The Los Angeles Lakers’ miserable start to the season continued on Wednesday as the winless NBA giants crashed to a fourth straight defeat against the Denver Nuggets.
Nikoka Jokic scored 31 points and hauled down 13 rebounds in a 110-99 win for Denver that left the Lakers rooted to the foot of the Western Conference standings at 0-4.
LeBron James finished with 19 points and Anthony Davis 22 but it was another frustrating night for the Lakers, who reached half-time tied at 54-54 before being outscored 32-17 in a lopsided third quarter in Denver.
The Lakers’ 0-4 start to the season matches their start to the 2015-2016 campaign, when the team would go on to post the worst season in franchise history, finishing with a 17-65 record.
It is only the fourth time in franchise history that the Lakers have started a season with an 0-4 record.
Elsewhere Wednesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo produced his second straight 40-point performance as the Milwaukee Bucks maintained their unbeaten start to the NBA season with a 110-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Antetokounmpo single-handedly hauled Milwaukee back into an absorbing clash at Fiserv Forum, scoring 17 points in a third-quarter rally which turned a 12-point half-time deficit into a two-point lead.
The Greek star added 17 more points in the fourth quarter to finish with 43 in total as the Bucks pulled clear to wrap up the win and improve to 3-0.
Former NBA Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo scored 44 points in his last outing against Houston on Saturday and has averaged 36 points per game this season.
“That was vintage Giannis,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s had a lot of great performances, but that second half he did everything, he was phenomenal.
“We had a poor second quarter and he came out with a force and a determination to put us in the right place. It’s hard to put into words how good he was in the second half.”
Brooklyn, meanwhile, saw head coach Steve Nash ejected late in the third quarter after an uncharacteristic outburst from the Canadian Hall of Famer.
Nash erupted after officials failed to call a foul on Antetokounmpo when the Bucks star flattened Brooklyn’s Patty Mills.
An incandescent Nash needed to be hustled away from the confrontation by Nets players and coaching staff before heading back to the locker room.
“I was just standing up for our guys,” Nash said. “I thought Patty took a forearm to the throat from Giannis right in front of the ref and I didn’t think that was fair… What happened happened. I said my piece on the court and that’s really all there is to it.”
Nash’s ejection came at a time when momentum had swung back towards Milwaukee, who recovered after being pummeled 35-18 in the second quarter to outscore Brooklyn 35-21 in the third.
Brooklyn led by four points when Nash was ejected but Antetokounmpo took over to lead the Bucks to a deserved win.
Kevin Durant led the Nets scoring with 33 points while Kyrie Irving added 27 and Royce O’Neale 12. Ben Simmons finished with four points.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, in-form Damian Lillard scored 22 points but hobbled off with a right calf strain as the Portland Trail Blazers suffered their first loss of the season with a 119-98 defeat to the Miami Heat in Oregon.
In other games, Gary Trent Jr. scored 27 points as the Toronto Raptors handed the Philadelphia 76ers their fourth defeat of the season.
Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey scored 31 points each for the Sixers, but the visitors were undone by a balanced offensive effort from home side Toronto who had six players in double figures.
Pascal Siakam had 20 points with 13 assists and five rebounds as the Raptors led virtually from start to finish to win 119-109.
The Sixers fell to 1-4 with the defeat.
In Detroit, Trae Young poured in 35 points for visiting Atlanta as the Hawks downed the Pistons 118-113.
In Cleveland, Orlando’s No.1 draft pick Paolo Banchero excelled with 29 points but could not stop the Magic slipping to a 103-92 defeat to the Cavaliers.
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