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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 29 25 29 25 108
Play by Play Denver Nuggets 35 32 28 24 119
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Lakers vs. Nuggets
Howard Stops Faried
Block of the Night
Nightly Notable: Kobe Bryant

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Chandler leads Nuggets past Lakers, 119-108

By ARNIE STAPLETON


Posted Feb 25 2013 11:37PM

DENVER (AP) Wilson Chandler scored 23 points in place of an injured Danilo Gallinari, and Ty Lawson added 22 in the Denver Nuggets' 119-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

Gallinari, the Nuggets' leading scorer, sat out with a bruised left thigh. He wasn't needed as the Nuggets won their ninth straight game at home, snapped the Lakers' four-game winning streak and took the season series from their long-time nemesis 3-1.

The Lakers, who were shut out on the offensive glass in the first half, wanted to slow down the Nuggets but Denver outscored Los Angeles 33-3 in fast-break points.

Gallinari, who got hurt Friday night at Washington and was limited the next night at Charlotte, was an unexpected late scratch. Averaging 16.9 points, he had scored at least 19 in each of Denver's first three games against the Lakers.

Chandler started in his place and Corey Brewer got extended minutes, too, finishing with 16 points.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 29 points, and Dwight Howard added 15 points and 14 boards but missed 11 of his last 12 free throws.

The Lakers trimmed an 18-point, second-half deficit to 106-99 on Bryant's fadeaway jumper with five minutes left but couldn't get any closer.

Nuggets coach George Karl said before the game that he was expecting Gallinari to start. He also said that Bryant was playing as well as ever for the resurgent Lakers, who are fighting for a playoff spot after a slow start, a rash of injuries and a coaching change.

"He told me when they beat us last year in the playoffs that he was getting old. He was lying, man. He looks healthier and younger now than he did last year," Karl said. "And the shots he's making are just a coach's nightmare."

Bryant finally found his shooting touch Monday night but started out cold and was hounded by JaVale McGee. He missed 6 of 7 shots in the first quarter, with one of McGee's blocks leading to a fast-break bucket by Brewer as the Nuggets started to separate themselves barely 10 minutes into the game.

Bryant hit his first four shots in the second quarter, but again McGee's big block led to a fast-break basket, this one by Lawson as the Nuggets took a 67-54 lead at the half.

A flustered Bryant picked up a technical foul on his way to the locker room.

The Nuggets stretched their lead to 18 points in the third quarter before the Lakers cut it to 95-83 heading into the final 12 minutes.

Karl also praised Bryant's teammates, saying the Lakers, no matter their record, still represent a measuring stick for his young lineup.

"The Lakers are the greatest NBA basketball team in our lifetimes and they're great players, so I think it's pretty easy to get motivated for this game," Karl said. "I had butterflies real early. I wish the game had started quicker."

Notes: The Nuggets are 24-3 at the Pepsi Center, including a 126-114 win over the Lakers on Dec. 26. ... The Lakers had won 11 of 14. ... There were three technical fouls called in the first 4 1/2 minutes. ... Lawson extended his career-best streak of 20-point games to seven.

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


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View More Photos
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Points Bryant, 29
Rebounds Howard, 14
Assists Iguodala (DEN), 12
Steals World Peace and Faried (DEN), 3
Blocks Howard and McGee (DEN), 4
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the loss:
“Different phases of the game, we didn’t come out with our legs. We didn’t get back. They are very good at being athletic and they got their hands on a lot of our passes because we tried to force the ball inside. That was the start of the game and then in the second half we got it under control and we were shooting at a very high percentage and limited their fast-break points. We missed 17 free throws though; you can’t go 14 of 31 on the road against a good team.”

On facing Denver:
“They are good and they spread you out. Wilson Chandler had a good game so you have to give him credit. Firstly, we didn’t come out well. We came out and were down so from then, everything had to go right. We had two subs and then missed two free throws so the lead goes to nine then again two free throws, lead goes to eleven. We can’t do that on the road.”

On playing Denver at home:
“They have only lost three games at home so again, you have to give them credit because they are a good team. They played with a lot of energy but we can’t lose sight of what we’ve done and what we have to do. This is just a bump in the road and we will pick it up this Thursday.”




