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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Denver Nuggets 30 25 17 27 99
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 14 25 26 19 84
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Lawson scores 25 as Nuggets beat Lakers 99-84

By ARNIE STAPLETON


Posted May 04 2012 10:32PM

DENVER (AP) Ty Lawson scored 25 points and the Denver Nuggets raced to an early 24-point lead on their way to a 99-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night in Game 3 of their first-round series.

JaVale McGee had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who will try to even the best-of-seven series at two games each on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center.

Playing with an energy and enthusiasm that had been missing in the playoffs, the Nuggets grabbed a 55-39 halftime lead by stifling Andrew Bynum down low and forcing Kobe Bryant to work harder for his baskets.

Although both Bynum and Bryant got it going after halftime and the Lakers cut their deficit to four points in the third quarter, the hole was too big to climb out of.

Bynum's putback with 1:18 left in the third quarter not only pulled the Lakers to 68-64 but his inadvertent elbow on the play broke Al Harrington's nose. He didn't return, but the Nuggets went on a 12-5 run to regain their composure and control of the game.

Bryant finished with 22 points on 7-of-23 shooting after scoring 31 and 38 points in L.A.'s two wins at the Staples Center, and Bynum had 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Kenneth Faried had a double-double for Denver, scoring 12 points and pulling down 15 rebounds as the Nuggets outrebounded the Lakers 55-44. Denver's bench outscored the Lakers' reserves 39-9.

The Lakers never trailed in their two wins in Los Angeles, but once Danilo Gallinari's reverse layup with 8:07 left in first quarter gave Denver its first lead of the series, the Nuggets looked unstoppable.

"It's been tiring always having to come from a hole and having to dig out of a hole, and the energy of the game becomes fatiguing mentally," Nuggets coach George Karl said before tipoff.

Finally, it was the Lakers doing the chasing.

The Nuggets used a 28-2 run spanning the first and second quarters to take a stunning 38-14 lead.

Lawson scored 13 of the Nuggets' points as they scored 20 of the final 22 points of the first quarter, then teamed with Corey Brewer and Harrington on a trio of 3-pointers to stretch Denver's lead to 41-17.

The Lakers, however, replied with a 14-2 run. Los Angeles cut the deficit to single digits in the third quarter.

Bynum's second three-point play made it 67-60, and when his next shot was blocked, Ramon Sessions grabbed the deflection and swished a short jumper to make it a five-point game.

Karl started Timofey Mozgov at center in place of Kosta Koufos to try to be more physical with Bynum from the start, and it worked. The rotation of big men, including McGee, helped limit Bynum to just five rebounds and no points in the first half.

Lakers coach Mike Brown said before the game that it was his desire to win this series as soon as possible and not ease up on the pedal so as to burn more of Metta World Peace's suspension before the second round of the playoffs.

World Peace must miss three more games for the elbow he delivered to James Harden's head in a game against Oklahoma City last month.

The Nuggets made sure that wasn't an issue. They can knot things up in 48 hours.

Notes: Brown said he expects World Peace to be rested, not rusty when his suspension is over: "He's working hard. He's engaged. I think he'll be fine. Obviously, you never know, but he's working his tail off and he is engaged and that's all you can ask for during this period." ... The Lakers have only squandered one 2-0 series lead, losing to the Phoenix Suns in 1993.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets Tuesday, May 4th at the Pepsi Center at 7:30PM. Catch all the action on KCAL, ESPN, or 710ESPN.



