Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 97, Lakers 88

October, 6, 2013
10/06/13
9:26
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
LOS ANGELES -- Well, the Los Angeles Lakers won't be following up last preseason's 0-8 with an 8-0 one.

A night after looking sharp as a tack in their exhibition opener against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers were dull as a human resources-required video Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers, still without Kobe Bryant, shifted their lineup around, giving Chris Kaman the night off and letting Jordan Farmar rest his left calf while welcoming Pau Gasol and Steve Nash back to the court, and all the pieces just didn't fit together so well.


How it happened: To put it bluntly, the Lakers couldn't throw a rock in the ocean Sunday night. They shot just 30-for-93 as a team (32.3 percent) with only two out of the 14 players who got in (Xavier Henry and Darius Johnson-Odom) personally shooting 50 percent or better.

What it means: Thank goodness there are still six preseason games left over the next three weeks to get things right before it counts, because the Lakers still have a lot of work to do.

For starters, having a consistent lineup and rotation will help keep things from getting so ugly.

From there, a little more discipline out of guys like Nick Young (4-for-16) and Marcus Landry (4-for-11) in their shot selection couldn't hurt.

Hits: Henry, who has had a whirlwind 24 hours that included his phone blowing up from well-wishers who saw his 29-point outburst against Golden State -- and even getting a follow on Twitter from his locker room neighbor in Bryant -- was a bright spot once again. He scored 15 points on 4-for-7 shooting and got to the line early and often, going 7-for-9 from the stripe.

Misses: Wesley Johnson, who had been raved about during training camp, left the game in the first quarter because of a strained left foot, finishing with two points on 1-for-5 shooting, two turnovers and two fouls in eight minutes after starting at small forward. It mirrored his struggles Saturday against Golden State, when he also went 1-for-5 with four fouls and two turnovers.

Nash (zero points, six assists, five rebounds) sat out the second half to rest.

Stat of the night: 13. Gasol's shot attempt total in just 23 minutes of playing time. He had 13 games last season in which he didn't reach double-digit shot attempts while playing a full game.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.4
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.1