Lakers Gameday | 04/09/09 | Lakers 116, Nuggets 102


Lakers LogoLos Angeles Lakers
(63-16)
Western Conference Standing : 1
Streak: Won 5

Lakers Game day
Suns LogoDenver Nuggets
(53-27)
Western Conference Standing : 2
Streak: Lost 1

Injury Report Injury Report
  • Andrew Bynum (torn MCL, right knee) is doubtful.
  • Derek Fisher (sore left foot) is probable.
  • http://nba.com/media/lakers/scores_bg.jpg); background-repeat:repeat-y;">
    Team 1 2 3 4 F
    Denver Nuggets 25 31 25 21 102
    Los Angeles Lakers 33 23 32 28 116
    • Kenyon Martin (left rib cartilage strain) is day to day.
    • Steven Hunter (right knee surgery) is Out.

    POST-GAME NUMBERS

  • 46 - Despite shooting a low percentage from the field, the Lakers got it done from the charity stripe. On 46 attempts from the stripe they converted on 37 to shoot 80% from the line.
  • 32 - With the insertion of Lamar Odom back into the "Bench Mob:, they seemed to be back at a high level. Combined the bench had 32 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists.
  • 21 - Minutes of playing time for Andrew Bynum who utilized the most of those minutes to score 16 points and grab 7 rebounds in the win over the Nuggets.
  • 19 - Career high in rebounds for Pau Gasol, with 11 offensive rebounds also a new career high. Pau finished the game with 27 points, 19 rebounds and three assists.
  • 12 - The Lakers caused 13 turnovers by the Nuggets, while committing 11 themselves, but they were more able to capitalize on the mistakes and outscored the Nuggets by 12 points off turnovers (19-7).
  • +8 - The Lakers won the rebound battle tonight 51 to 46, and that was because they were active on the boards tonight, getting eight more offensive rebounds than the Nuggets.
    ---Francisco Gomez, Lakers.com
  • LAKERS BEST
    Points
    Kobe Bryant
    K. Bryant
    33
    Rebounds
    Pau Gasol
    P. Gasol
    19
    Assists
    Lamar Odom
    L. Odom
    4
    Plus/Minus
    Pau Gasol
    P. Gasol
    +17

    Box Score | Play-by-Play | Quotes

    BLOG
  • Postgame
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  • Bynum Will Play
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  • PREVIOUS GAMES
  • 02/27/09: Nuggets 90, Lakers 79
  • 11/21/08: Lakers 104, Nuggets 90
  • 11/01/08: Lakers 104, Nuggets 94

  • VIDEO

  • Highlights
  • Welcome Back Andrew Bynum
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  • Lakers Highlights
    PHOTOS


    PROBABLE STARTERS
    Los Angeles Lakers Denver Nuggets
    Guard
    Derek Fisher
    D. Fisher
    Guard
    Kobe Bryant
    K. Bryant
    Forward
    Trevor Ariza
    T. Ariza
    Forward
    Pau Gasol
    P. Gasol
    Center
    Andrew Bynum
    A. Bynum
    Guard
    Chauncey Billups
    C. Billups
    Guard
    Dahntay Jones
    D. Jones
    Forward
    Carmelo Anthony
    C.Anthony
    Forward
    johan_petro
    J. Petro
    Center
    Nene
    Nene

    • POST-GAME
    • FRANK HAMBLEN PREVIEW
    • GAME PREVIEW
    • GAME NOTES
    • SCOUTING REPORT
    • LAKERS UPDATES
    Bryant has 33, Lakers win 116-102 over Nuggets

    LOS ANGELES(AP) Kobe Bryant scored 33 points, Pau Gasol added 27 points and 19 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers welcomed back center Andrew Bynum in a 116-102 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

    The win was the fifth straight for the Lakers (63-16) and tied them with the idle Cleveland Cavaliers (63-15) for the league lead.

    Bynum, playing in his first game since tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Jan. 31, had 16 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

    Wearing a black brace on the knee, Bynum was greeted with cheers when his name was announced in the starting lineup. Another loud eruption came when the Lakers' announcer asked fans to welcome back the center.

