Lakers Gameday | 05/29/09 | Lakers 119, Nuggets 92

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119
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Los Angeles Lakers 25 28 30 36 119
Denver Nuggets 20 20 27 25 92
92

Lakers Game Leaders
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Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
35 Points
Field Goals: 12 of 20
FG: 60%
Pau Gasol Pau Gasol
12 Rebounds
Defensive: 10
Offensive: 2
Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
10 Assists
6 Rebounds
1 Block
Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
+31
9-9 Free Throws
2-4 Three Pointers

BasketBlog
  • Lakers 119, Nuggets 92: Postgame 6
  • Lakers - Nuggets Running Diary 6
  • Halfcourt Contest
  • One Night Only: Stu Lantz

  • Video
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    Post-Game Numbers
  • 66 - Second half points from the Lakers to 52 from the Nuggets, a 14-point difference that was one more than the 53-40 halftime margin.
  • 60 - L.A.’s shooting percentage in a terrific first half that produced a 13-point lead.
  • 29 - Bench points in the second half from the Lakers, thanks primarily to 14 from Lamar Odom and eight from Luke Walton. The bench finished with 40 points on the evening to counter 34 from the Nuggets.
  • 16 - Combined assists from Bryant (10) and Gasol (6), whom Denver double-teamed constantly to their detriment. Both seemed to make the ideal pass out of the trap throughout the game.
  • 5 - Lakers in double-digit points in a game marked by terrific ball movement, including three players at the 20-point margin (Bryant, Gasol and Odom).
  • 3 - Second half turnovers for a Lakers’ team that had coughed the ball up 11 times in the first half, helping L.A. preserve the 13-point lead they’d built at the half.
  • 0 - Free throws missed by the Lakers on 24 attempts.
    --Mike Trudell, Lakers.com

  • 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
    Kenyon Martin
    K. Martin
    Center
    Nene
    Nene

    Lakers Gameday Articles and Updates
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    • POST-GAME
    • GAME PREVIEW
    • SCOUTING REPORT
    • LAKERS UPDATES
    Bryant leads Lakers past Nuggets, back to the NBA Finals

    DENVER(AP) Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are heading back to the NBA finals after dispatching the pesky Denver Nuggets with a 119-92 victory in Game 6 on Friday night.

    Bryant got plenty of scoring help from Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom as the Lakers shot 57.3 percent from the field to avoid having to play a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals back at the Staples Center.

    They will finally get some much-needed rest after playing every other day for a grueling two weeks.

    These Lakers, who are headed to their record 30th NBA finals and are seeking their 15th title, are a more grizzled group - but also more bruised and battered - than the one that fell to Boston in the finals last year.

    "Now we're in a place where we didn't get the job accomplished last year,'' Bryant said. "Hopefully we will this time.''

    Instead of cruising through the West this time, the Lakers survived an arduous seven-game semifinal series against Houston and a physical test against Denver.

    The Lakers will face either Orlando or Cleveland in the finals. The Magic lead 3-2 and can clinch the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night at home in Game 6 and prevent the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James final that has basketball fans and corporate sponsors atwitter.

    The finals begin Thursday, at Los Angeles if Orlando wins, and at Cleveland if the Cavaliers prevail.

    Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 25 points and J.R. Smith added 24, but Denver trailed for all but a few seconds and never mounted a serious charge after halftime, although they kept hitting 3-pointers.

    This was the Nuggets' eighth consecutive loss in a playoff elimination game.

    Odom and Gasol both scored 20 points and Ariza had 17, and the Lakers made all 24 of their free throws.

    "We are really tough to beat because we're using all our weapons, not focusing on Kobe or myself,'' said Gasol, who had 12 rebounds and six assists. "We have a really good team and need to use everybody. That is how we are going to win it.''

    The Lakers might very well have been swept by the energetic Nuggets if veterans Anthony Carter and Kenyon Martin hadn't botched inbounds passes in the final seconds of Games 1 and 3, respectively.

    Bryant didn't wait for the fourth quarter Friday night to give the Nuggets, who had posted eight postseason blowouts, a taste of their own medicine.

    He scored 11 points in a decisive 21-7 that gave the Lakers a 53-40 halftime lead, took the buzz out of the Pepsi Center and the air out of the Nuggets.

    "We had the effort and the execution to match,'' Bryant said. "It took us a while to really get a feel for the team, just how to take advantage of the defense. We saw something how they were playing us and we executed extremely well.''

