LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ty Lawson and Jordan Hamilton scored 15 points apiece, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 97-88 Sunday night in their preseason debut under new coach Brian Shaw.
Pau Gasol had 13 points and four rebounds in his preseason debut for the Lakers. Steve Nash had six assists in 22 scoreless minutes before going to the locker room in the third quarter of his own exhibition debut.
JaVale McGee had 12 points and seven assists for the Nuggets, who committed 28 turnovers and 33 fouls. They still won a poorly played game by both teams for Shaw, the longtime Lakers guard and assistant coach.
Xavier Henry had 15 points in his second high-scoring game for the Lakers.
Gasol and Nash sat out the Lakers’ exhibition opener in Ontario on Saturday night when Los Angeles snapped a 10-game exhibition winless streak over the last three years. The Lakers rested Jordan Farmar and Chris Kaman against Denver in their plan to keep their veterans fresh during the preseason.
Marcus Landry scored 13 points for the Lakers, who must play four preseason games in six days before a weeklong trip to China for two more exhibitions against Golden State.
Kobe Bryant is highly unlikely to play for the Lakers in the preseason while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, and Shaw – a Bryant confidante – said he thinks Kobe will miss the season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.
Shaw won three NBA titles as a Lakers guard, and he earned two more rings while spending seven seasons as an assistant. He was a popular candidate among fans to replace Phil Jackson two seasons ago, but the Buss family chose Mike Brown – and when Brown was fired early last season, the Busses bypassed Shaw again to hire Mike D’Antoni.
Instead, the Nuggets hired Shaw in June to replace George Karl, who was fired despite winning a franchise-record 57 games and his first NBA Coach of the Year award after Denver’s first-round exit from the playoffs.
Wesley Johnson left the game in the first half with a strained left foot and didn’t return for the Lakers. The fourth-year pro, who will have an MRI on Monday, is trying to earn a spot after three disappointing NBA seasons in Minnesota and Phoenix.
The Lakers went through a 1-for-15 shooting stretch in the first half and finished 15 for 51, but Denver committed 16 turnovers while taking a 46-44 halftime lead. Evan Fournier scored nine points before halftime for the Nuggets.
By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
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