Kobe Bryant:

On the loss:
“They [Nuggets] didn’t shoot too well from the free throw line either. The fast-break points were a killer. They converted 78 points in the paint; that team is like a track team.”

On stopping Denver’s fast-breaks:
“You have to almost over-exaggerate getting back on defense. Literally, nobody can go get offensive boards.”

On the first quarter:
“I think it was their speed. It was something that was tough for us to adjust to. They just continually pushed the ball. Their shots go up and guys are already leaking out to go along with the speed so they got a lot of easy buckets.”

On moving forward:
“I don’t think it [the loss] is a step backwards. We played a good team that plays extremely well at home. Obviously they had some advantages in terms of their athleticism and they took advantage of it tonight. I’m not too concerned about it; we’ll bounce back next week. We have to just focus on taking care of business.”




Dwight Howard:

On the Nuggets scoring the most points scored in the paint this year:
“What they were doing was, every time I would try to contest a shot, there would be another big going to the basket so it was tough for me to pick and choose to try to block a shot or stay with mine. We talked about getting back and boxing out and doing the little things. Tonight was a tough one.”

On his free throw shooting:
“I can’t get down on myself. I am shooting with the same form and it felt straight, some were just long. It’s up to me; I have to continue practicing and that’s my fault but I’m not going to get discouraged.”

On frustration on defense:
“The frustration was just me wanting to help my guy, my guy getting the rebound every time I helped, just right there for the dunk. The biggest problem was the fast-breaks; the fast-break points, that’s what killed us. They got out and made 15 out of 16 fast-break shots. We have to find a way to get back; as soon as we looked up, somebody shot a shot. They were just running; it was a track race for us.”




George Karl:

On the game:
“I wish we could have defended a little better. But our commitment to play and beat a desperate team, I thought we played as hard as they did, if not a little bit harder. Wilson [Chandler] was fantastic and our bigs used their fouls in a very intelligent way and we got the bad free throw in the game, which we kind of talked about. Kobe [Bryant] was good but I don’t think he was great.”

On Wilson Chandler:
“Wilson is a very good player. As he gradually gets better confidence and better conditioning and a better place; he makes us very versatile, both offensively and defensively. Our running game was sensational and I think we put enough defense in the game that he gives us another individual defender that can cover ones, twos, threes, and fours pretty well and we can switch him. Andre Iguodala was good and his defense and passing was first class. Our decisions were a big part of why we had so many paint points; we made good decisions, we didn’t force too many jump shots. Ty [Lawson] shot the ball poorly from the three-point line but I thought most of his shots were pretty good choices.”

On Nuggets’ success on fast-break:
“I think anytime we play the Lakers, it’s going to be a speed versus size game, even without [Pau] Gasol, it’s still speed versus quickness. They were trying to play fast but I don’t think they play as fast as we want to play. I thought the guys had that extra engine to play as many minutes of the 48 that you could play fast. We might have run out of gas a little in the second half; we only scored 52 points. There were so many whistles and so many slow-downs that I still think the pace was pretty good for us.”




Kenneth Faried:

On his alley-oop dunk over Dwight Howard:
“Andre Miller passed it to Andre Iguodala and then said ‘now you throw it, but if I’m not open don’t do it.’ Andre [Iguodala] had belief in me and he was like ‘I’m just gonna do it anyway.’ When he threw it, Dwight did get a hand on it. I was nervous but I was able to secure it with two hands and finish it.”

On if his alley-oop being one of the best in his career:
“Yeah I think it is because as I told all of you last time when we were home that I was going to dunk on him [Howard.] That’s why he fouled me so hard. This time I was able to (dunk on him) and he wasn’t able to foul me as hard or do anything about it.”

On favorite play in the game besides his:
“JaVale’s [McGee] put-back. When it came off, I don’t know if Dwight had him boxed out or anything, but it came off and JaVale just had that put-back dunk. It was something fierce.”

On a total team effort:
“It was. We all came out ready to play. We battled, and battled, and kept battling. We were at home just battling everything that was thrown at us. They [the Lakers] were fighting and coming back, but we were able to come out with the win.”




