The Nuggets are not good on the road and gave the Lakers their first win
Oct 31, 2022, 11:51 AM
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Well, somebody had to be first.
Unfortunately, it was the Nuggets.
The hapless Lakers got their first win of the NBA season on Sunday night, taking down Denver 121-110. The Nuggets led after the first quarter, 31-26, but lost every quarter the rest of the way. They gave up an astounding 38 points to Los Angeles in the third quarter.
Right now, the Nuggets are not good on the road. They’re just 1-3 away from the Mile High City, while going 3-0 at Ball Arena. Ironically, the one win on the road came against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Good luck figuring that one out.
On Sunday, the stars were fine but not special. Back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic had 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Jamal Murray chipped in 21 points, Aaron Gordon had 18 and Michael Porter Jr. scored 17. But the bench was bad. Bruce Brown led the unit with 10 points, while standout rookie Christian Braun had his worse game as a pro and was “-20” in his 13 minutes on the floor.
At 0-5 coming into the game, the Lakers were the laughingstock of the NBA. Russell Westbrook is cooked, Anthony Davis looks fragile and LeBron James might end his Hall of Fame career on a down note. But all was well on Sunday night, as the bad version of the Nuggets showed up in the Staples Center.
After the game, head coach Michael Malone was his usual grumpy self following a loss.
Michael Malone: Our defense has yet to travel.
Called #Nuggets defense embarrassing away from Denver so far this season.
— Mike Singer (@msinger) October 31, 2022
Embarrassing seems to be Malone’s favorite word for whenever the Nuggets don’t play defense. For a head coach who prides himself on that part of the game, Malone’s team better figure it out fast. They’re giving up 117 points per contest, which is in the bottom-third of the NBA.
Denver played the game without backup point guard Bones Hyland, typically a spark plug for the second unit. He’s battling a hip strain.
Still, the Nuggets can’t blame Hyland’s absence for the loss. They’re far too talented to lose to teams like the Lakers. And ultimately, if they don’t figure out the road, it’s going to cost them valuable playoff seeding come next spring.