Notebook: Lakers 122, Nuggets 103



Posted Dec 1, 2012 2:02 AM

By Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Lakers found their rhythm Friday night, played at a pace coach Mike D'Antoni envisioned when he was hired three weeks ago and received contributions from much more than just Kobe Bryant. All that and a franchise-record tying 17 3-pointers added up to an impressive 122-103 victory against the visiting Nuggets at Staples Center.

THE STAT: After getting just five points from their bench and 40 from Bryant in a 79-77 loss Tuesday against visiting Indiana, the Lakers received 61 points from their reserves against Denver and 14 from Bryant. Antawn Jamison scored a season-high 33 points and Jodie Meeks tied his career high with seven 3-pointers en route to scoring a season-high 21. The last time an L.A. reserve scored at least 30 points and two had at least 20 was in 1998.

QUOTABLE: "Give me some minutes and I can make things happen." -- Antawn Jamison.

TURNING POINT: After trailing by as many as 14 points during the first half, Denver closed to seven on a basket by Kenneth Faried with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter. After starting point guard Darius Morris missed a driving layup and Pau Gasol couldn't put away his tip shot, D'Antoni subbed Jamison for Gasol and Chris Duhon for Morris. Jamison responded by scoring 10 points in the final five minutes of the quarter and Duhon had five to push the lead to 15 heading into the fourth. The Nuggets never got back within single digits.

HOT: Meeks, acquired from the 76ers over the summer because of his ability to hit 3-pointers, was 5 for 22 from beyond the arc through his first nine appearances. He made up for lost time the last five games, shooting 15-for-27 from 3-point range, including 7 for 8 against the Nuggets. Jamison wasn't bad either, shooting 13-for-19 in the game, including 5 for 10 from long range.

NOT: After a torrid start to the season, Bryant appears to be settling back down to earth. He shot 5-for-15 against the Nuggets, putting him at 17 for 43 the last two games (39.5 percent). Prior to that stretch, he was shooting 52.1 percent through the first 14 games. He never shot better than 47 percent from the floor in any of his previous 16 seasons.

GOOD MOVE: D'Antoni replaced Gasol with Jamison midway through the first quarter as well. That helped space the floor and gave Lakers center Dwight Howard more room to work in the post. He responded by scoring 16 of his 28 points in the opening quarter. Gasol was then able to start the second quarter at center and give the second unit some added punch and playmaking abilities. Gasol finished with six points, seven rebounds and tied Bryant and Duhon with a team-high eight assists.

BAD MOVE: In the closing minutes of the first half, Gasol turned the ball over in the offensive end and Andre Iguodala sped off on a breakaway. He rose for an uncontested dunk but slammed the ball off the back of the rim instead. Fortunately for the Nuggets, none of the Lakers trailed Iguodala on the play and he was able to retrieve the basketball near the free-throw line. The Lakers fouled Iguodala before he could get off another shot. He went to the line, where he made one of two to trim the deficit to 61-53.

QUOTABLE II: "They can spread the floor, they're smart. ... They're not so bad defensively because you have Dwight in the back." -- D'Antoni on Jamison and Meeks.

NOTABLE: The Lakers came into the game 2-7 this season Bryant scored less than 25 points...The Lakers haven't allowed a 25-point scorer in the last 14 games, which is the longest streak in franchise history in the post-shot clock era. ... Howard made a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the game, improving to 2-for-34 in his career from that range. The basket also tied the franchise record for most 3-pointers in a game. Howard's other 3 came during the 2006-07 season

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Sunday vs. Orlando, Tuesday @ Houston, Wednesday @ New Orleans. For the Nuggets, Monday vs. Toronto, Wednesday @ Atlanta, Friday @ Indiana.