NBA Game Summary - Denver at LA Lakers
(Thursday, November 29th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 127, Denver 99
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 24 points on the night that Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson received a two-year contract extension, as the Lakers exploded in the second half and torched the Denver Nuggets, 127-99, at Staples Center.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the deal is worth nearly $12 million per season and will keep him as the highest paid coach in basketball.
Sasha Vujacic scored a career-high 22 points for the Lakers, who have won two straight on the heels of a three-game slide. Andrew Bynum tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds while Luke Walton scored 14 points and Lamar Odom added 12 in the win. The Lakers also received 10 points from both Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher.
Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points before his fourth-quarter ejection and Allen Iverson added 21 points and six assists for the struggling Nuggets, who have dropped three straight and four of their last five games overall. Linas Kleiza added 15 points while J.R. Smith and Marcus Camby both tallied 11 in the loss.
At the start of the third quarter, the Lakers trailed by two but used a four- minute, 13-0 run and worked their way ahead of the visitors. Consecutive three-pointers by Odom and Walton and a Bynum layup, all of which followed Odom's layup and a free throw by Bynum, put the Lakers ahead 66-57 before a floater in the lane by Fisher capped LA's 13-0 run.
"I've been playing for 12 years, and I've seen all kinds of stuff -- anything can happen in this game," said Bryant. "The message is to continue to play hard (despite any deficit) because you can find yourself back into the game."
In the closing seconds of the third, a driving layup by Iverson brought the visitors within six, 81-75, and capped a 7-0 spurt that closed the scoring before the final frame.
Smith's bucket from inside the paint began the fourth and cut the Denver deficit to four, but that was as close as the Nuggets would get. The Lakers then embarked on a 17-4 run that put the game out of reach. The uprising included a triple from Farmar, another from Walton, and a nice reverse lay-in from underneath by Vujacic before Ronny Turiaf's pair from the stripe capped the burst and gave the Lakers a 98-81 advantage with just over eight minutes to play in regulation.
The Nuggets were frustrated and it showed in the form of Anthony's actions. Later in the fourth, Vujacic held the ball on the left side and beat Anthony off the dribble down the base line. On his way to what would have been an easy basket, Vujacic was grabbed around the neck by Anthony and thrown to the ground. The flagrant foul pushed Anthony to the locker room.
All told, the Lakers scored 46 points in the fourth quarter alone and outscored Denver 72-42 over the final two quarters combined.
The teams played a tightly-contested first half and LA went into the locker room with a two-point deficit, 57-55, after Bryant's running 20-footer at the halftime buzzer. The Lakers trailed after the first quarter 33-21, but outscored the Nuggets by 10, 34-24, in the second to get back into the game. In that second stanza, a dunk by Odom, a three-pointer by Fisher and a Bynum hook shot brought the Lakers back during an 11-3 spurt. At one juncture of the first half, the Nuggets held a 17-point lead.
"You're up by 17 and you don't expect it to get out of hand like that, but it did," Iverson said. "When you're playing against an NBA team, it's all about runs. We made our run and they made their run back at us."
Denver forward Kenyon Martin, who is suffering from a bone bruise in his right tibia, scored only two points and added six points in nearly 22 minutes of action...Denver fell to 3-5 on the road this season and has dropped 19 of its last 21 at the Lakers...Fisher notched his 7,000th career point in the game...The Lakers shot 50.5 percent (48-of-95) from the floor overall, while the Nuggets made good on 40-of-90 field goal attempts (44.4 percent)...The Lakers won the battle on the glass, 52-41.
11/30 02:09:31 ET