Swingman Antawn Jamison and shooting guard Jodie Meeks combined to make twelve 3-pointers as the struggling Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 122-103 home victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Despite an off night for Kobe Bryant and another forgettable game for Pau Gasol, who has yet to find his place in new head coach Mike D'Antoni's offense, the Lakers raced to a 14-point halftime lead and never looked back.
Jamison was the offensive star Friday night for the Lakers at Staples Center, coming off the bench to score 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting from the field overall and 5-of-10 shooting from behind the three-point arc. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Meeks, who went 7-of-8 from 3-point range for 21 points, also provided big help in a reserve role.
Also making a big contribution to the Lakers' victory was center Dwight Howard, who dominated the paint to the tune of 28 points and 20 rebounds.
The Nuggets were led by forward Danilo Gallinari, who scored 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, and Jordan Hamilton, who came off the bench to contribute 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Lakers improved to 3-3 with D'Antoni on the sidelines and 8-8 for the season. The Nuggets lost their third straight game as their record slipped to 8-9.
D'Antoni was hired to replace Mike Brown, who was abruptly dismissed after the star-studded team got off to a disappointing 1-4 start.
High expectations surround the Lakers this season after the offseason acquisitions of Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year, and star point guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash, who is currently out of action with a non-displaced leg fracture.
In other action on a busy Friday night in the NBA, the Toronto Raptors edged the Phoenix Suns 101-97, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Orlando Magic 98-86, the Philadelphia 76ers topped the Charlotte Bobcats 104-98 and the Cleveland Cavaliers eked out a 113-11 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Boston Celtics cruised past the Portland Trail Blazers 96-78, the New York Knicks trounced the Washington Wizards 108-87, the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 106-94 win over the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 95-85.
The Memphis Grizzlies improved their league-best record to 12-2 with a comfortable 90-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers edged the Sacramento Kings 97-92. EFE