It sure is nice when things go your way.
For the Denver Nuggets, that meant another explosive offensive performance coupled with stingy defense to secure a 133-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Seven players scored in double-figures for the Mile High squad, who knocked down a season-high 23 3-pointers.
A slow start for both teams resulted in an early 7-4 lead for the Mile High squad. Midway through the quarter, the game was tied at 14 as both teams traded buckets and defensive stops. Both teams caught fire down the stretch of the quarter, with the Nuggets hitting from deep (6-of-7) while the Lakers attacked the paint. Bones Hyland led the way for Denver in the opening frame with eight points off the bench as the Nuggets took a 34-29 lead into the second quarter.
Davon Reed injected some energy into Denver’s second unit and the Ball Arena crowd as the Nuggets extended the lead to eight early in the second quarter. Hyland continued his hot streak in the second frame as Denver’s second unit dominated. Hyland finished the first half with 16 points as the Nuggets got 28 points off the bench in the first 24 minutes. The shots kept falling for the Nuggets, who ended the half with a 73-60 advantage.
The Nuggets continued to pour it on to begin the third quarter, eventually pushing the lead up to 19 at 88-69 midway through the frame. Los Angeles wouldn’t go away easily, using a quick 7-3 run to begin chipping away at the lead. Denver was able to halt the Lakers’ momentum and build the lead up to 20 late in the quarter before ultimately securing a 102-79 lead heading into the final quarter.
The lead grew to 29 for Denver early in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets’ second unit continued to thrive. Both teams went to their deep reserves down the stretch as the Nuggets led by as many as 42 points before closing out the win.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s win.
Denver’s second unit got Bizzy
It certainly didn’t take long for Bones Hyland and the Nuggets’ second unit to set the tone for Saturday’s contest. Hyland caught fire from deep (4-of-5) in the first half and used his shooting gravity to get inside the arc for a few additional buckets. Meanwhile, Davon Reed brought impressive defense to the floor in the first half as the Mile High squad got 28 bench points in the first 24 minutes of the game.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Hyland finished with a career-high 27 points to lead the group, which ended with 57 points as a unit. Considering Los Angeles only got 32 points off the bench, the effective performance from Denver’s group was key in securing the win.
Jokić did it all
Nikola Jokić secured a triple-double after 21 minutes of action, if that helps paint a picture of just how effective the reigning MVP was against Los Angeles. The Serbian big man didn’t play in the fourth quarter as a result of the comfortable victory, meaning he had to settle for 17 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds in his 28 minutes of action.
Jokić dropped that stat line on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, as he constantly kept LA’s big men out of rhythm as they tried to slow him down.
Hot 3-point shooting fueled dominant offensive performance
It’s hard to lose a game when you shoot over 57 percent from beyond the arc.
For the Nuggets, Saturday’s game was a lights out shooting display from deep, which fueled the second-consecutive high-scoring game. Denver knocked down 23 triples (on 40 attempts), which marked a new season high.
However, the Nuggets also added 44 points in the paint and 16 from the charity stripe as they dished out 35 assists in the comfortable victory.
Denver is right back in action Sunday night against the Utah Jazz (6 p.m. MT).