Nuggets victory condemns Lakers to losing season

AFP, DENVER, Colorado

Sun, Mar 09, 2014 - Page 19

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.

CELTICS 91, NETS 84

Rajon Rondo scored 20 points and the Boston Celtics dominated the boards to beat Brooklyn and stop the Nets’ four-game winning streak on Friday.

Boston scored the first five points and never trailed, although Brooklyn used an 11-point run to cut the lead to 70-68 with 2 minutes, 2 seconds left in the third quarter. The Celtics came back to take a 78-70 lead entering the final quarter and led by at least seven the rest of the way.

The Celtics out-rebounded the Nets 62-37, an important advantage because they turned the ball over 28 times, twice as many as Brooklyn. Rondo also had nine assists and seven rebounds.

The Nets were led by Joe Johnson with 21 points and Deron Williams with 20 as they fell back to .500 two days after going over the mark for the first time this season.

BOBCATS 101, CAVALIERS 92

Al Jefferson scored 28 points, Kemba Walker had 20 points and 14 assists, and Charlotte defeated Cleveland for their sixth straight win at home.

Jefferson shot 12 of 18 from the field and reached 20 points for the 22nd time in his last 24 games. Chris Douglas-Roberts added 14 points, including four three-pointers, and a season-high nine rebounds for Charlotte (29-33), who surpassed their win total from the previous two seasons combined.

The Bobcats, seventh in the Eastern Conference, improved to 3-0 this season against the Cavaliers and now own the tiebreaker against Detroit and Cleveland, the ninth- and 10th-place teams in the East.

Dion Waiters and Luol Deng each scored 19 points for Cleveland, who are 3.5 games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East.

Charlotte’s six-game home winning streak is their longest since a seven-game run in March 2010.

GRIZZLIES 85, BULLS 77

Marc Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Memphis used their stout defense to defeat Chicago.

Mike Miller made four three-pointers and finished with 14 points as the Grizzlies closed out a three-game road trip with their third victory in four games. Zach Randolph added 10 points and 11 rebounds after missing Memphis’ previous game with the flu.

WARRIORS 111, HAWKS 97

David Lee had 18 points and six rebounds, reserve Jermaine O’Neal added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Golden State returned home to beat Atlanta for their third straight win.

Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry each scored 13 to help the Warriors build a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter. Golden State, fresh off a 4-2 road trip, are 8-2 since the All-Star break.

TIMBERWOLVES 114, PISTONS 101

Kevin Love had 28 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, and Minnesota outlasted Detroit.

Kevin Martin scored 24 points and Ricky Rubio added 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are pushing for the Western Conference playoffs.

Greg Monroe had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Will Bynum scored all 17 of his points in the fourth quarter for the Pistons. Detroit shot 40 percent and lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Nikola Pekovic had 17 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota.

RAPTORS 99, KINGS 87

Terrence Ross scored 18 points to lead the Raptors over Sacramento, spoiling Rudy Gay’s return to Toronto.

Gay had 15 points for the Kings, who acquired him in a seven-player deal on Dec. 9.

Patrick Patterson and DeMar DeRozan each scored 15 points, while Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and Amir Johnson had nine rebounds to go with nine points for the Raptors, who have won eight of 10.

In other games on Friday it was:

‧ Knicks 108, Jazz 81

‧ Pelicans 112, Bucks 104

‧ Mavericks 103,

Trail Blazers 98