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Points Bryant 22, 7-23
Rebounds Bynum 12, 4 OFF 8 DEF
Assists Bryant/Sessions 6
Steals Blake 1
Blocks Gasol 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

How the Denver Nuggets won the game:
“Denver played a great game. I thought Ty Lawson came out being very aggressive. We’ve been talking to our guys about him coming out and being aggressive the couple of days. I thought he was very impactful to start the game to help them get out by however many they got out. I thought that Denver’s two bigs, [Kenneth] Faried and [JaVale] McGee brought a lot of energy to the table for their team. The 12 offensive rebounds for the two, the 30 total overall. Plus the double-double in points with them also bringing 28 points to the table between the two was a very, very good game for those guys. I thought we did a nice job of fighting back into the lead with a couple of chances to get it close enough to get a couple of buckets to where we could have taken the lead. Those two guys, their energy, whether it was an offensive rebound, or giving it to McGee in the post and have him making a spin move and scoring. Their energy was really big for them. If you look at the number of field goal attempts we had, 78 compared to their 93, that had to do with them getting 19 offensive rebounds and 15 turnovers to their seven. The possession game was won by the Nuggets because of those two.”




Andrew Bynum:

On his first half:
“It was crazy, it was tough. I missed a few bunnies, I didn’t get very many looks but I was ready for those looks anyway. I was able to come back in the second half and play strong. I wasn’t ready to play. That’s pretty much it, I wasn’t ready to play.”

On how disappointed he was:
“They played desperate and we didn’t so that’s how they got off to that good start.”

On his better second half:
“I just got aggressive. I got angry. I played a little better.”

On JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried:
“Faried got a bunch of rebounds, a lot of offensive boards. JaVale made some shots so it got him going. Faried is really athletic so that’s the game he kind of has to play. Some guys have those types of bunnies and those types of quick’s. Not everybody can do that. That’s his niche.”




Kobe Bryant:

On if he was disappointed in the way they played the first half:
“I felt like they played really well. They executed extremely well and played with a lot of intensity. For us, it was a good learning experience for our young guys. I’m proud of the way we battled back into it. We just didn’t seem to get over the hump.”

On the Denver Nuggets young guys playing well in the playoffs:
“They played well. [Ty] Lawson came out and set the pace for them. He got into the lane and they also shot the ball extremely well during that stretch. They were in a zone for a couple of minutes there which really stretched the lead, particularly, at the start of the second period.”

On JaVale McGee’s performance:
“He did what I know he could do; running hooks, big spin moves, great scoop shots with his left hand. Those are things he’s capable of.”

On Andrew Bynum’s slow first half:
“We were kind of joking about it after the game. He had a tough time getting going in the first half but in the second half he came out and was ready to go and had a big second half.”

On the importance of having a good game from Andrew Bynum:
“Everybody has bad halves. A lot of it had to do with defensively they were doubling him all over the place. It wasn’t like it was a lack of aggression. He was trying to make the right plays, they were just double teaming him all over the place. In the second half, I thought we did a much better job freeing him up and he did a better job of being aggressive.”

On why he struggled tonight:
“I wasn’t on my sweet spots. They tried to do some things defensively, they tried to keep me more on the perimeter. I wasn’t in the post a lot. I lived at the elbow the first two games and we got away from that a little bit in the second half. Pau [Gasol] as well, we saw him on the perimeter way too much. We can’t do that, we have to stick to our ground and pound game.”




George Karl:

On why JaVale McGee was so effective:
“The game for us is all about our energy and our enthusiasm. It is not complicated for us. When we play poorly it’s because we don’t play with enough energy, we don’t push the pace and we shoot too many jump shots. We made some three’s in the first half and all of the sudden we thought we could shoot. It’s usually off of penetration that we shoot best and when we are running and falling into good shots and good looks. The intensity and guts of JaVale and Kennet [Faried] and all our bigs. I thought Ty [Lawson] was sensational in the first half, our defense was probably the key to our second half. We had a lot of guys contribute in a lot of ways. It was a fun win for me. I can’t remember a win that I have enjoyed as much as this. I had a little bit of feel that we could get it done and the guys went out and did it impressively.”

On what McGee was doing specifically to find success:
“I think he was working underneath the defense. With all the penetration we put in the game, their big guys are always helping uphill and helping out of position a bit. Pounding the penetration is something Kenneth has given us a lot of help all year long. I thought it was great we sealed the game with Kenneth making the jumper. I thought that was great. The kid has tremendous heart and tremendous confidence for a young player.”




