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Category: Denver Nuggets

Lakers grind out second consecutive road victory with 93-89 triumph over Denver

Lakers1_350Just when it seemed as if the Lakers were on the verge of an epic fourth-quarter meltdown, they pulled out a 93-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

Kobe Bryant scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol each logged double-doubles and rookie guard Andrew Goudelock continued to impress with 13 points off the bench.

And still, it almost wasn't enough. After trailing by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, Denver had a chance to win before Al Harrington's step-back three-pointer missed, with Matt Barnes grabbiong the rebound and getting fouled with two-tenths of a second left, securing the Lakers' second consecutive road victory.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Nuggets

The Lakers helped the Nuggets rally by being called for a pair of fourth-quarter technical fouls, one on Bynum and another on Barnes. Gasol also committed a late turnover on a behind-the-back pass that eventually led to a dunk by Nene that pulled the Nuggets to within 91-89.

Bynum was involved in another controversial play when he missed a layup with 12 seconds left but indicated he was fouled by Nene. Video replays appeared to show Nene hitting Bynum on the arm without touching the ball, which went out of bounds to the Nuggets, setting up their final play.

"We made it tough on ourselves down the stretch," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "The missed call [on Nene] was tough to swallow. We didnt' execute well, but we got a clean dunk but didn't get the call."

Said Bynum: "I can just let it go. It really wasn't that bad."

In his first game since becoming an All-Star for the first time, Bynum had 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. Gasol finished with 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Derek Fisher also was clutch for the Lakers, making a jumper to give them a 91-87 lead and making a steal in the final minute.

Goudelock made six of 10 shots and has averaged 11.8 points in his last six games.

"He's found his niche," Bryant said. "He comes in off the bench and he lights it up."

The Lakers improved to 3-7 on the road and will go for a third consecutive road win on Saturday against Utah in Salt Lake City, where they pulled out a triumph in overtime last month.

"I've been telling everybody we're going to be fine," Bryant said. "I mean, it's the start of the year and it's tough to kind of get out on the road. We've had some very tough opponents to start the season on the road. We're kind of getting used to everything with no practices. We're going to be A-OK."

ALSO:

Caught in the web: Lakers start trip with a win

Mitch Kupchak remains positive despite road woes

Five things to take from Lakers' 93-89 victory over the Nuggets

--Ben Bolch in Denver

Photo: Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov tries to cut off the drive of Lakers power forward Pau Gasol in the first half Friday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Credit: Jack Dempsey / Associated Press

Caught in the Web: Reactions to Lakers' 95-90 loss to Denver Nuggets

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Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes how the Lakers' 95-90 loss Sunday to the Denver Nuggets contrasted from the team's usual dominance since the All-Star break.

--The Orange County Kevin Ding and the Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen explains how the Nuggets ended the Lakers' nine-game winning streak. 

--The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman explains the significance of the Nuggets' win over the Lakers.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford details the Lakers' poor late-game stretches.

Notebooks

--The Times' Bresnahan explains Lamar Odom's perspective on why Kenyon Martin got the putback over him that secured the Nuggets' victory.

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's Lassen and the Daily News' Teaford explains why Tex Winter's Hall of Fame induction is bittersweet for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.

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Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher discuss 95-90 loss to Denver Nuggets

Lakers forward Lamar Odom

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson

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Lakers lack proper energy and execution in 95-90 loss to Denver Nuggets

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Making his way toward the player's lounge, Lakers forward Lamar Odom stopped in midstep.

The images of Kenyon Martin's put-back of a missed free throw over Odom with 11 seconds left that cemented the Lakers' 95-90 loss Sunday to the Denver Nuggets couldn't escape him.

"Second time this year, right?" Odom said in disbelief. "What the ..."

This nightmare happened exactly two months ago when the San Antonio Spurs secured a one-point victory after forward Antonio McDyess boxed out Odom and tipped in Tim Duncan's missed 11-foot, fadeaway jumper before time expired. Even if the sequences seemed similar, Odom reacted differently. Following the Lakers' loss to San Antonio, Odom bounced the basketball once, held onto it and appeared in a reflective state of mind. Once the Lakers' loss to Denver became official, Odom punched the ball from one end of the court to the other, the ball hitting off a camera posted on top of the basket.

"I was so mad at myself because the same thing happened against San Antonio and we lost the game like that," said Odom, who blamed the miscue by failing to communicate with Ron Artest on boxing Martin out. "It was anyone's game to take and that's why they took the game."

