The Denver Nuggets entered the season as a team that had the potential to wreak some havoc in the Western Conference.
They showed why on Tuesday with a dominant 117-85 win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Following the game, head coach Mike Malone called out bandwagon fans across the NBA and said that the elite teams can come to Denver and “take that L on the way out.”
“You’re either with us or you’re against us,” Malone said. “LeBron is arguably the best player ever. When he comes to town, the Lakers and their fans carry. As long as their fans go home disappointed, that’s all I care about. The Warrior fans can come in here, the Celtic fans can come in here. The Laker fans can come in here. But take that L on the way out.”
The Nuggets held the Lakers to just a 5-of-35 clip from beyond the arc on the night. In addition, James scored a season-low 14 points and only three Los Angeles players finished the game in double figures.
On the other hand, Denver was able to do all of this damage without starting shooting guard Gary Harris, who missed the game due to soreness in his left ankle. Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Malik Beasley led the way with 20 points apiece in the astounding victory.
The Nuggets have been one of the more impressive teams in the Western Conference so far this season. They currently own a 14-7 record and sit in third place in the West — just a half-game behind the Golden State Warriors. In addition, the team has already registered wins over the Boston Celtics, Lakers and Warriors this season.
The Nuggets edged the Warriors 100-98 back in October in one of their more heart-pounding wins with Juan Hernangomez registering the game-sealing block in the final seconds on a Damian Jones layup attempt.
While Malone’s comments may not be well-received by many of these fanbases, Denver has certainly backed it up on the court through the first 21 games against some of the league’s elite teams.