    Bryant started his run with two free throws on a questionable whistle on Martin, then hit a jumper over Smith. After Ariza's 3-pointer, Bryant made baskets over Anthony from the left and right corners on the Lakers' next two possessions, then capped the run with a dagger - a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left following Gasol's offensive rebound.

    The Nuggets trimmed their deficit to 79-67 but the Lakers replied with a 9-0 run to restore their stranglehold. Bryant scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer that made it 101-82.

    The Nuggets thought they had the Lakers right where they wanted them after stealing Game 2 in Los Angeles, but they quickly gave the homecourt edge back on Martin's botched inbounds in Game 3 that cost them their first loss at the Pepsi Center since March 9.

    After winning 16 straight games at home, the Nuggets lost two of three there in their first trip to the conference finals in 24 years.

    Notes: The Nuggets' biggest lead was one points. After Smith's tip-in gave Denver a 33-32 lead, Odom hit a shot at the other end, sparking the 21-7 run and the Lakers never looked back.


    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

    DENVER (AP) To make the NBA Finals for the first time - and bring their tattoos, athleticism and exuberance to the biggest stage of all - the upstart Denver Nuggets must win two games in a 48-hour span against a savvy Los Angeles Lakers team that is shooting for its 30th Finals appearance.

    Oh, and L.A. hasn't lost back-to-back games since March.

    The Nuggets might very well be the better team in the Western Conference finals, with a deeper bench, more muscle and better health than the tired, injured and often disjointed Lakers. But they also tend to implode at the worst times.

    There's the taunting after big shots, the complaining after calls and the botched inbounds passes that cost them Games 1 and 3 and a chance at brooming the Lakers right out of the playoffs.

    Now, they're one loss away from summer vacation.

    "For most of the series, we outplayed them for most stretches of the game,'' Chauncey Billups said. "We just couldn't get over the hump in the fourth quarter in a few different situations.''

    Nor can they get out of their own way at times.

    Denver has committed 11 technical fouls in this series and defensive stud Dahntay Jones is one more flagrant-1 foul away from a suspension.

    Coach George Karl said he won't rein in his players for Game 6 in Friday night in Denver, however.

    "You guys are almost saying you've got to have savvy and poise to be a championship team,'' Karl told reporters Thursday. "I mean, you think the Detroit Pistons have the poise that the San Antonio Spurs have? No, I mean there's a different way of handling emotional, passionate, intense players. We have some guys who are emotional. Maybe a little too emotional. But for me, I'm not going to tell them to stop that because I think that stops them from becoming a competitor.

    "Right now, we're competing on the best stage on a pretty good level. I think the Lakers know we're there.''

    The Lakers have plenty of their own problems, inconsistency among them, but in Game 5, they showed they're not always so soft in the middle and they don't have to be a one-man band, either.

    The Lakers finally discovered ways to get more balanced play, especially from their bigs.

    "That's what the conversation has been about this entire postseason, our team, our potential and our capabilities,'' Derek Fisher said. "But how do we, as a group, open that space to be what we can be? ... It's possible something clicked for us as a group last night against this team.

    "We may have found some things we can do that allows us to attack them from everywhere. We feel we can't be beat when everybody's getting a chance to play.''

    Kobe Bryant lured double coverage then passed to his teammates with Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol doing the damage inside in the fourth quarter as the Lakers capped a 23-5 run and cruised to a 103-94 win Wednesday night.

    "We've had stretches where we've played excellent defense,'' Bryant said, "but the competition we're facing with this Denver Nuggets team is unlike anything we've ever seen. They have so many scorers, they have an inside presence. So ... I'm very proud of how we performed in that stretch.''

    Odom's 19 points and 14 rebounds were certainly the biggest reasons the Lakers reversed their disparity in points in the paint and grabs off the glass from Game 4.

    Karl thinks Lakers coach Phil Jackson's rant helped, too.

    Although it drew $50,000 in fines, Jackson's complaints about the officiating in Denver paid off in the Lakers' 16-7 advantage at the line in the fourth quarter, Karl suggested.

    So, Karl took his own crack at the crew, suggesting Nene fouled out thanks to three or four phantom fouls and questioning how Gasol (one foul) could have played such a clean but active game.

    On Thursday Karl insisted he wasn't blaming the officials for Denver's demise, but he took another shot at them when saying some of his younger players were letting the officiating get under their collective skin.