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L.A. Times' Mark Medina on Lakers' 95-90 loss to Denver Nuggets

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Lakers vs Denver: Lakers fall to Nuggets

Lakers1_510Nuggets 95, Lakers 90 (final)

The Lakers and Nuggets, the two teams playing the best basketball in the NBA, gave the fans something to see Sunday.

Denver pulled out the victory, improving to 15-4 since the Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.

The Lakers had gone 17-1 since the All-Star break and had a nine-game winning streak along with that.

The winning streak was snapped and it meant that the Lakers fell 2 1/2-games behind the San Antonio Spurs, who easily defeated Phoenix earlier Sunday, for the best record in the NBA.

Down 89-83 after Kenyon Martin scored, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called a timeout withh 3:23 left.

The Lakers had just turned the ball over two times in a row, both times by Pau Gasol.

The Lakers then went down by eight points, 91-83.

But the Lakers asnwered with two scores, pulling to within 91-87, and then dug down on defense yet again.

They got a stop with 50 seconds left, forcing the Nuggets into a 24-clock violation.

But Kobe Bryant missed a shot, his pull-up baseline jumper hitting the side of the backboard.

After Wilson Chandler made one of two free throws for a 92-87 Denver lead, Lamar Odom made a three-pointer to pull the Lakers to within 92-90 with 15 seconds left.

The thing that killed the Lakers was after Nene missed the second of two free throws, Kenyon Martin out-hustled Odom for the rebound, scoring on a put-back with 11 seconds left for a 95-90 Nuggets lead.

RELATED:

Lakers-Nuggets photos

Lakers-Nuggets box score

Phil Jackson upset it took so long to induct Tex Winter into Hall of Fame

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Lakers Chat: Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets

Photo: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Denver Nuggets during the NBA basketball game at Staples Center on April 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Let's talk some Lakers-Nuggets after the jump!

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Caught in the Web: Lakers prepare for Denver Nuggets

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--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers aren't concerned with who they play in the playoffs.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr highlights Matt Barnes' promise that he won't lose his cool for the rest of the season.

--The Times' Chris Erskine sits with Marge Hearn during a recent Lakers game.

--The Times' Mark Heisler criticizes the New York Knicks for acquiring Carmelo Anthony.

--The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman argues Kobe Bryant should be given more consideration for league MVP. Hochman also explains how Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin has emerged as a leader.

--The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson reports former Lakers assistant Tex Winter will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky, Ramona Shelburne and Dave Miller discuss in a podcast a number of topics, including Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, the Lakers' low number of turnovers in March (9.7 per game) and the Lakers' recent success.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi explains why Barnes wants to meet the Mavericks again in the playoffs.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin notes the Lakers' acknowledgement they are chasing the San Antonio Spurs for the West's best record.

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Lakers face the Denver Nuggets for the first time without Carmelo Anthony

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Still feeling the effects of a stomach upset, Lakers forward Lamar Odom said he woke up Saturday morning and considered sleeping in and skipping practice.

That sentiment didn't last long.

"I was going to stay home," Odom said after practice Saturday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo, "but I just decided to come in because we hadn't seen this Denver team."

The Lakers have seen the Nuggets plenty of times, including the 2009 Western Conference finals and their two regular-season games this season. But when the Lakers host Denver at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center, there's very little they can draw from their 1-1 mark against Denver that featured the Lakers averaging 109.5 points per contest, Ron Artest getting burned on defense in one game and playing lockdown defense in the other. That's because the Lakers will face the Nuggets for the first time since they traded Carmelo Anthony on Feb. 21 to the New York Knicks in a multi-player trade that changed the Nuggets' identity.

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Lakers Roundtable: L.A. Times' Mark Medina and Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman preview Lakers-Nuggets game

Much has changed since our last chat with The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman. He no longer has to run 40-yard sprints in 6.71 seconds to track down Carmelo Anthony in the latest saga of Melodrama. He's actually seen the Nuggets play defense, playing good enough to set up a first-round matchup as a fifth seed against Oklahoma City. And, of course, the Lakers are playing much better as well, going 17-1 since the All-Star break and entering Sunday's matchup with the Nuggets with a season-best nine-game winning streak.

Among the highlights with my conversation with Hochman:

--How the Nuggets have changed since they traded Anthony to the Knicks and how Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari

--Why Hochman believes the Nuggets could beat the Thunder in the first-round

--How the Nuggets are in a balancing act in resting Aaron Affalo's strained left hamstring for the playoffs, but ensuring they keep a lead over Portland in the standings.

--Why the Nuggets playing tough against the Lakers would be needed for an upset

--How Hochman fared against NBA.com's Aaron Lopez in a race.

--You can follow more of Hochman's work at the Denver Post's website and on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

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