Game Preview: Lakers-Nuggets
Denver wraps up three-game homestand against struggling Los Angeles
Opponent loses by 40-plus points 24 hours earlier.
Opponent arrives in Denver after 3 a.m.
The circumstances should be familiar to Denver Nuggets, who hope to learn from their experience just eight days earlier.
The Nuggets look to win back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 5 when they face the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Pepsi Center.
The Lakers are coming off a 48-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. It was the largest margin of defeat in franchise history.
“I think they’re going to come in angry,” Denver point guard Ty Lawson said. “They’re going to play a better game. I think they’ll want to redeem themselves.”
On Feb. 27, the Brooklyn Nets came to Pepsi Center on the heels of a 44-point loss at Portland. They jumped out to a 29-8 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in a 112-89 victory.
Nuggets coach Brian Shaw reminded his team of that game during shootaround and told the players not to expect a “cakewalk” against the Lakers.
“He kept us focused and made sure that we don’t have any letdowns against this team,” Lawson said. “Everybody knows this is a letdown game, and we don’t need that.”
Lawson has scored 51 points and added 18 assists in two games since returning from a fractured rib. He had 20 points and 12 assists in Denver’s victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Jan. 5.
LAKERS AT NUGGETS
WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950
LOS ANGELES (21-41)
F Kent Bazemore
F Wesley Johnson
C Pau Gasol
G Jodie Meeks
G Kendall Marshall
DENVER: Danilo Gallinari (knee), JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) and Nate Robinson are out.
LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation) and Nick Young (knee) are out.
Denver has won 11 of the last 15 regular season home games against Los Angeles at Pepsi Center, dating back to the 2005-06 season . . . The Nuggets have won 11 of the last 17 regular season meetings against the Lakers overall . . . Denver has already clinched the season series against the Lakers, marking only their fifth season series win over Los Angeles since 1994-95 (won 3-1 in 2006-07) . . . On 2/27/09, the Lakers shot just .298 (28-94) FG, their second-worst FG percentage since moving to Los Angeles in 1960 . . . On 11/13/09, the Lakers managed just 23 second half points (a record for fewest points in a half) and just eight points in the third quarter (a Nuggets record for fewest points allowed in a quarter).