Ty Lawson:

On avoiding getting his shot blocked:
“When we go to the basket, we have to help each other out by rotating and filling the corners so we have an outlet. Most of the time when [Andrew] Bynum blocked our shots we had no outlets so we had to put it up. That was the main thing that I told everybody and coach reiterated it so we just have to help each other out on the opposite end.”

On getting off to a fast start:
“It was huge. Every game we’ve played we’ve been down to the Lakers. We’ve been down big and always trying to fight back. We wanted to make it a point to come out early and see how they did with a deficit and they reacted well to it but we held on.”

On JaVale McGee:
“I told him that he’s really talented and has a lot of potential and he showed it today. From playing defense on Bynum to being tall and long, and also, showed off his offensive package. He can give them a hook, getting offensive rebounds. He’s a big-time player in this league, and I hope he can keep it up for the rest of this series.”

On learning how to win playoff games:
“It’s huge. We dealt with having a big lead. We dealt with them coming back and making it a game. Nobody got nervous so we learned a lot today and it’s probably going to help us out throughout the series.”




Arron Afflalo:

On his defensive assessment of the game:
“I thought our bigs played really well. [Timofey Mozgov] from the start, JaVale [McGee] played great, [Kenneth Faried] played strong. [Danilo Gallinari], Ty [Lawson], Andre [Miller], and those guys were in there digging and helping out. Hopefully it can continue to work.”

On getting game three win to make it a series:
“The key is to get a very, very important one and a win on Sunday to turn it into a three-game series. At some point in time we are going to have to win in LA regardless of the outcome [of series]. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

On emotional value of getting game three win:
“It’s good, it gives the guys a lot of confidence. Nothing like knowing you can win. You can X-and-O and watch video but the feeling of winning is something special in the postseason so hopefully everyone will enjoy and continue to keep pushing for more wins.”

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Nuggets - Lakers Preview

PAT GRAHAM


Speedy point guard Ty Lawson believes more running and better rebounding will get the Denver Nuggets back into their first-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers.

And coach George Karl thinks it boils down to controlling the paint, preventing Lakers center Andrew Bynum from dominating down low.

Or the trick to turning this series around could be something as simple as this: Playing with a lead for once. See, the Nuggets haven't even led for so much as one trip down the floor in falling into a 2-0 hole against the Lakers. That's why the Nuggets are hoping for a fast start in Game 3 on Friday night at Pepsi Center.

They hope to jump out on top and get the boisterous crowd into the action early.

Maybe that will provide a spark.

''We definitely have to have a good start, especially at home and especially against them,'' Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari said.

Denver was blown out in Game 1 as Bynum posted a triple-double with 10 points, 10 blocks and 13 rebounds in a 103-88 rout.

But there was a point in Game 2 when Denver had the Lakers a little nervous. Trailing by as many as 19 in the third quarter, the Nuggets stormed back to make it a game, only to fade at the finish and fall 104-100.

They're trying to use that furious comeback as motivation for Game 3. It's given them confidence in a series where Kobe Bryant and Bynum have been so difficult to defend.

''In the second half, looked like we played with a lot of heart,'' Lawson said. ''Played our game for the first time in the series. If we get that into the game on Friday, then I think we have a good chance of winning.''

The Nuggets' brand of basketball is predicated on speeding up the court. That's not usually a solid recipe for the postseason, when teams tend to run more of a half-court system.

But they'll keep pushing the pace and trying to wear down a Lakers team that doesn't easily exhaust.

''When we do get the ball, just run them, because they're not that fast,'' Lawson said.

Lawson has hardly turned in the type of postseason he would've envisioned. He struggled in the opener - finishing with as many assists (2) as turnovers - before finding his rhythm in the second game with a team-high 25 points.