    Carmelo Anthony had 23 points to lead the Nuggets, who lost for the first time in nine games and failed to secure the number two seed in the Western Conference. J.R. Smith had 19 points, while Chauncey Billups and Nene each added 17.

    The Nuggets got within six with 8:12 remaining when Nene scored a bucket in the paint, but Bryant turned it on. He scored six straight, including a bank shot from the left side of the key that didn't look like it had a chance, to give the Lakers an insurmountable 107-93 lead.

    One of the story lines coming into the game focused on the Nuggets and their improved defense, but Los Angeles easily topped 100 points with three starters scoring in double digits.

    Bynum, who started in place of Lamar Odom, didn't shy away from contact and bumped up against Denver's bigs throughout. It took him a while to get comfy in his first start, though, and he was 0-for-2 in the first quarter while losing the ball twice.

    He scored nine points in the third quarter and showed flashes of his old self when finishing shots, and wound up 7-for-11 from the field.

    It was Bryant and Gasol who put the Lakers ahead in the third period, when the two launched Los Angeles on a 16-5 run with less than six minutes remaining.

    Shannon Brown hit a wide-open 3-pointer to start it and Gasol and Bryant combined to add 11 points in the spurt. Bryant's 3 with 1:39 remaining gave the Lakers a 13-point lead.

    While most of the focus was on Bynum's return, it was Gasol who got the Lakers going. He was one rebound shy of a double-double by the end of the first quarter and had six points as part of an 8-0 run that gave Los Angeles a 32-21 lead.

    Lakers coach Phil Jackson turned the game over to his bench in the second quarter, but subbed his starters back in at the 5:50 mark in an attempt to slow the Nuggets down.

    They provided a spark for a few minutes before Denver went on a 12-4 run behind a pair of 3s from Smith, one a buzzer-beater that tied the game at 56 going into halftime.

    Notes: Kenyon Martin missed his fourth consecutive game, but should return to the lineup on Monday when the Nuggets host Sacramento. ... Jackson wants to see how Bynum and Gasol work together before the playoffs. "They played really well together before. A big part is getting them both on the court together,'' Jackson said. ... The Lakers honored the memory of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and the two others who died in an early morning crash with a moment of silence before the game. ... Bryant needs two points to pass Charles Barkley on the NBA's career scoring list.


    Copyright 2009 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 - NUGGETS PREVIEW

    As if running away with the Western Conference's No. 1 seed wasn't enough for the surging Los Angeles Lakers, they're now likely to add Andrew Bynum back into the mix.

    After missing 32 games with a torn MCL in his right knee, Bynum may return Thursday night at Staples Center as the Lakers meet the Denver Nuggets, the hottest team in the NBA.

    Los Angeles (62-16), which has won 21 of 23 at home against the Nuggets, also looks to move within a half-game of Cleveland for the NBA's best record. The Lakers, winners of five straight, own the tiebreaker over the Cavaliers and will secure home-court advantage throughout the playoffs if they can catch the Central Division champions.

    The possible return of Bynum - scoring a career-best 14.0 points with 8.2 rebounds - could provide a big boost.

    "I'm ready to go. Just waiting on my release ... I think (Thursday) is possible," he told the Lakers' official Web site.

    Now in his fourth season, the 21-year-old center was injured in the first quarter of a 115-98 win at Memphis on Jan. 31 when Kobe Bryant fell into his leg.

    Two nights later, Bryant scored 61 points in a 126-117 victory over the New York Knicks and sent a message to the rest of the league that the Lakers weren't going to fold.

    "I felt like I needed to focus even more," Bryant said after setting the Madison Square Garden single-game scoring record.

    The reigning MVP is scoring 27.5 points per game as the Lakers have lost just seven times in Bynum's absence. Bryant also is averaging 30.3 points and 5.3 rebounds as Los Angeles has won two of three versus Denver this season.

    The Nuggets, who can secure the No. 2 seed in the West with a win in this contest, have picked the right time to play their best basketball of the season. Denver needed to rally for Wednesday's 122-112 win over Oklahoma City, but coach George Karl didn't seem to mind as the Nuggets won their eighth in a row and 13th in 14 games.

    "It's a win, baby!" he said.

    A victory Thursday also would match the franchise record of 54 set in 1987-88. But with just two wins at Staples Center since the 1995-96 season, Denver understands it can't get too excited about its recent string of victories - its longest since April 1-13, 2007.

