Lakers Gameday | 02/28/10 | Nuggets
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Lakers beat Nuggets 95-89
Posted Feb 28 2010 6:21PM
LOS ANGELES(AP) Lamar Odom scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Pau Gasol had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Denver Nuggets 95-89 on Sunday.
Kobe Bryant was just 3 for 17 from the field, finishing with 14 points and 12 assists. The two-time scoring champion was 1 for 9 during the first three quarters - the only field goal coming on a layup with 5:37 left in the opening period.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points for Denver before fouling out for the second time this season with 2:13 to play and the Nuggets down by four. The loss was their first in three meetings this season with the defending NBA champions, who beat them in last year's Western Conference finals. Denver has blown double-digit leads in nine of its 20 losses this season.
Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who picked up two fouls 57 seconds apart during the first 2 minutes of the game and went to the bench, didn't get his third until he fouled Chauncey Billups behind the 3-point line with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game. Billups made all three free throws to tie the score at 82. But the Nuggets did not make a field goal over the final 4:10, ending their three-game winning streak.
Kenyon Martin missed his first seven shots in his return to the lineup and finished 3 for 11 with six points in 36 minutes. He missed Friday night's 107-102 win over Detroit because of a bruised left knee, the same one that forced him to miss two games earlier this month because of tendinitis.
Copyright 2010 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’ Coach Phil Jackson on today’s game:
“Well, we got back in the game immediately in the third quarter only to let them out score us 10-0 on a run that required a timeout and just kind of get ourselves together, how we’re going to play against this team. Kobe mentioned the fact that he could operate out of that low post position down there and he got into a position where he required a double team and we were able to get consistent offensively from there on and our defense picked up on top of that. (Ron) Artest did a remarkable job on (Carmelo) Anthony and the period to the foul line which happened in the first half, you know, we kind of slowed it down there in the second.”
On Kobe Bryant’s performance tonight:
“He had a poor night, shooting, there’s no doubt about it; he was 3 for 17. He’s just out of rhythm right now. It looks like he’s shooting the ball on the way up and sometimes he’s shooting on the way down and he’s just not really in rhythm. But the presence of putting him on the post and making plays out of that, gave him 12 assists that was what we had to have had at that time and that’s what he is. He found a way to help us win the game.”
On if he instilled any energy to the Lakers in the fourth quarter:
“I didn’t instill anything; they had that in them already. Their energy that came off that last four minutes or so from the third quarter carried the momentum into that fourth quarter. I was looking for some timeouts and time off the court for Ron (Artest), Kobe volunteered to stay on the floor. You know, we had some things happen that was good. We got a run out; Jordan (Farmar) got a three-point opportunity and those little things gave us a spurt to give us some room.”
On the Lakers’ defense in the fourth quarter:
“I think they had 18 points in the third quarter too. Both quarters, we played good defense. I thought some of the things that got to us the first half were turnovers in 20 points. And we limited that, the turnovers, in the second half to only four. So when you have that many turnovers you just can’t always get the defensive stance going. We played from behind that the whole first half.”
On the Ron Artest’s effect on the defensive side tonight:
“It was our game plan not to help and we used a lot of help defense. And Ron (Artest) said unless he gets in foul trouble, well he did get in foul trouble, but nothing that limited him from playing aggressive defense and I think Carmelo (Anthony) got frustrated at one point and then tried to prove a point and Ron (Artest) was able to stand up to that.”
Lakers’ Guard Kobe Bryant on the difference between the first and the second halves:
“We had to make adjustments. Offensively and defensively we had to make adjustments. We had to get after it… In the second half, our defense just went to another level.”
On the changes the team made in the second half:
“We changed some things. Execution-wise we changed some things. I think our energy and our intensity picked up. We played with a sense of urgency in the second half that wasn’t there the first half.”
On Ron Artest:
“He’s fantastic. That’s what he’s here for. He’s here for these situations, these type of small forwards. He went out there and earned his money today.”
Lakers’ Forward Pau Gasol on tonight’s game:
“I think we did a good job in the second half. We didn’t compete as well in the first half. We were lucky to be down by only 9 from the way were playing. I am happy we bounced back and we played aggressively. We played like we know how to play.”
