Monday , Nov , 07 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe helps Lakers to rout of Nuggets

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant racked up 37 points and Chris
Mihm had 20 along with a game-high 13 rebounds, as the Los Angeles Lakers
posted a 112-92 victory over Denver at the Staples Center.

Lamar Odom also finished with 20 points to help the Lakers top the Nuggets for
the second time in five days. Los Angeles opened its 2005-06 season Wednesday
with a 99-97 overtime win at Denver in Phil Jackson’s return to the bench.

Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and Andre Miller netted 20 for the Nuggets,
who have dropped three of four to start the year. Kenyon Martin recorded 17
points in the loss.

The Lakers led virtually start to finish and overpowered Denver in the post.
Los Angeles outrebounded the Nuggets 46-32 and finished with a commanding
52-30 advantage in points in the paint.

“Offensive rebounds were something we focused on,” said Jackson.

Los Angeles asserted control with a 7-0 first-quarter run that broke an early
tie. Bryant netted the first five points and Kwame Brown capped the burst with
a short jumper to put the Lakers up 17-10 five minutes into the contest.

“I like the energy we started the game with,” Jackson remarked.

Back-to-back baskets by Mihm, who registered 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in
the opening period, extended the lead to 29-18 with under two minutes to go in
the frame. After Marcus Camby scored on the other end, Odom drained a three-
pointer and then sank two foul shots to give the Lakers a 34-20 advantage at
period’s end.

“Our spacing tonight gave me an area to work,” Mihm said. “I saw that the top
of the key was open and I took the shots. I played hard and smart tonight.”

Denver would claw back and pulled within 41-36 on Martin’s three-point play
with just under four minutes to go in the half. However, Bryant fed Smush
Parker for a dunk which ignited a string of six straight Los Angeles points
which pushed the margin back to double-digits. Behind Bryant’s 17 points, the
Lakers would go into the locker room with a 53-44 advantage.

Los Angeles then came out strong to start the second half and appeared to have
the game firmly in hand. The Lakers outscored Denver 9-2 over the first four
minutes of the third quarter and went ahead 62-44 on Brown’s layup at the 8:22
mark.

However, the Nuggets refused to fold and closed within seven points with a 7-0
run capped when Voshon Lenard was fouled after draining a three-pointer and
converted the extra attempt with 47 seconds left in the third. Odom hit two
from the line on the ensuing possession to send Los Angeles into the final 12
minutes with a 78-69 lead.

Miller started the fourth quarter with a layup and free throw to cut the
deficit to six points, but the Lakers countered with a 12-4 spurt ending with
Laron Profit’s three-pointer that staked the hosts to a 90-76 lead with 8:36
remaining.

Los Angeles maintained a double-digit cushion the rest of the way.

Game Notes

The Lakers gave Jackson, who guided the franchise to three world championships
in five seasons before leaving after the 2003-04 season, his first home
victory since coming back to coach the team. Los Angeles lost 122-112 to
Phoenix in its home opener on Thursday…The Lakers have won seven straight
and 17 of their last 18 meetings with Denver in LA…The Nuggets shot just 13
percent (2-of-15) from three-point range.

DEN LAL