    "If we want to achieve our ultimate goal, we're going to have to see that team somewhere and we're going to have to get through that team somehow," Chauncey Billups said of the Lakers.

    Los Angeles defeated the Nuggets 104-90 on Nov. 21 in the teams' only meeting at Staples Center this season.

    Carmelo Anthony, scoring 22.9 points per game, is averaging just 11.7 on 27.5 percent shooting versus Los Angeles in 2008-09. He had 31 points in Denver's last win on the road in this series, 111-105 on April 3, 2007.

    "(A win) would be huge, man, especially at this time of the year and for what we're trying to accomplish,'' Anthony said. "That would be a big win for us."

    If Denver wins, it will secure home-court advantage in a playoff series for the first time since the 1988 Western Conference semifinals against Dallas.


    Copyright 2009 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
    GAME NOTES
    NOTES & CONNECTIONS

    The Lakers lead the current season series with Denver 2-1 after sweeping last season's series with the Nuggets 3-0 for the first time since 2002-03. This will be the teams' 139th meeting with the Lakers leading the all-time series 92-46. The two teams also met in the First Round of the 2008 NBA Playoffs with the Lakers defeating Denver 4-0, improving to 13-2 against the Nuggets in postseason games and 4-0 in playoff series. The Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 overall regular season meetings with the Nuggets but are 5-1 in their last six games and are 25-12 against Denver since the 1999-00 season. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 16-2 against the Nuggets alltime and 9-1 in their last 10. In Denver, the Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 road games but are 2-1 against the Nuggets in their last three visits to Pepsi Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 23-10 versus Denver. In 46 career games including 37 starts against the Nuggets, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.4 points. Bryant established the series record for points in a game (51) in February of 2003 but was tied by Allen Iverson last season when he also scored 51 points in the Lakers 111-107 victory at Pepsi Center on December 14, 2007. Last season, Bryant (2nd/28.3) and Carmelo Anthony (4th/25.7) finished second and fourth respectively among league leaders in scoring.

    LAKERS SCOUTING REPORT

    The Denver Nuggets are playing the best basketball in the league right now.  With last night’s 122-112 home win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver has now won eight in a row and 13 of their last 14 games.  Denver is 52-23 since acquiring Chauncy Billups.  He energizes and organizes this team and brought a professionalism that they needed.  He will start games looking to get everybody involved unless the team seems to be struggling and he feels the need to take over offensively.  Last time we face Denver was at the end of February and it was the second night of a back to back.  We were coming off of a home win against Phoenix and didn’t get to our Denver hotel until around 3:30 am.  We got off to a sluggish start shooting 6-23 in the first quarter.  Things didn’t improve much as we shot 29.8% from the field and 9.5% from 3 point territory for the game.  Denver had 11 blocked shots – 7 by Chris Anderson.  The other key aspect of that game was that led to Denver’s victory was the production of their bench.  Denver’s bench out-scored our bench 47-7.  Over the last five games Denver is averaging 50.4 points from their bench compared to the 33 bench points they were averaging over the first 73 games.  The bottom line is that JR Smith has been on fire.  As if they needed more incentive for tonight, the Nuggets can clinch their division title with a win tonight.

    While their offensive efficiency has improved greatly since getting Billups, it is on the defensive end of the floor where their greatest strides have been made.  According to their coach, George Karl, “We play more like the San Antonio Spurs than any other team in the west.”  He was referring to their defensive commitment and execution.  Denver does a very good job of protecting their paint.  They will load up their defense against isolations and then they have back line shot blocking ability.  Another aspect of their defense that is improved is the way they switch.  Because of the high level of athleticism they like to switch whenever possible.  We must recognize this fact and read and react accordingly.  We must maintain our offensive spacing and if we want to be successful we mst get the ball from one side of the floor to the other.
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    LAKERS UPDATES