On what the Lakers’ need to do this season:
“We need to really be the aggressor. We need to challenge people. Instead we are always being challenged. That is the way I feel about it. Teams come here or we go on the road and teams are always trying to challenge us because we rely so much on our quality and the depth of our team. We are not aggressive enough and we need to start challenging teams and posing our will in games because we can. It is unfortunate sometimes that we don’t do it. We are happy or content at winning games sometimes and not really playing our potential.”
Lakers’ Forward Lamar Odom on the difference between the first and the second halves:
“Even in the second half, we were down 11, I think. We made some adjustments. We were able to get back into the game. That’s a pretty tough team. They play hard and push us to the limit.”
On the defensive difference between the first and the second halves:
“Just didn’t make any excuses. Try not to give up any offensive rebounds. Try to make plays. Help each other. Ron did a good job on Carmelo tonight. He was giving him a tough time and he played good offensively.”
Lakers’ Forward Ron Artest on his performance tonight:
“It was just about playing decent and a lot of effort. I think my effort was at 95%, it wasn’t all there. I should have been playing at 100%.”
On guarding Carmelo Anthony:
“He is definitely one of the better players in the NBA, but when I am hungry I don’t really worry about the offensive plays even if they have a good game. I know that if I am doing my job, we should be ok.”
Nuggets’ Coach George Karl on tonight’s game:
“I’m pretty happy with playing as poorly as we played and still having a chance to win the game in a tough-win situation. Second half, they picked up the pressure on us and started a wrestling match with the ball. We didn’t have the perseverance to pass it or penetrate it before the pressure. They slowed our offense down.”
On what hurt the Nuggets:
“Our turnovers hurt us. Our missed free throws hurt us. Ty (Lawson) getting hurt hurt us. Ty is a pressure-breaker. You’re not going to be able to double team him. I thought A.C. (Anthony Carter) did a good job for us but we did kind of miss Ty.”
On what his team did to contain Kobe Bryant:
“Our whole thing with Kobe was to try to plug him and try to keep him away from the rim and off the free throw line. I thought we got that done pretty much the whole night.”
On what Kobe Bryant did effectively:
“He did a great job of passing the ball and finding and hurting us with his passing. That’s what a great player does.”
On whether he feels like they let this one get away:
“There’s a part of me that feels that way. I think the film is going to show that we did a lot of good things. A lot of our losses, it’s because we don’t offensive trust to pass and believe in each other enough.”
On the times that the Nuggets’ succeed:
“When we find the open man. When we move the ball and we have a high assist night – I think it’s the key to us winning games. Tonight we didn’t do that.”
Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony on tonight’s game:
“It was a tough game, physical game. They won.”
On the Lakers defense:
“I think they did a great job of trying to keep the ball out of my hands, deny me every chance they get. Play as physical as the refs allowed them to out there tonight. It was just one of those games. 4th quarter they came out scorching in the 4th quarter.”
On the difference between the first and the second halves:
“I think they were much more aggressive in the second half than the first half. They made adjustments to what we were doing. Any time you’re up 9, 10 points aren’t too many adjustments that you got to make and they made a lot of adjustments out there.”
On Ron Artest:
“I wouldn’t think he’s trying to get under my skin. I think he’s just trying to deny me the ball, not let me touch the ball. When I catch it, try to jam me a little bit, forcing me to go to the inside, to the interior big men.”
Denver Nuggets’ Arron Afflalo on defending Kobe Bryant:
“It was ok. You just need to get there and sometimes he misses shots, sometimes he makes the shots. I rely a lot on the help of my teammates. I think coach made the right adjustment. Just having Kenyon Martin guard him because he did a good job of finding his teammates.”
On how the Nuggets let this win get away from them:
“I don’t know. Chauncey’s three free throws tied it up. They made some big shots down the stretch and that’s about it.”
Denver Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin on the play being more physical in the second half:
“It’s a basketball game. It’s a contact sport. That’s the way we play. That’s the way they try to play. That’s what makes it a good game.”
On the Lakers’ Lamar Odom making a big impact on tonight’s game:
“We double teamed him so he wouldn’t make a lot of easy baskets. That’s just the nature of the beast. You got to give Kobe a lot of attention I was guarding him and I was guarding the double and he’d come right back and make the easy baskets.
Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups on what went wrong in tonight’s game:
“After everything, as poorly as we played, to have a chance to win the game was a positive for us. But we just turned the ball over too much. They rebounded the ball really well and we didn’t get enough fast break points and we just didn’t shoot a good percentage from the field. Not a good enough percentage to beat a great team.”
On the Lakers coming out more aggressively in the second half:
“They came out with a lot more pressure. They trapped the ball more. They rotated early. We turned the ball over too many times before we made an adjustment and they made a run. Even with that said, we still tied the game up with a few minutes left.”
Lakers vs. Nuggets Game Preview
By BRETT HUSTON
Posted Feb 27 2010 11:26PM
Sixteen wins in 21 games have made the Denver Nuggets perhaps the most logical choice to challenge the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs.
So far this season, it's been Los Angeles that's been unable to keep pace with the Nuggets.
Denver has blown out the Lakers in both meetings, and can lock up the season series against the defending champions Sunday afternoon with a second victory this month at Staples Center.
Los Angeles (44-15) won three of four in the 2008-09 regular season against the Nuggets before dispatching them in six hard-fought games in the Western finals, but Denver (39-19) seems to have figured out Kobe Bryant and company this season.
Bryant was held scoreless after halftime and the Lakers totaled 23 second-half points in a 105-79 loss at the Pepsi Center on Nov. 13 without Pau Gasol, a defeat the reigning Finals MVP summed up succinctly.
"They beat the hell out of us," Bryant said.
Gasol was back Feb. 5 at Staples Center, and had 17 points and 17 rebounds as the Nuggets played the seventh of eight consecutive games without Carmelo Anthony. His absence made little difference - Chauncey Billups scored a career-high 39 points and J.R. Smith added 27 off the bench in a 126-113 win.
"We're 2-0 against them in the season but that's still the best team in the Western Conference, there's no question about that," said Billups. "They're the world champs but we feel that we can compete with them, we just really feel that way."
Bryant, who scored 33 points while playing on his sprained left ankle, was asked after Billups' big game if he believes Denver thinks it's the better team.
"I'm sure they do," Bryant said. "They played extremely well the first two games this season and they have every right to feel that way."
Billups has carried the offense during the Nuggets' current three-game winning streak, averaging 29.3 points on 63.4 percent shooting. Billups scored 37 on Thursday in a 127-112 victory at Golden State, then had 25 one night later - 10 in the fourth quarter - as Denver battled fatigue to knock off visiting Detroit 107-102.
"I was looking for some energy and a little zip," coach George Karl said. "But Chauncey really has a knack for finding a winning way in the fourth quarter and I thought we made some good stops down the stretch.''
Anthony has averaged just 16.0 points in his last six regular-season games versus Los Angeles, but Smith has compensated by averaging 21.2 points in the series' past five contests.
They may both need to pick up the slack defensively Sunday if Kenyon Martin can't go. Martin missed the win over Detroit with a left knee contusion - the same knee that caused him to miss two games prior to the All-Star break - and is questionable.
Denver has been outrebounded in five of the six games Martin has missed, a troubling sign with Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to account for underneath. The Nuggets are 2-4 without Martin.
Gasol and Bynum each had double-doubles in the Lakers' latest game, combining for 43 points and 24 boards in a 99-90 victory over Philadelphia on Friday.
Bryant had 19 points and eight assists in his third game back after taking five games to rest his ankle, but the Lakers were immediately looking ahead to Sunday's showdown.
"That's a game we have to win," Bynum said, "because, obviously, they're trying to show dominance over us."
The teams meet for a final time April 8 in Denver.
Copyright 2010 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
Kobe Bryant (strained tendon, left ankle / avulsion fracture, right index finger) is probable.
Andrew Bynum (bruised right hip) is probable.
Sasha Vujacic (sprained right shoulder) is out.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out indefinitely.
