- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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DENVER -- Former Denver Nuggets head coach and current ESPN NBA analyst George Karl once pushed the idea that one way to improve the league would be to do away with back-to-back games and reduce the 82-game schedule to around 65 nights when both teams are fresh and rested.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said that dollar signs would get in the way.
"And everybody take a pay cut?" D'Antoni said before the Lakers' game in Denver on Wednesday. "It’s not going to happen. There’s no use talking about it."
Fair enough. Since back-to-backs are here to stay, let's talk about if the Lakers are ever going to win on the second night of a double dip this season. Is that ever going to happen?
The Lakers fell to 0-3 on the second night of back-to-back sets this season, losing each game by an average of 18 points.
They have 16 more of these this season. They better figure out how to come up with the proper energy and focus on consecutive nights soon, or those back-to-backs could put them back in the lottery for the first time since 2005.
How it happened: After falling down by as many as 13 early, the Lakers cut it to four points heading into the fourth thanks to a four-point play by Nick Young and two free throws by Wesley Johnson, but Denver kept pushing the pace and hitting the boards late as L.A. looked gassed.
What it means: Consistency is an elusive partner for this Lakers team. They still don't know who they can rely on from night to night with Kobe Bryant out.
Hits: Jordan Hill followed up his career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday with 18 and 15 Wednesday, accounting for his ninth career double-double.
Pau Gasol put up solid totals (25 points, 12 rebounds) but shot just 12-for-27 from the field and 1-for-5 from the foul line.
Steve Blake (15 points, 11 assists) dropped double-digit dimes for the second straight night.
Misses: A day after playing his first game since having nine stitches removed from his forehead, Xavier Henry got cracked in the head in the third quarter and finished the game with a bandage above his left eye.
Denver outrebounded L.A. 58-51.
Timofey Mozgov had 23 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Nuggets.
The Lakers had 14 turnovers leading to 20 Denver points. The Nuggets had just eight miscues leading to two points for L.A.
Stat of the game: The Lakers had an 8-0 lead to start the game and then found themselves down by as many as 10 in the first quarter.