NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Denver
(Thursday, March 15th)
Final Score: Denver 113, LA Lakers 86
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Linas Kleiza scored a career-high 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting as the Denver Nuggets sent the Los Angeles Lakers to their seventh straight defeat, 113-86 at the Pepsi Center.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 26 points and eight rebounds and Allen Iverson had 14 points and 13 assists for Denver, which has won three straight and six of its last nine games. Steve Blake added 15 points and Marcus Camby had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Nuggets, who shot 53.9 percent, including a season high 67 percent (10-of-15) from three point range.
"I thought on both ends of the court we were the better team and when that happens you're going to win a lot of games," said Denver coach George Karl. "There was a commitment tonight. The Lakers are a good team. It was a good win."
Kobe Bryant registered 25 points and nine assists for the Lakers, who have lost 13 of their last 16 games.
Luke Walton and Lamar Odom returned to the lineup for the Lakers, who played their first game since head coach Phil Jackson was fined $50,000 for his public criticisms of the NBA. Jackson claimed a "witch hunt" was going on against Bryant by the league. The superstar was the recent recipient of a pair of one-game suspensions for hitting players in the face.
On Thursday, Jackson was dealt a seventh straight loss for the first time in his 16-year NBA coaching career.
The Nuggets took control of the game with a 17-4 run midway through the third quarter, which opened an 80-66 lead with just under three minutes left in the session.
Anthony scored 10 points in the third and Denver led 87-72 heading into the final quarter.
Denver opened the fourth quarter with a Kleiza three followed by a Camby alley-oop dunk, giving the Nuggets a 94-74 advantage with 9:55 left to play.
The game was never in doubt thereafter as the Nuggets extended the lead to 25 when Iverson found Anthony for an alley-oop slam with 3:21 left in the game.
Denver outscored Los Angeles 62-35 in the second half and is now tied in the sixth spot with the Lakers in the Western Conference playoff chase.
"I was disappointed with how we played in the second half," said Jackson. "They played better defense and started hitting shots on us."
A Walton three followed by an Odom jumper put Los Angeles ahead, 13-6, with eight minutes to go in the first quarter.
Denver fought back and took the lead, 25-24 on Anthony's dunk with two minutes left in the period but two Bryant free throws with three seconds left gave the Lakers a 31-30 edge after one frame.
The Nuggets went cold early in the second and the Lakers took a 47-36 lead on Odom's tip-in with just over four minutes to go in the stanza. The Nuggets answered with a 15-4 spurt, tying the game at 51-51 heading into the locker rooms.
Odom hadn't played since tearing the labrum in his left shoulder on March 2 and Walton had been out of the lineup since spraining his right ankle Jan. 26...Denver outrebounded LA, 41-36...The Lakers shot just 3-of-22 from three- point range.
03/16 02:11:05 ET