Renaldo Balkman (mid-back strain) is day-to-day
Kenyon Martin (left knee contusion) is game-time decision.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently trail their season series with Denver 0-2 after taking last season’s series from the Nuggets 3-1. The two teams have met 141 times in the regular season with the Lakers leading the all-time series 93-48. The Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 overall regular season meetings with the Nuggets. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 17-3 against the Nuggets all-time and 9-2 in their last 11. In Denver, the Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 road games at Pepsi Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 24-12 versus Denver. In the postseason, the Lakers and Nuggets have met five times with the Lakers advancing on each occasion, most recently defeating Denver 4-2 in the 2009 Western Conference Finals. The Lakers are 17-4 overall against the Nuggets in postseason games (9-2 home, 8-2 road). Additionally, the Lakers won 11 straight playoff games against the Nuggets from 5/17/85 – 5/19/09, the 2nd longest postseason win streak against one team in NBA history behind the Lakers 12-game win streak versus Seattle from 1980-89. In 49 career regular season games including 40 starts against the Nuggets, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.6 points. Bryant established the series record for points in a game (51) in February of 2003 but was tied by Allen Iverson in 2007-08 when he scored 51 points in the Lakers 111-107 victory at Pepsi Center on December 14, 2007. Last season, Bryant and Carmelo Anthony both finished in the top 10 in the NBA in scoring for the second straight season, finishing 3rd (26.8 points) and 7th (22.8 points) respectively.
BRYANT MOVES TO 13th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
Kobe Bryant, who earlier this season moved past Jerry West (25,192) for first on the Lakers all-time scoring list and 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, passed Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with his first field goal of the night 2/24 at Dallas. Next on the all-time list ahead Bryant (25,317) are Alex English (12th/25,613), John Havlicek (11th/26,395) and Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668).
Bryant passed West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number). Less than a month earlier, with 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In November, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter 11/19 vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list while with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd.
BRYANT NOW 5th ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
With his 29th point February 1 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. Additionally, having scored all his points with the Lakers, Bryant moved to sixth on the NBA’s franchise career points list. On February 24 at Dallas, Bryant (25,317) moved past Reggie Miller (25,279) for 5th on this list. To date, only four players in league history have scored more points for a single franchise than Bryant.
FISHER REACHES 9,000-POINT CAREER MILESTONE
After a pair of free throws in the opening quarter, Derek Fisher’s first field goal of the game with 1:31 remaining in the first half pushed him past 9,000 points for his career 2/23 at Memphis. With the Lakers, Fisher has scored 6,234 career points, moving past Wilt Chamberlain (5,985) and Happy Hairston (5,993) this season and into 17th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Next on the Lakers all-time scoring list are Elden Campbell (16th/6,408) and Vlade Divac (15th/6,531).
FISHER / BRYANT BOTH PLAY IN 1,000th CAREER GAME
In the Lakers 96-81 victory over the Utah Jazz on February 10, Derek Fisher played in his 1,000th career regular season game. Of his first 1,000 career games, 816 came in a Lakers uniform. Fisher currently ranks 9th (821 games) in franchise history for games played behind Byron Scott (8th/846). Bryant, who played 999 career games before having to miss the next five due to a sprained left ankle, played in his 1,000th career regular season contest 2/23 @ Memphis, posting 32 points (13-19 FG), seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks while connecting on the game-winning three-pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining. Bryant (1,002), who entered the season ranked 2nd on the Lakers all-time games played list, is just the 2nd Laker in franchise history to reach the 1,000-game milestone, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,093) in that exclusive club. In terms of playoff games, Bryant (175 games) currently ranks 3rd in franchise history behind Abdul Jabbar (180) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson (190) while Fisher (160) ranks 5th in franchise history behind Michael Cooper (168).
This season, the Lakers are 10-5 in the first game and 10-5 in the second game of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 20 sets of back-to-back games, the most the team has played in a single season since playing 22 sets of back-to-backs during the 1999-00 campaign. Last year, the Lakers played 19 sets of back-to-backs, going 14-5 in the first game and 14-5 in the second as well. Charlotte, Detroit and Milwaukee lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2009-10 while New Orleans (15) and San Antonio (17) will play the fewest sets this season.
GASOL’S HISTORIC LINE
In the Lakers 101-89 victory over the Spurs on February 8, Pau Gasol recorded game-highs in points (21), rebounds (19), assists (8) and blocks (5). Since the NBA began tracking blocked shots prior to the 1973-74 season, only six other times in NBA history has a player recorded 21+ points, 19+ rebounds, 8+ assists and 5+ blocks in a single game. Gasol, who accomplished that feat for the 7th time in league history, became 6th player ever to do so and the first since Shaquille O’Neal in January of 2000.