LOS ANGELES -- Denver Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay had a message for Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott.
"All I'm going to say is, 'Thank you Byron Scott for saying I'm not a point guard,'" Mudiay said with a grin.
Forward Kenneth Faried scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and the Nuggets extended the losing ways of the Lakers with a 120-109 victory Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Forward Danilo Gallinari had 21 points and eight rebounds, center J.J. Hickson finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Mudiay added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets (2-2), who snapped a two-game losing streak.
"We knew we had to win this one, so as one of the key guys and leaders of the team, I tried to come out there and set the tone at the start especially," said Faried, who scored 20 of his points in the first half and connected on 10 of 13 field-goal attempts overall.
Scott said this week the Lakers decided not to take Mudiay, whom the Nuggets chose with the No. 7 pick of the 2015 draft, because the Lakers didn't believe Mudiay was a "true point guard." Instead, Los Angeles took point guard D'Angelo Russell (seven points on 3-of-11 shooting with six assists against Denver) with the No. 2 selection.
Scott also said Mudiay didn't make good decisions during his pre-draft workout with the Lakers.
Mudiay, though, and the Nuggets captured the decision Tuesday.
Guard Jordan Clarkson tied a career high with 30 points for the Lakers (0-4). Guard Lou Williams came off the bench to score 24 points, making a career-high 16 free throws on 19 attempts, while forward Julius Randle chipped in 16 points.
"My message is pretty much going to be consistent. You have to play hard for four quarters," said Williams, who missed seven of 11 shots from the field and all five from behind the 3-point stripe. "We get off to good starts, maybe get ahead, we become really relaxed, then we find ourselves fighting our way back into a game. We have to put four good quarters together."
The Lakers dropped four straight to open the season for the second year in a row and only the third time in franchise history. They had chances to prevail against the Nuggets but faded late.
"I'm frustrated with the game, and we have to try to fix it," said Lakers forward Kobe Bryant, who scored 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting in 29 minutes. "Communicate and teach, and be better next time. You just continue to teach, just look at the actions and try to learn those things, figure those things out and be better."
Los Angeles cut the deficit to 103-100 after three free throws by Williams with 5:04 remaining in the contest. However, Gallinari converted a three-point play and a dunk by Hickson increased the margin to eight with 3:44 left as the Nuggets took control.
"We played defense," Faried said of the difference down the stretch. "Early in the fourth quarter, we came out kind of flat. We didn't get going right away. Coach made a couple of key substitutions, and our energy level just picked right up."
Denver led 60-57 at the break. Faried hit six of seven shots from the floor and snatched nine rebounds before halftime. Clarkson also scored 20 in the half on 8-of-10 shooting.
In the third, the Lakers opened with a 15-6 run for a 72-66 advantage after a dunk by center Roy Hibbert with 7:24 left, but the Nuggets rallied. A 3-pointer by Mudiay, who also completed a four-point play during the run, put Denver up 88-80 with 2:52 left. The Nuggets held a 93-83 lead at the end of the third.
The Nuggets played without forward Wilson Chandler (right hip strain), who has yet to appear this season, and centers Joffrey Lauvergne and Nikola Jokic, both of whom are ailing with lower back strains.
Randle went down after apparently getting poked in the eye by Gallinari with 3:38 remaining in the second quarter. However, Randle returned to start the third quarter wearing goggles.
NOTES: Lakers coach Byron Scott believed a day off from practice Monday would help refresh F Kobe Bryant, who struggled in the team's three previous games, including a 3-for-15 shooting performance in a loss Sunday night to the Dallas Mavericks. ... The game featured 16 lead changes. ... Neither team defended well in the paint, with the Lakers giving up 54 points to 46 for the Nuggets. ... The Nuggets return home to face the Utah Jazz on Thursday. ... Sixteen of the Lakers' next 20 games are away from home. They open a five-game road trip at the Brooklyn Nets on Friday
By Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: November 4, 2015 01:10:54 AM
Nuggets cruise past winless Lakers
|All Times Eastern|