Clarkson, who had 19 points, cut the lead to 120-119 with 1:52 remaining. The Lakers did not score a single field goal after that point, though. If only the Lakers did not make things difficult earlier. In a sign of the Lakers’ porous defense all season, they allowed Denver to post 40 first-quarter points and it wasn’t even a season high. Save that dubious honor for when Houston scored 43 first-quarter points on Dec. 12. The Nuggets (17-23) featured all five starters posting in double digits entering the fourth quarter, including Nikola Jokic (29), Will Barton (26), Kenneth Faried (20), Emmanuel Mudiay (14) and Danilo Gallinari (14). In a sign of his recent struggles with his shot, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell had only five points while shooting 2 of 9 from the field and 1 of 2 from 3-point range. It marked the fourth time in the past five games Russell has shot below 50 percent overall. And Russell also sat for the entire fourth quarter. Instead, that closeout unit included Williams, Clarkson, Nick Young (22 points), rookie forward Brandon Ingram (15 points) and rookie center Ivica Zubac (11 points, 13 rebounds)But amid the team’s ongoing struggles, Lakers coach Luke Walton kept pleading patience. “This is not an easy league and full of grown men,” Walton said. “The learning curve will be different for everyone.”Walton then zeroed in on some of the team’s prospects. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Russell’s poor game will receive scrutiny, no doubt. But Walton argued that also has coincided with the Lakers’ No. 2 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft assuming the point guard spot. “They’re the first line of offense,” Walton said. “They’re calling plays and have the ball in their hands for most of the time and most of the game. I think it’s such an important position that they get that praise or criticism quicker than the other guys do out there.”Walton also argued Lakers forward Julius Randle “can pick it up the quickest out of the young guys” because of his power, versatility and work ethic. Although he posted a near triple-double with seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Randle also shot only 2 of 8 from the field, collected four fouls and did not play in the fourth quarter. “There’s times where you think, ‘He’s figured it out and the rest of the league is in trouble.’” Walton said. “Then there’s other times where it’s like ‘Wow, what was he looking at right there?’” Plenty might have thought the same thing about Ingram. In his 11th game as a starter while Luol Deng nursed a sprained right wrist, Ingram shot 6 of 14 from the field while also logging five rebounds and four assists. But in the second quarter, Ingram airballed a 3-pointer only to appear hesitant moments later to take an open shot from the perimeter. Add all of those good and bad moments together, and it explains Walton’s frustration with the present and optimism for the future.