    BRYANT 35 POINTS SHY OF PASSING CHARLES BARKLEY FOR 17th ON ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
    With 22 points April 7 in Sacramento, Kobe Bryant (23,723) has moved within 35 points of passing Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Barkley reached his scoring total in 1,073 games over 16 seasons in contrast to Bryant, who has now played 944 games entering the Lakers April 9 contest with Denver. Just last month, with 23 points March 6 vs. Minnesota, Bryant surpassed Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. While Parish reached his scoring total in 1,611 games over 21 seasons, Bryant passed Parish in only his 928th career game. In February, Bryant surpassed Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th on the all-time list 2/24 at Oklahoma City and Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th on the all-time list 2/22 at Minnesota. Additionally, in passing Baylor, now only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) and Jerry West (25,192 points) have scored more points with the Lakers than Bryant. Next on the NBA’s all-time list are Allen Iverson (23,983) and Patrick Ewing (24,815). Bryant, currently in his 13th NBA season, passed Dantley (955 career games) in his 923rd career game while reaching Baylor’s mark in his 922nd game; Baylor reached 23,149 points in just 846 games. Earlier this season on December 16 vs. New York, Bryant moved past Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st on the all-time list while moving past both Larry Bird and Gary Payton on November 14 versus Detroit. Bryant passed Drexler (1,086 games) in his 890th career game while passing Bird (897 games) and Payton (1,335 games) in his 874th career game.

    LAKERS CLINCH #1 SEED IN THE WEST
    With their March 27 victory over the Nets, the Lakers clinched the #1 seed in the West to secure home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. Since the NBA went to the Conference format prior to the 1970-71 season, the Lakers have held the #1 seed 14 times prior to this season (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982-90, 2000, 2008), winning the West 11 times and the NBA Championship on seven occasions. The Lakers now own the #1 seed for the 10th time since the current format featuring 16 teams was instituted prior to the 1984 NBA Playoffs. Additionally, with their March 12 victory over San Antonio, the Lakers clinched the Pacific Division title. In meeting their magic number, the Lakers marked their 56th postseason appearance in 61 NBA seasons, their 20th Pacific Division title in their 39th season in the division and their 28th playoff berth in 30 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to the 1979-80 season.

    60 WIN SEASONS
    With 62 victories this season, the Lakers have now reached the 60-win mark for the 11th time in franchise history, having previously done so in 1971-72, 1972-73, 1979-80, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1997-98 and 1999-2000. Since Dr. Jerry Buss took over the team prior to the 1979-80 season, the Lakers have now posted 9 60+ win seasons, while marking Phil Jackson’s 7th 60-win season in 18 seasons as an NBA head coach.

    POINTS ABOUT POINTS
    The Lakers are currently ranked 3rd in the NBA in points scored (106.9) and 13th in the NBA in points allowed (99.3) through 78 games this season. Through their first seven games of the season (7-0), the Lakers allowed just 86.7 points and held their opponents under 90 five times including two sub-80 games. Yet for the majority of the season, over their last 71 games (55-16), the Lakers have surrendered an average of 100.6 points per game (7144). In 8 of their last 9 games, however, the Lakers have held their opponent under 100 points in each game, with opponents averaging 89.9 points per game (809) over the current stretch. Only FOUR times this season, including their opening 7-game stretch, have the Lakers held three consecutive opponents under 100 points: (12/22 @ MEM, 12/23 @ NO, 12/25 vs. BOS), (1/19 vs. CLE, 1/21 @ LAC, 1/22 vs. WAS, 1/25 vs. SA) and (3/24 @ OKC, 3/26 @ DET, 3/27 @ NJ, 3/29 @ ATL, 3/31 @ CHA, 4/1 @ MIL, 4/3 vs. HOU, 4/5 vs. LAC), going 20-2 in those games. When holding opponents under 100 points this season, the Lakers are 36-5 overall. Since moving to LA, the Lakers have led the NBA in scoring four times (1965-66, 1971-72, 1985-86, 1997-98) but have never led the NBA in fewest points allowed. Additionally, the Lakers are ranked 3rd in the NBA in point differential, winning by an average of 7.6 points per game through 78 games this season. The franchise record for point differential in a season is +12.3 established by the 1971-72 Lakers. The next highest mark in franchise history was +9.3 by the 1986-87 Lakers, making the ‘71-72 season the only year in which a Lakers team has ever averaged victory by double-figures. Phil Jackson’s 1999-00 Lakers rank 3rd on this list with a +8.5 margin of victory.