    "We're hoping and we believe that the officiating won't be a problem,'' Karl said. "When you're getting hit in the back of the head, knocked on your (backside), you're human beings; you react to people of authority. The referees are the ones that have the authority and control the game the way they want to control it.''

    Bryant has been blunt about the Lakers' fatigue factor in this series, and he and Gasol each played 45 minutes in Game 5. But Bryant said he's fine, suggesting he'll "get plenty of rest when I'm on a beach in Cabo.''

    The Nuggets would love nothing more than to help him book that trip by next week.

    ---=

    Freelance writer Victoria Sun in Los Angeles contributed.


    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 SCOUTING REPORT

    Check back soon for our scouting report against the Denver Nuggets.
    Click here to read more...

    LAKERS UPDATES

    CLOSING IT OUT
    With a 3-2 series lead entering Game 6 at Houston, the Lakers missed their FIRST opportunity to close out their Western Conference Semifinals series with the Rockets and advance to the Western Conference Finals, ultimately advancing on their second attempt in Game 7. Including their Game 5 First Round victory over Utah on April 27, the Lakers had closed out their opponent on the first attempt FOUR straight times before the Game 6 loss to Houston. The Lakers Game 6 loss represents just the THIRD time since 2001 that they have failed to close out an opponent when first given the chance (5/2/06 @ Phoenix, 5/29/04 @ Minnesota). The Lakers have now closed out an opponent on the FIRST try 15 times in their last 18 opportunities dating back to 2001. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have closed out their opponent on the first attempt 15 times in 22 overall opportunities. Overall, under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are now 21-11 in close-out games. The Lakers have won 26 of their last 27 series when holding the opportunity to close-out at any point. Their last series loss when having a close-out game came in 2006 when the Lakers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, the Lakers had not lost a series when having a close-out game since the 1993 First Round vs. Phoenix in which they led 2-0 before losing the next three.

    JACKSON-LED TEAMS A TOUGH OUT WHEN LEADING A PLAYOFF SERIES
    When Phil Jackson wins Game 1 of any series, best-of-five or best-of-seven, his teams are now 42-0, having gone 24-0 with Chicago and now 18-0 with the Lakers. When holding a series lead of any kind, Jackson, currently in his 18th postseason as a head coach, is 49-1 all-time. Additionally, this is the 18th time a Jackson-led team has led a postseason best-of-seven series 3-2, with his teams going 16-1 in those series (lone loss came in 2006 WC First Round vs. Phoenix). Overall, Jackson now owns a 204-90 postseason record, with his 204 victories being the most of any NBA coach in playoff history. Former Lakers coach Pat Riley ranks second with 171 wins (171-111). Additionally, Jackson’s 294 career playoff games are also the most of any coach in playoff history, also ahead of Riley (282), while his .694 postseason win percentage is tops among all coaches as well. Jackson has made 11 trips to the NBA Finals and is tied with Boston’s legendary coach Red Auerbach for most championships won by a head coach (9). In addition, Jackson (11) is also tied with Bill Russell (11) for most championships won by a player/coach.

    LAKERS IN GAME 6

  • This will be the Lakers 47th Game 6. The Lakers are 26-20 in Game 6 (any round) all-time. (23-18 Los Angeles, 3-2 Minneapolis)
  • In series that go at least six games, the Lakers are 34-12 all-time. (29-12 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis)
  • When winning Game 6, the Lakers are 23-3 all-time. (20-3 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis) The Lakers most recent Game 6 victory came against the Utah Jazz in the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals.
  • When losing Game 6, the Lakers are 11-9 all-time. (9-9 Los Angeles, 2-0 Minneapolis). Their two most recent series victories when losing Game 6 came in the 2000 Western Conference Finals with a Game 7 victory over the Trail Blazers in Los Angeles and in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals with a Game 7 home victory over the Rockets.
  • When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 31-4 (any round) all-time (26-4 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis).
  • When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 20-15 in Game 6 (17-13 Los Angeles, 3-2 Minneapolis). Of their 14 losses, 11 have been on the road with only three at home (1962 vs. Boston, 1961 vs. St. Louis, 1954 vs. Syracuse).
  • The last two times the Lakers closed out a series in Game 6 on the road were 5/16/08 at Utah and 5/8/86 at Dallas, both in Western Conference Semifinals.
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