He insisted he needs to attack more against the Lakers, taking the action right to the big men.

Oh, and help out on the glass when he can.

''That's the big thing,'' Lawson said. ''That's the No. 1 key we need to do - get Bynum off the boards. From us guards, if there's nobody around us, go hit a big. Go get in Bynum's body, bump him, make sure he doesn't get a rebound.''

Easier said than done.

So far, Bynum is having a fantastic series. Bryant, too - but that's to be expected.

Bryant put up a stellar performance in Game 2, scoring 38 points on a rather efficient 15-of-29 shooting.

''He's one of the best,'' Gallinari said. ''When he has those kinds of games, there's not a lot to things you can do.''

Especially when he's this well rested. Bryant missed eight of the last 10 regular-season games and now he looks almost fresher on the floor.

''I thought the break was good for him, because I had been playing him a lot of minutes, too, probably more than you want,'' Lakers coach Mike Brown said. ''When you have the luxury of a guy like Kobe, you might ask him to do a bit more than you'd like, so it was good for him to sit out a few games and get his body back to where it was. It was a good thing for him.''

The player flying under the radar is Pau Gasol, a versatile center who has Karl quite concerned. Gasol has been doing a little bit of everything for the Lakers.

''The numbers say Bynum and Kobe are killing us. I might vote for saying, get Gasol off the court,'' Karl said, grinning. ''His decisions and feel for the game are contagious.''

Bryant couldn't agree more.

''Pau has always been willing to do anything for victory for us,'' Bryant said. ''We're fortunate to have him here, because he's a rare breed, a guy who doesn't really demand the ball all the time. So it allows me and Andrew to do what we do, and he's still able to be very effective in what he does anyway. He has a huge impact on the team.''

With his team against the wall, Karl was asked if he thought they could climb their way back into the series.

''If you followed us all year long, every time everybody thought the worst was going to happen, it never happened,'' Karl said. ''Yeah, I believe in them and I trust in them. We're not this consistent, perfect team. We have to do some things to make our motor go, but when it goes, it's pretty good. I think it's going to go on Friday night.''

The Lakers are certainly preparing for just that.

''They're great at home, so we've got to try to control the tempo for 48 minutes and not let them get up and down the court like they want to do,'' Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions said. ''They're definitely going to come out with a sense of urgency, because at this time of the year, it's win or go home.''

5/01/12
W LAL 104, DEN 100
4/29/12
W LAL 103, DEN 88
4/26/12
L SAC 113, LAL 96
4/22/12
W LAL 114, OKC 106
4/20/12
L SAS 121, LAL 97
Probable Starters
Lakers
#3 Ebanks SF #8 Gallinari
#16 Gasol PF #35 Faried
#17 Bynum C #41 Koufos
#24 Bryant SG #6 Afflalo
#7 Sessions PG #3 Lawson
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Lakers Matt Barnes
(sprained right ankle) is day-to-day.
Devin Ebanks
(middle & ring finger contusions, left hand) is probable.
Ramon Sessions
(sprained left shoulder - ac joint) is probable.
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Al Harrington
(right knee strain) is probable.
Wilson Chandler
(left hip, labral tear) is out.
Rudy Fernandez
(lower back strain) is out.
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PLAYOFF SERIES
Game 1: 4/29 - DEN @ LAL W 103-88
Game 2: 5/01 - DEN @ LAL W 104-100
Game 3: 5/04 - LAL @ DEN
Game 4: 5/06 - LAL @ DEN
* Game 5: 5/08 - DEN @ LAL
* Game 6: 5/10 - LAL @ DEN
* Game 7: 5/12 - DEN @ LAL
REGULAR SEASON
Game 1: 12/31 - DEN @ LAL W 92-89
Game 2: 01/01 - LAL @ DEN L 99-90
Game 3: 02/03 - LAL @ DEN W 93-89
Game 4: 04/13 - DEN @ LAL W 103-97
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