Ty Lawson:

On the big victory tonight:
“It was huge. We have a tough home game stand coming up with a lot of playoff teams coming in, so to beat the Lakers is a step in the right direction.”

On his hot shooting towards the end of the game:
“The first half I was trying to facilitate more. Corey [Brewer] and Wilson [Chandler] had it going, and I wanted to get them the ball. In the second half, things just fell into my hands and I was able to get to the basket and score.”

On JaVale McGee’s individual plays tonight:
“It’s just crazy watching how much talent he really has. He does it effortlessly. He blocks shots, he rebounds; I mean he controls the paint when he really wants to. He definitely did a great job tonight.”

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LAKERS-NUGGETS PREVIEW

By TAYLOR BECHTOLD

Posted Feb 24 2013 10:17PM

After another big game from Kobe Bryant helped them continue their surge, the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for one of their toughest road tests since it began.

The Denver Nuggets, however, could be without their leading scorer on Monday night when they try to slow down the streaking Lakers and win their ninth straight home game.

Following a stretch of 10 losses in 12 games to open 2013, the Lakers (28-29) fell to a season-worst eight games under .500 on Jan. 23.

Los Angeles, though, has stormed back into the Western Conference playoff picture with 11 wins in 15 games, the latest a 103-99 victory at Dallas on Sunday. The win moved the Lakers within 2 1/2 games of idle Houston for the eighth spot in the West.

Bryant enters this contest in a serious groove with 78 points on 28-of-44 (63.6 percent) shooting in his last two games. He had 38 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists against the Mavericks while passing the 31,000-point mark for his career.

"He's been the best player in my decade," said Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki. "I've been in the NBA a long time and he's the one player I love to watch."

Bryant finished with 40 points in Denver on Dec. 26, but the Nuggets scored 69 in the second half en route to a 126-114 victory that began a stretch of eight straight road losses for Los Angeles.

This time, the Lakers hope to prove they're a different team and capture their sixth win in eight road games following the season-worst skid. That doesn't figure to be an easy task against a Denver team that has won 23 of 26 at the Pepsi Center, including eight straight by an average of 12.7 points.

The Nuggets (35-22) had lost four of five - with each loss coming on the road - before bouncing back with a 113-99 victory at league-worst Charlotte on Saturday.

Now they're focused on catching Memphis for the No. 4 seed and earning home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

"If we get to 53 or 54 (wins) I think that we'll get that fourth seed in the playoffs," guard Ty Lawson said. "But we know it's going to be a grind for the next couple weeks, couple months."

Lawson, who had a team-high 20 points against the Bobcats, has averaged 26.2 while shooting 54.5 percent from the field in his last six games. He had 21 points and 10 assists to lead Denver to a 112-105 win in Los Angeles on Jan. 6.

Danilo Gallinari, however, finished with just six points for the second consecutive game on Saturday while playing through a thigh bruise. The team's leading scorer (16.9 ppg) is considered questionable for Monday.

Gallinari has scored at least 19 in each of the three meetings with Los Angeles this season.

The Nuggets rank near the top of the league in home scoring (108.7), and have averaged 113.7 against the Lakers while allowing that same amount.

Reserve Antawn Jamison led Los Angeles with a season-high 33 points and 12 rebounds in a 122-103 home win over the Nuggets on Nov. 30.

Dwight Howard has totaled 42 points and 46 rebounds in the two home meetings, but finished with just 12 and seven, respectively, in the last meeting in Denver.

The Nuggets have won seven of 10 at home against the Lakers, including the first round of the 2012 playoffs.


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.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #8 Gallinari  
  #6 ClarkPF #35 Faried  
  #12 Howard C #41 Koufos  
  #24 Bryant SG #9 Iguodala  
  #10 Nash PG #3 Lawson  


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Lakers Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
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Mavericks Danilo Gallinari
(left thigh bruise) is day-to-day.
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11/30 - DEN 103 @ LAL 122
12/26 - LAL 114 @ DEN 126
01/06 - DEN 112 @ LAL 105
02/25 - LAL @ DEN
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