Lakers vs Denver: Lakers overwhelm Nuggets for victory
Lakers 107, Nuggets 97 (final)
The four-game losing streak the Lakers had against the Nuggets is over.
The bad taste from losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night is a thing of the past.
The Lakers overwhelmed the Nuggets, with five players scoring in double figures to pull out the victory.
Kobe Bryant had 14 of his 18 points in the second half.
Pau Gasol and Ron Artest each had 19 points. Gasol also had 13 rebounds, six offensive.
The Lakers outrebounded the Nuggets, 47-27, including 15 offensive rebounds.
With 5:50 left in the fourth quarter and the Lakers ahead, 96-82, Andrew Bynum was fouled by Nene.
When Nene got in an extra shove, pushing Bynum down to the court, the two both got up and squared off. No punches were exchanged, only a staring contest followed.
But it was a sign of how Bynum wasn't going to back down, that he was going to be aggressive.
Bynum finished with 17 points on seven-for-11 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, three offensive. He blocked two shots and had one assist.
Lakers 82, Nuggets 72 (end of third quarter)
Kobe Bryant went to work in the third quarter after scoring just four points in the first half.
Bryant scored 14 points in the third, doing his part to help the Lakers outscore the Nuggets, 33-20, in the period to take a 10-point lead into the fourth. He had 18 points through three quarters on eight-for-14 shooting.
Gasol had six offensive rebounds through three quarters.
Nuggets 52, Lakers 49 (end of first half)
On a night when Kobe Bryant had just four points on two-for-four shooting, the Lakers stayed close to the Nuggets at halftime because of their work on the backboards and because of their defense.
The Lakers out-rebounded the Nuggets, 27-17, in the first half. The Lakers had eight offensvie rebounds.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with nine points and nine rebounds, four offensive.
The Lakers held the Nuggets to just 45.7% shooting in the first half.
Carmelo Anthony was just four-for-13 from the field with 11 points.
Bryant was held in check because the Nuggets double teamed him so much.
Nuggets 25, Lakers 22 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers opened the game one-for-seven shooting, a big reason why they shot only 38.1% from the field in the first quarter.
Andrew Bynum missed all four of his shots, all from close range.
Ron Artest was four-for-five shooting with nine points for the Lakers. But he also picked up two fouls in the first quarter.
When the Lakers looked at the video from their last loss to the Nuggets in November, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said they discovered how Denver wanted to defend L.A.'s big men.
In that game, Pau Gasol was the starting center and Lamar Odom was the starting power forward. Andrew Bynum still was recovering from knee surgery.
This time, Bynum will be starting at center, which poses a bigger threat to the Nuggets because the Lakers start two seven-footers in Bynum and Gasol.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Denver
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives the baseline against the Nuggets in the first half Friday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Credit: Rick Wilking / Reuters