Lakers can't stop Denver's Timofey Mozgov in 111-99 loss

DENVER — Say this about Dwight Howard: Timofey Mozgov would have never come close to a career high against him.

The Lakers found a new player to beat them, an unlikely candidate who averaged all of 8.2 points per game before Wednesday.

Yes, the Denver Nuggets' third-string center tied career highs with 23 points and four blocked shots in a 111-99 Lakers loss at Pepsi Center.

BOX SCORE: Denver 111, Lakers 99

It's understandable to lose to Golden State by 31 points or fall victim to the high-energy act of Anthony Davis on the road.

But losing to Mozgov and falling to 0-3 in the second night of back-to-backs?

This season just keeps ... getting ... weirder. Feel free to substitute "worse" for "weirder," though the Lakers have played only 10 games.

Almost forgotten was the effort by another Nuggets post player, Kenneth Faried, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Pretty much goes without saying that Pau Gasol had another off night.

He scored 25 points and took 12 rebounds, but a beyond-superficial look would expose his stat line. He made only 12 of 27 shots and was one of five from the free-throw line.

Gasol was also assigned Mozgov. He failed. Badly.

Mozgov made eight of 12 shots and blocked Gasol's shot twice in one possession late in the game.

Mozgov, of all people, allowed Brian Shaw to score his first victory as a coach against his former team.

The Nuggets had only one player averaging more than 10.5 points per game, guard Ty Lawson, but that didn't matter Wednesday.

What mattered was the Lakers getting humiliated in points in the paint, 60-32.

"There was too many times they got right to the basket without either big [man] showing up," Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Steve Blake had a double-double (15 points, 11 assists) and Jordan Hill played hard (18 points, 15 rebounds), and that was about all for the Lakers.

It was Hill's second consecutive game as a starter with equally promising results.

"I know I can play," said Hill, who had a career-high 21 points and also 11 rebounds Tuesday against New Orleans. "I'm just going out there and doing what I have to do, getting the minutes and having fun with it."

The Lakers look especially flawed in back-to-back sets, and Wednesday's loss was no different from Friday's defeat in New Orleans: Lakers stay in the game for three quarters, Lakers fold in the fourth.

"I'm not concerned," D'Antoni said. "Those are patterns that when Kobe [Bryant] comes back, they'll get taken care of. But we have to do a better job of finding solutions and finding guys that are going to step up."

Meanwhile, the Nuggets' coach seems to have found a home in Denver.

Shaw walked comfortably to his car with his son and daughter Wednesday, a handful of months after finally landing a head-coaching gig after countless interviews over the years.

He inherited a team that finished third in the Western Conference last season but lost Andre Iguodala in a trade and was still without injured scorer Danilo Gallinari.

Shaw won three championships as a Lakers player and then two as a Lakers assistant from 2005 to 2011 on Phil Jackson's staff.

Did it mean something to beat the Lakers?

"All the faces of the guys on the team are so different from the guys I played with and even coached with," he said. "It makes it feel like it's just another team."

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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