Jokic has 8th triple-double, Nuggets defeats Lakers, 133-96

DENVER (AP) — Michael Malone knew Bones Hyland was struggling, so the Denver coach sat down with him after a morning shoot in Denver this week.

The chat worked wonders for the Nuggets newbie.

Now it’s the Los Angeles Lakers who could use another pep talk.

what you need to know

  • The Lakers have lost three straight games after winning four straight games
  • LeBron James had 24 points and nine rebounds but only netted 9 of 23 field goals
  • Russell Westbrook, who was only 15 for 59 in his last four games, had 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting
  • The 37-point loss was the biggest ever against Denver

Hyland continued a 17-point game against Portland with career-highs 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Nuggets’ 133-96 win over the Lakers on Saturday night.

Nikola Jokic had 17 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds for his eighth triple-double of the season, while Jeff Green had a season-high 26 points in Denver’s second straight blowout win. All five Nuggets starters scored in double digits.

Hyland averaged 4.6 points in the first five games in January but turned it around on Thursday and Los Angeles against the Trail Blazers. He’s 11-19 from 3-point range and shooting 51.8% in the last two games after his call with Malone.

“It meant a lot to me. It took some of the stress off my shoulders and made me more relaxed, and also made me more comfortable knowing that I and Coach have that connection,” Hyland said.

The Lakers have lost three straight games after winning four straight games. LeBron James had 24 points and nine rebounds but only netted 9 of 23 field goals. Russell Westbrook, who was only 15 for 59 in his last four games, had 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

“We just have to make a decision that we’re going to play hard,” Westbrook said. “Sometimes the plans and how you play don’t matter. Sometimes you just have to play hard. Teams play harder than us, so it’s that simple.”

Denver led by five after the first quarter and by 18 in the second quarter when Jokic prevailed. He had eight points and six assists in the final 7:10 of the half and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and nine assists at the break.

Jokic scored the 65th triple-double of his career at 2:10 in the second half and sat out the last 14 minutes.

“Nikola gets a triple-double in 28 minutes, Bones gets his first double-double of his career, the bench was great, the starters were great,” Malone said.

Things got tricky in the third when Aaron Gordon was called out for a foul on Westbrook and Westbrook made an exception. Players and officials separated the players and both got technique.

Denver led by 19 at that point, 102-79 after three quarters and 42 in the fourth quarter.

“We have to go back to the drawing board and set up our defense properly,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “We haven’t played well enough on this side of the ball in the last two games.”

tip ins

Lakers: The 37-point loss was the biggest ever against Denver. … James has led the team in 13 straight games and 16 of the last 17 in goalscoring. … Carmelo Anthony missed his third straight game with a back injury.

Nuggets: Will Barton had 12 points after leaving Thursday’s game with a neck strain. … JaMychal Green has entered health and safety protocols. He also missed Thursday’s win against Portland. … G Austin Rivers did not play due to a non-COVID related illness.

appreciation of the king

Malone observed James up close when he was an assistant in Cleveland for five years and is still impressed by what he’s doing at the age of 37.

“Let’s not get into the stupid discussion of who the GOAT is. LeBron is a great player, he’s one of the greatest to play; leave it at that,” Malone said. “His ability to influence the game on so many levels is just remarkable. At this point in his career, averaging 29.1 (points), (7.4 rebounds) and (6.6 assists) and as many minutes as he plays, sometimes you sit back in awe.”

repayment

The last time Vom Reed faced James he was a rookie with Phoenix and James led Cleveland to a fourth straight NBA Finals. Reed’s first game against James went as expected.

“He uploaded me and it was either a foul or an and-1,” Reed said. “It was ugly.”

Saturday night he got a revenge. He played solid defense against the Lakers star in the first half, nearly got a steal and helped force a shot clock injury late in the first quarter.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while,” Reed said. “LeBron killed me my rookie year and I needed revenge.”

Next

Lakers: to host Monday night’s Utah Jazz.

Nuggets: Host the Jazz on Sunday nights.

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