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Nuggets Cruise in Second Half to First Preseason Victory
SAN DIEGO - The Nuggets came away with a 124-107 preseason win over the Los Angeles Lakers in front of a sellout crowd at Valley View Casino Center on Sunday night.
After spending the past week playing against one other during training camp the Nuggets came out with a solid start to the preseason. Juancho Hernangomez led the team with 19 points off the bench while shooting 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
“When he’s making shots like that, stretching the defense out, we become a really tough team to guard,” Nuggets Coach Michael Malone said.
Jamal Murray led the starting unit with 18 points while relentlessly attacking the rim throughout the game.
“I’ve been so eager to play, so to be out there and play as well as the team did and everybody got to contribute and everybody had fun. It was a lot of fun,” Murray said.
Nikola Jokić got off to a strong start as he scored 12 points in his first eight minutes on the floor. Jokić finished the game with 14 points in 21 minutes to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Jokić struggled with giveawys in the game, accounting for six of the Nuggets’ 21 turnovers.
The Lakers made a run in the second quarter as LeBron James took control of the LA offense. James finished with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists while logging 15 minutes in his Lakers preseason debut. The Nuggets threw a variety of defenders at James with Torrey Craig and Paul Millsap being assigned to defend James for much of his time on the court.
The Nuggets' bench helped counter several runs by the Lakers’ starting group. Mason Plumlee had a well-rounded stat line with 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists while also shooting 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. The Nuggets as a team would shoot 88.6% from the line to account for 31 points. The Nuggets out-rebounded the Lakers, 50-37.
“I thought our bench was terrific tonight. Juancho, Malik, you know Trey struggled to make shots in that first half but Monte did a really good job,” said Malone.
Gary Harris was sidelined for the game with a hamstring injury. Torrey Craig started at small forward with Will Barton sliding to the shooting guard position. Point guard Jamal Murray, power forward Paul Millsap and center Nikola Jokić remained the starters at their respective positions.
The Nuggets will take on the Lakers again on Tuesday in at the Staples Center in Los Angeles 8:30PM MT .