It was a rough start to the preseason for the Denver Nuggets, new head coach Michael Malone and rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

Mudiay finished the night tied for second on the club with 14 points, but missed eight of his first eleven shots and was just 5-for-18 on the night. Denver fell to the Clippers in Los Angeles 103-96

Joffrey Lauvergne led the Nuggets in scoring with 16 and Nikola Jokic also had 14.

Malone opted for a lineup that was a mixture of young and established players, with Mudiay leading all players by a wide margin with 33 minutes. Gary Harris also saw significant playing time and was one of four other Nuggets in double-figures.

Several of Denver’s key veterans did not play, including Danilo Gallinari, Jusuf Nurkic and newly acquired forward Mike Miller.

Los Angeles, by comparison, played significant minutes for most of its starters, including 26 for both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and 22 for Chris Paul.

Recently, the wise guys in Las Vegas came out with win/loss projections and the Nuggets were pegged to win just 26.5 games. While the first preseason opener showed there will be a learning curve for Mudiay and some of the younger Nuggets, it’s hard to believe they won’t be more competitive than they showed on Friday night when the full complement of starters are on the floor.

Denver continues its preseason on Tuesday at Dallas.