Notebook: Nuggets 112, Lakers 105



Posted Jan 7, 2013 1:21 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Lakers no longer possess the intimidation factor when visiting teams arrive at Staples Center, even with the 16 championship banners hanging from the rafters. Denver certainly wasn't in awe of L.A. on Sunday night, running the hosts ragged while handing them their eighth loss at home this season, 112-105.

QUOTABLE: "it's a great win for us but I'm not going to get overinflated. I told the team before the game I don't remember the last time we won in here in the regular season."

-- Denver coach George Karl

THE STAT: Opposing teams continue to beat the Lakers at their own game, or at least the way coach Mike D'Antoni would like to see them play. Denver reeled off 25 fast-break points, making 11 of 12 shots on the attack. Anytime L.A. missed a shot, and sometimes when they made the basket, Denver was off to the races.

TURNING POINT: After the Lakers trimmed a 10-point deficit with 6:11 remaining to three on a 3-pointer by Kobe Bryant with 36 seconds left, Dwight Howard blocked Andre Miller's short jumper in the lane. The ball went straight to Denver forward Danilo Gallinari in front of the Lakers bench, however, and he drained his third 3-pointer of the game to give the Nuggets a 108-102 lead with 13.8 seconds on the clock.

HOT: The only player for Denver that shot better than 50 percent from the floor was back-up center JaVale McGee, who finished with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Howard finished with 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting and matched his career high by grabbing 26 rebounds. He had a double-double with seven minutes still remaining in the first half. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Howard re-aggravated an injury to his right shoulder that first occurred Friday night against the Clippers and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

NOT: The Lakers shot 57.9 percent from floor in the opening quarter and Denver missed its first nine field-goal attempts, but L.A. still trailed by eight entering the second. The Nuggets got the lead by playing turnover-free ball in the opening 12 minutes and scoring 13 points in final 2:05.

QUOTABLE II: "It's a little perplexing. It's not an easy thing."

-- D'Antoni on the Lakers' struggles

GOOD MOVE: Before the blocked shot that landed in the hands of Gallinari for the back-breaking basket, Howard had another good deed go bad. He blocked Ty Lawson's shot with 2:03 remaining and the Lakers trailing by four, secured the basketball and then tried to make an outlet pass up the middle of the floor. McGee snagged the pass, however, passed it to Miller and he sank the 14-footer to put the Nuggets back up by six points.

QUOTABLE III: "I thought as the game went on we got better defensively and that was a great win for our guys."

-- George Karl

BAD MOVE: D'Antoni kept saying things would get better once veteran point guard Steve Nash returned from a fractured lower leg that caused him to sit out 24 of the first 26 games. Nash was anything but a savior against Denver, finishing with 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting, 13 assists and a season-high five turnovers. He committed three turnovers in the first 1:24 of the second half and then was called for a technical foul 14 seconds later. Meanwhile, Miller and Lawson were accumulating 10 assists each with just one turnover between them. D'Antoni made the interesting decision to sit back-up point guard Darius Morris for just the second time in the 23 games since he took over as coach, opting to spell Nash with the much slower Chris Duhon.

NOTABLE: Nash needs five assists to reach 10,000 for his career. ... Lakers forward Pau Gasol was hit in the nose and exited the game with 1:05 remaining. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds. ... Two of Howard's 20-rebound games this season have come against Denver, but the Lakers are 1-2 when he hits that mark. ... Gallinari entered the game 18-for-35 from 3-point range in the last six games. He shot 3-for-10. ... Twelve of Denver's next 14 games are at home.


UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Tuesday @ Houston, Wednesday @ San Antonio, Friday vs. Oklahoma City. For the Nuggets, Wednesday vs. Orlando, Friday vs. Cleveland, Sunday vs. Golden State.