Denver: The Denver Nuggets took their head coach Brian Shaw’s advice and tried to run up the score against the hapless Los Angeles Lakers late on Friday at the Pepsi Center.
While they didn’t quite hit their lofty goal of 160 points, they still managed to manhandle the last-place Lakers 134-126, guaranteeing that Los Angeles will suffer their first losing season since 2004-05, when Shaw was their assistant coach.
“Coach said he wanted to score 40 a quarter, so he was pretty excited,” said Denver’s Ty Lawson. “Actually, he was bummed because he said he wanted to get 160.”
Shaw played four National Basketball Association seasons for the Lakers before becoming an assistant coach with the team in 2005. He left in 2011 to take an assistant coaching job with Indiana.
“It’s a win; we will take it,” said Shaw on Friday.
Kenneth Faried tallied a season-high 32 points and Lawson had 30 points and 17 assists as they outgunned Los Angeles in front of a crowd of 18,248.
The Lakers’ defeat came just one day after they suffered their worst defeat in franchise history when they were clobbered 142-94 by the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.
Pau Gasol scored 27 points on Friday for the Lakers.
Los Angeles have given up at least 100 points in eight straight contests. In three consecutive defeats, their opposition is averaging a staggering 136 points.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he is puzzled by their inability to compete with other teams on a daily basis.
“It is a disturbing number,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know if the air is going out and we are tired or what the problem is.”
Faried also had 13 rebounds for Denver, winners of two straight games on the heels of six consecutive losses. Wilson Chandler added 19 points.
Lawson became the first Denver player to score at least 30 points and 15 assists in a game since Allen Iverson bagged 44 points and 15 assists in 2007.
Ryan Kelly and Jordan Farmar came off the bench to score 24 points each for Los Angeles.
Denver led by as many as 12 points during the first quarter and owned a 42-35 edge heading into the second quarter.
The Nuggets took advantage of some sloppy Laker defence in the second. Chandler put the finishing touches on a 14-2 surge with his lay-up for the Nuggets who led 77-66 at the half.
Denver continued to build on its lead in the third, eventually taking a commanding 23-point lead on a Faried slam dunk.
While the Nuggets are set to embark on a five-game road trip starting in New Orleans on Sunday, the Lakers are simply left to lick their wounds.
“I know I’m tired of it and our team’s tired of it,” said Lakers centre Robert Sacre.