Sun, Mar 09, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Nuggets victory condemns Lakers to losing season

AFP, DENVER, Colorado

Brooklyn Nets power forward Mason Plumlee, center, passes over Boston Celtics defenders during their game at the TD Garden in Boston on Friday.

Photo: EPA

The Denver Nuggets took their head coach Brian Shaw’s advice and tried to run up the score against the hapless Los Angeles Lakers on Friday at the Pepsi Center.

While they did not quite hit their lofty goal of 160 points, they still managed to manhandle the last-place Lakers 134-126, guaranteeing Los Angeles will suffer their first losing season since the 2004 to 2005 season when Shaw was their assistant coach.

“Coach said he wanted to score 40 a quarter, so he was pretty excited,” Denver’s Ty Lawson said. “Actually, he was bummed because he said he wanted to get 160.”

Shaw played four NBA 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,” Shaw said 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 at the Pepsi Center.

The Lakers’ loss comes just one day after they suffered their worst defeat in franchise history when they were clobbered 142-94 by the Los Angeles Clippers at 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 losses, their opposition is averaging a staggering 136 points.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he is puzzled by the team’s inability to compete 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 on the heels of six straight 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 benefited from some sloppy Laker defense in the second. Chandler put the finishing touches on a 14-2 surge with his layup for the Nuggets, who led 77-66 at the half.

Denver continued to build on their 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 today, the Lakers are simply left to lick their wounds.

“I know I’m tired of it and our team’s tired of it,” Lakers center Robert Sacre said.

ROCKETS 112, PACERS 86

James Harden had 28 points and Houston used a huge third quarter to turn a close game into a blowout against Indiana.

Harden scored 16 in Houston’s 38-point third quarter, which turned a three-point lead into a 29-point advantage. He also got into a dustup with Evan Turner that resulted in both players receiving technical fouls.

Harden and Dwight Howard went to the bench for the fourth period and watched their teammates wrap up Houston’s fourth consecutive win.

David West had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers, losers of three straight for the first time this season.

Howard finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin added 11 points apiece for the Rockets.

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