Notebook: Nuggets 126, Lakers 114



Posted Dec 27, 2012 1:20 AM

By Michael Kelly, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Corey Brewer came off the bench to tie a career high with 27 points, Kenneth Faried had 21 points and 15 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets outlasted another prolific night from Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 126-114 on Wednesday night.

Bryant had 40 points to extend his streak of 30-plus games to 10, but it was wasted as the Lakers lost for the first time in six games. The Lakers relied on Bryant's scoring while Denver used a balanced approach. Six players scored in double figures for the Nuggets (16-14), including Andre Iguodala, who had 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

The Lakers (14-15), meanwhile, played the last 17 minutes without center Dwight Howard, who was ejected for a Flagrant 2 midway through the third quarter.

QUOTABLE: "Tonight it seemed like we were just a step slow, seemed like we were stuck in mud. We played old. They played with a lot of energy, a lot of youth, got up and down. It just seemed we were in a lower gear."

-- Kobe Bryant, on the Nuggets' energy

THE STAT: Six days after setting an NBA record by missing all 22 of their 3-point attempts against Portland, the Nuggets were hot from long range. They were 1-for-7 in the first half but were scorching in the second half, going 11-for-15 to finish with a season-high 12.

TURNING POINT: The Lakers had cut a 15-point lead to seven with 4:38 when Metta World Peace grabbed a long rebound and headed downcourt. He missed a layup that would have made it a five-point game, and Danilo Gallinari drained a 3-pointer to give Denver more breathing room.

QUOTABLE II: "You can't just keep coming back. You can't just keep letting them score. For whatever reason, they just had more legs. Whether they're younger or faster, I don't know, but we couldn't keep them in front of us."

-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

HOT: Brewer found his 3-point touch in the second half, going 6-for-7 from long range. And the one he missed the Nuggets rebounded, fed him in the corner and he drained another 3.

QUOTABLE III: "It's one of those nights when the shots start going down -- the basket gets big."

-- Corey Brewer

NOT: After scoring in double figures in five straight games and seven out of the last eight, Jodie Meeks has struggled for points the past two games. He was 1-for-6 from the field for three points on Christmas Day and finished 2-for-11 against the Nugget and had seven points.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Bryant is the NBA leading scorer and he doesn't appear to be relinquishing the lead anytime soon after his 10th straight 30-point game. He had 15 at half and 26 after three quarters.

GOOD MOVE: The Nuggets' defense on Howard was far better than the effort from four weeks ago when he had 28 points and 20 rebounds. Kosta Koufas had four fouls trying to keep him in check but it was a good use of fouls. Howard was 4-for-9 from the line and had just 12 points and seven rebounds before being tossed.

BAD MOVE: With the shorter Faried working inside without fear, the frustration appeared to get to Howard. On a drive to the bucket with 5:02 left in the third the Lakers center laid hard foul on Faried, sending him to the floor and Howard to the locker room. He was called for a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected.

QUOTABLE IV: "I think it was a little bit of frustration. He saw my eyes. I wasn't going to back down, I wasn't going to try to float it, I was going to try to dunk on him. He saw it, that's why he put his hand directly in my face. That's when I say, 'Dang, I wish I would have jumped higher.'"

-- Kenneth Faried

QUOTABLE V: "I was going for the ball and he kept going up so, obviously, when you miss the ball and you hit a part of somebody else's body and they foul it's going to look extremely bad. I was surprised it was a Flagrant 2. I could see it being a flagrant foul because it was a pretty hard foul, but for me to get ejected from the game, I don't think it was called for."

-- Dwight Howard

NOTABLE: Bryant's streak of 30-plus scoring games marks the third time in his career he has had such a streak. Michael Jordan and Bryant are the only players in NBA history to do so. Bryant's longest streak of consecutive 30-point games is 16 games, set Jan. 29-Feb. 28, 2003. ... Ty Lawson had 17 points, 14 assists and no turnovers. He is the first Nuggets to have at least 14 assists and no turnovers since Nick Van Exel did it on Jan. 24, 2002.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. Portland, Tuesday vs. Philadelphia, Fri., Jan. 4, @ Clippers. For the Nuggets, Friday @ Dallas, Saturday @ Memphis, Tuesday vs. Clippers.