Anthony, Nuggets hold off Lakers
Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Carmelo Anthony came through in the clutch with
three free throws, and Kobe Bryant didn’t by missing an off-balance three
to tie in the final seconds, as Denver outlasted the Los Angeles Lakers,
115-111, in a pivotal game for Western Conference playoff position.
The Nuggets staved off a spirited Lakers comeback to win their sixth straight
contest and over 1 1/2 games in front of Los Angeles for sixth place in the
Western Conference. Denver has five games remaining, while the Lakers have
four left on the slate.
Trailing 93-82 entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers stormed back and
eventually seized a 105-104 lead after Bryant drew a double team and dished it
off to Brian Cook for the go-ahead three-pointer with 4:20 to play.
Cook was one of five Lakers in double figures with 10 points. Bryant scored a
team-high 23 points, but needed 30 shots with only nine conversions. Luke
Walton added 19 points, Lamar Odom battled foul trouble for 18 points and
Andrew Bynum recorded 16 points for the Lakers, who have dropped four of five
and six of eight.
Steve Blake drained a three moments after Cook’s make to push Denver back in
front, but Ronny Turiaf converted an easy slam and Odom’s free throw made the
score 108-107 in favor of Los Angeles.
Denver didn’t make a field goal in the final two minutes, rather winning the
contest from the charity stripe. Nene drained a pair then Allen Iverson made
1-of-2 before Bryant brought the Lakers within 110-109 with one free throw.
Nene made another free throw with 49 ticks left, but Cook missed a shot from
in close. Anthony couldn’t ice the game, making just 1-of-2 from the line
followed by a pair of free throws from Bryant that again made it a one-point
game, 112-111, with eight seconds left.
Anthony, who scored 33 points and finished 14-of-16 from the charity stripe,
buried two free throws with seven seconds left before the Lakers called a
Bryant came off a screen and eventually received the ball on the deep left
wing, but missed a one-footed, off-balance jumper off the rim. Marcus Camby,
who recorded 22 rebounds with seven blocks, grabbed his final board and
made 1-of-2 from the line with two seconds left to seal the victory.
Iverson scored 24 points, Linas Kleiza added 17 points and Eduardo Najera
recorded 14 points with nine rebounds in the win.
The Lakers tallied the game’s first six points, but Anthony’s three pushed the
Nuggets in front 14-11 and they never looked back in the first quarter,
leading 32-23 at the end of the stanza.
Najera’s jumper in the lane gave Denver its biggest lead at 50-35 with 6:09
left in the second quarter. The Lakers cut the deficit to 65-58 by halftime.
Camby tied his season high in blocks. He swatted seven shots on March 13, 2007
versus Portland…Denver held a 49-39 edge on the glass…Bryant finished with
10 assists…The Nuggets won their third straight in the series and third in a
row over the Lakers at the Pepsi Center…The Lakers fell to 16-23 on the
road, while Denver improved to 22-18 at home.