NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Denver
(Friday, February 27th)
Final Score: Denver 90, LA Lakers 79
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups logged 22 points and handed out six assists en route to orchestrating Denver's 90-79 victory over the Lakers, snapping Los Angeles' six-game winning streak in a battle of division leaders.
Carmelo Anthony recorded 12 points and 12 rebounds, while reserves J.R. Smith and Chris Andersen played quality minutes for the Nuggets, who have won back- to-back games on the heels of a season-long three-game skid.
Smith notched 22 points and Andersen scored 11 to go with 12 rebounds for Denver, which got an eight-point, seven-rebound effort from Nene after the center missed two straight games with a right knee contusion.
Kobe Bryant shot a mediocre 10-of-31 from the field, finishing with 29 points for the Lakers, who shot a woeful 29.8 percent from the field. Pau Gasol added 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Lamar Odom continued his solid play with 12 points and 19 boards in the setback.
"Our defense was really awesome," said Billups. "We focused in on that and talked a lot about that."
Anderson opened the final quarter with a pair of buckets and Linas Kleiza tipped in an Anthony miss for a 72-63 lead two minutes in.
After the Lakers' sixth straight miss to start the quarter, Smith added two free throws for an 11-point lead. Bryant scored LA's next six points, but Smith drilled a deep jumper for an 80-69 score with less than five minutes to play.
"We're strong, mentally a lot stronger than we showed today," said Odom. "That's probably the part that hurts the most: we showed a sign of weakness and that will never happen again."
Odom's three-point play on the next possession gave the visitors a breathe of life. Gasol tipped in an Odom miss with 3 1/2 minutes on the clock to cut the deficit to 81-74 following a Smith free throw.
Anderson pulled down a big defensive board for Denver a little later, and subsequently hit 1-of-2 from the foul line for an eight-point lead.
Odom then cleaned up his own miss with a tip-in, but the Lakers missed their next six shots, as the Nuggets cleaned up on the glass and continued to get to the line, where they hit 6-of-8 in the waning minutes to secure their signature win of the season.
The Lakers held a 19-16 advantage after an offense-starved opening quarter. Denver proceeded to wake up in the second, scoring the first 13 points of the frame, eventually taking a 46-40 edge into halftime.
The Nuggets made just one field goal in the first six minutes of the second half, as LA jumped out to a 55-50 lead on Derek Fisher's three-pointer with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the stanza.
Billups tied the game with a bucket and a three-pointer roughly two minutes later and nailed another from behind the arc late in the frame that resulted in a 66-63 advantage with one quarter remaining.
The Pacific-leading Lakers had won five straight regular season games over the Nuggets, who currently sit atop the Northwest Division...Neither team shot the ball well from three-point range, with LA hitting 2-of-21 and Denver making just 3-of-21 from downtown.
02/28 02:18:10 ET