NBA Game Summary - Denver at LA Lakers
(Friday, February 5th)
Final Score: Denver 126, LA Lakers 113
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups set a new career-high with 39 points after hitting a career-best nine three-pointers in 13 attempts, as the sharp-shooting Denver Nuggets crushed the Los Angeles Lakers, 126-113, at Staples Center.
Billups, who found out earlier this week that he would participate in the All- Star Game in place of the injured Chris Paul, tied the franchise record for most three-pointers in a game, as the Nuggets won for the 11th time in 13 games despite the fact that Carmelo Anthony sat out for the seventh consecutive contest.
Denver went 15-of-22 from three-point range as a team in the game, falling just one triple shy of the team record for a single game. Five of those makes came from Billups in the third quarter, when he had 21 points to fall two points shy for most points by a Lakers opponent in a single quarter.
J.R. Smith added 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting for the Nuggets, who have won both games against the Lakers this season after falling to them in last year's Western Conference finals. Ty Lawson contributed 13 points, while Kenyon Martin had 11 points and 12 boards in the win.
"You have to always been confident," Billups said. "We're 2-0 in the season against them, but they're still the best in the conference. I got some good looks, and they gave me space. What makes me happy was that J.R. got hot. I'm happy with our guys, the way we played with our best player not out there."
Kobe Bryant had 15 points in the first seven minutes of the game and finished with 33 for the Lakers, who lost for just the fourth time in 28 home games this season. Pau Gasol recorded 17 points and 17 rebounds, but Los Angeles shot just 44.9 percent overall and 8-of-26 from three-point range in defeat.
Denver trailed by five at halftime, but Billups exploded for five three- pointers and 21 points in the third quarter to put the Nuggets ahead for good.
The visitors actually went the first three minutes of the period without a point, and an Artest basket had the Lakers ahead, 68-59.
But that's when Billups got hot, scoring the game's next six points in a minute to make it a three-point game.
Gasol's layup kept Los Angeles ahead by eight with four minutes remaining, but Billups responded with a trey on each of the Nuggets' next four possessions, as the last one fell for an 87-85 advantage with just under two minutes to go.
J.R. Smith's pair of free throws in the waning seconds of the quarter had Denver ahead, 94-89, heading into the fourth.
"(Denver) put a rush on us in the third quarter," said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. "Chauncey hitting threes changed the game. I'm not going to berate my team. I'm just glad it didn't happen in a playoff game."
The Nuggets then opened the final quarter on an 8-2 burst, as a pair of Lawson free throws made it a 102-91 game. The Lakers never recovered; Smith's deep jumper with 5:19 left increased Denver's lead to 13, and Los Angeles didn't get closer than seven the rest of the way.
Bryant had 15 points in the first six-plus minutes of the game, and his third three-pointer of the contest had the Lakers ahead, 24-13, with just over five minutes left in the first quarter.
Denver went on an 11-0 burst late in the period, aided by five points from Billups, and the score was 30-30 after 12 minutes of play.
Los Angeles got off to another quick start in the second, as Bryant drilled another long distance shot for a 43-36 edge three minutes into the quarter.
Chris Andersen's three-point play and Lawson's jumper had Denver within 49-47 a short time later, and the Nuggets took a 57-53 lead when Arron Afflalo capped a 10-0 run with a trey with three minutes to go.
The Lakers, though, finished the first half on an 11-2 burst, and Gasol's basket in the final seconds accounted for LA's 64-59 halftime edge.
The Lakers allowed a season-high in points...Los Angeles is still 21-3 at home against the Nuggets since drafting Bryant in 1996...Anthony has missed 12 of the team's last 18 games with an ankle injury...Wilt Chamberlain scored 23 points in one quarter against the Lakers in 1966...Denver shot 57.1 percent overall from the field...Andersen had 15 rebounds for the Nuggets...Bryant had nine rebounds.
02/06 01:43:51 ET