Lakers return home to face Denver

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Denver Nuggets have won three straight and will try to carry that momentum into Sunday night's tilt with the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

The Nuggets defeated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road, then knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans at the Pepsi Center.

On Friday, the Nuggets squashed the Pelicans, 117-97.

Kenneth Faried had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead the Nuggets. Arron Afflalo netted 19 points, while Wilson Chandler added 18 points and five boards for the Nuggets, who have won four out of their last five.

"We played hard. I think we're turning it around right now," Denver center JaVale McGee said.

Danilo Gallinari enjoyed his best scoring game of the season with 17 points. He missed all of last season with a knee injury and has had trouble getting back into rhythm.

McGee added 14 and Ty Lawson contributed 11 points and nine assists.

The Nuggets won all four quarters and New Orleans never cut the deficit below eight in the third. Denver headed into the fourth with a 86-73 margin and the Nuggets led by as many as 25 in the final frame.

The Nuggets held Anthony Davis to 18 points and nine rebounds.

The Lakers had a two-game road winning streak halted Friday night thanks to a 140-106 drubbing at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. It was a bad matchup for LA. The Lakers are last in the NBA in opponents' scoring and Dallas leads the league in scoring.

The Mavs put up their highest point total of the season on 51-of-82 (62.2 percent) shooting -- including a blistering 18-of-35 (51.4 percent) clip from beyond the arc.

"Tonight is a setback, but sometimes you take a couple of steps forward before taking a step back," said Kobe Bryant. "Sometimes you take a step back before you can take a couple of steps forward. Tonight was a step back."

The Lakers shot a decent 44-for-85 (51.8 percent) from the floor, but they were no match, with Jeremy Lin's 18 points leading the way. Bryant dropped in 17 points on 6-of-22 shooting.

Jordan Hill had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Carlos Boozer finished with 12 and Robert Sacre added 10 off the bench.

Wayne Ellington returned to the Lakers after missing six games to be with his family following the murder of his father. He scored eight points in 12 minutes.

The Nuggets have won six straight against the Lakers and the two teams have split their last six regular-season meetings in Los Angeles.