Balanced Nuggets beat slumping Lakers 137-115

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 6, 2014 at 12:07 am •  Published: January 6, 2014

The Nuggets outrebounded Los Angeles 58-38 and hit 12 3-pointers, while the Lakers went 3 for 21 on long-distance shots.

Pau Gasol had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists amid another round of trade rumors with the injury-battered Lakers, who have lost seven of eight.

The 7-foot Spaniard has been sought by Cleveland in recent days for what essentially would be a money-saving move by the wealthy Lakers, and he acknowledges the uncertainty isn't helpful.

Gasol said he played with "just a love for the game and a sense of pride and loyalty to my teammates and myself. I wanted to play my best and give it everything I have."

Fourth-string point guard Kendall Marshall had nine points and a career-high 17 assists in his second straight start for the Lakers, who are without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar due to injury. Marshall set a franchise record with 32 assists in his first two starts for Los Angeles.

"I think we kind of unraveled a bit, and they kept coming and kept scoring and kept hitting difficult shots," Marshall said.

At 14-20, Los Angeles' chances of a playoff run are already waning in the continued absence of Bryant, who expressed dismay about the latest uncertainty around his 7-foot Spanish teammate before the game.

Los Angeles has lost seven of its last nine games at Staples Center, but will play just one home game in the next 22 days.

"It's tough. There's no sugarcoating it," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're in a hole, and we put ourselves in this hole. We'll get guys coming back (from injury). We just have to keep playing hard, keep your head down, go through it."

NOTES: Dozens of Auburn football fans watched the game from Staples Center's lower bowl on the night before the BCS championship game at the Rose Bowl. A luxury suite full of fans chanted slogans and held up an orange banner reading "War Eagle." ... Lakers C Robert Sacre needed five stitches to close a cut on his lower lip late in the first half. ... Eddie Murphy, Jessica Alba and Mark Wahlberg attended the game.