Two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic dominated Wednesday night, nearly racking up a triple-double with 31 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in the Denver Nuggets’ 110-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in difficulty, who are now 0-4 on the season.
It’s the fourth time in franchise history that the Lakers have started a season with an 0-4 record, and they sit alongside the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic as the only winless teams in the league. NBA this campaign.
LeBron James, who hasn’t lost his first four games of a season since his rookie year, had 19 points, seven rebounds and nine assists – but committed eight turnovers – for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis has collected 22 points and 14 rebounds on the night.
With the game tied at 54-54 at halftime, the Nuggets retired in the third quarter of Wednesday’s game as they edged the Lakers 32-17.
Nuggets forward Bruce Brown scored 18 points and Jamal Murray had 13, including a big three to give Denver a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“I felt the third quarter was one of our best quarterbacks in a very short season,” Nuggets head coach Mike Malone told reporters after the game.
“We got the win, but more importantly we got the win playing the way we have to play,” he added. “Defending, the ball flies, goes out and runs away from our defense, so something to lean on.”
The Nuggets, now 3-2 this season, saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leave the game in the third quarter after twisting his ankle, and Malone said the team will reassess the extent of the injury on Thursday.
The Lakers, meanwhile, were without Russell Westbrook on Wednesday as he recovered from a hamstring injury, with coach Darvin Ham saying they didn’t want to put the guard in a “vulnerable position.”
According to ESPN, the Lakers, who shot 8 for 30 three-pointers against the Nuggets, have the worst three-point shooting start of any team in NBA history with at least 100 attempts in four games.
“We have to make some shots,” Lakers superstar James said after the game, “Some of it is early season stuff, obviously. You know, like I said, it’s a new system, it’s a new group of guys together. We’re still trying to get to know each other.
“We’re down to four games, it sucks to lose, but with 78 games to go, we have plenty of time to right the ship, and it starts now,” Ham said.
The Lakers next face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday in a bid to turn things around, while the Nuggets host the Utah Jazz.