GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 22 27 33 25 100
Play by Play Denver Nuggets 25 27 20 25 97


Bryant leads Lakers past Nuggets 107-97

By ARNIE STAPLETON

DENVER (AP) Kobe Bryant blasted the Denver crowd by day and quieted it at night.

After criticizing Denver fans for booing Carmelo Anthony, Bryant gave the Pepsi Center crowd little to cheer about as he led the Los Angeles Lakers past the Nuggets, 107-97 on Friday night.

Bryant scored 14 of his 18 points in the decisive third quarter and was one of five Lakers to score at least 17. Ron Artest scored a season-best 19 as did Pau Gasol. Lamar Odom had 18 and Andrew Bynum 17.

After frittering away double-digit leads in their last three games, the Lakers never let up after grabbing a 10-point advantage in the third quarter.

Anthony led Denver with 23 points after missing shootaround to attend to a personal matter, and Arron Afflalo chipped in 22.

The Nuggets had won seven of their previous nine regular-season games against Los Angeles at the Pepsi Center, but the Lakers' size bettered Denver's speed as the Nuggets lost for just the fifth time in 24 home games.

Led by Gasol's 13 boards and 10 from Odom, the Lakers outrebounded the Nuggets 47-27.

Bulk beat the break on this night. Although speedy Ty Lawson managed 15 points, the Lakers held the Nuggets to just four fast-break points and most of the time they got back to set up their defense before Denver could beat them to the basket.

Bryant, who gets booed in Denver every time he touches the ball, called out the Nuggets fans who have been jeering Anthony over his trade stance. On Thursday, he said they were stupid for booing Anthony after his 35-point performance against Oklahoma City this week, and on Friday he called them idiots.

Bryant suggested that if Anthony were at all waffling about his desire for a trade, the Nuggets fans' hostile treatment might just push the All-Star forward out of Denver.

Anthony has been the subject of trade talk since refusing to sign a three-year, $65 million extension last summer. Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri said after the New Jersey Nets halted negotiations on their latest blockbuster proposal Wednesday that he was still in talks with several other teams about a possible trade for Anthony.

Anthony missed the Nuggets' shootaround Friday morning because of what coach George Karl called a "personal problem," but he was in the starting lineup against the Lakers. He struggled with his shot early on, going just 4 of 13 in the first half for 11 points.

Bryant was colder - he had four shots and four points by halftime. Afflalo was hot, though, his fourth 3-pointer of the night giving Denver a 52-49 lead at the break.

Bryant scored 14 points in the third quarter as the Lakers surged ahead, taking an 82-72 lead into the fourth quarter, when they built their advantage to 16 points.

Before tip-off, Karl said he's kept a sense of humor about the never-ending Melo Drama out of necessity because his doctors have told him to keep his stress levels low after battling throat and neck cancer last year. He said his blood pressure is good, his blood work fine and his sleep patterns good.

"Two things I used to do is drink too many beers and eat in excess. Now, I don't do either, so I'm fine in that area," Karl said. "And I think I'm actually laughing at situations a little bit, trying to laugh with it and joke with it."

With Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke keeping a low profile, Karl has been the point man for the organization on all matters involving his star.

"I can't deny that in the last two or three weeks it's gotten a little tiring," Karl said. "But in the same sense, I've had fun with it. There's some laughter going on."

Asked if he thought this spectacle might last right up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Karl said, "I think it could go farther than that. I've definitely written some thoughts about it on paper, if that happens, what I need to do, what I need to prepare for."

The Nuggets wouldn't necessarily risk losing Anthony to free agency without compensation next summer because they could still trade him between the end of their season and June 30. Karl said he's spoken with Ujiri about all the possible scenarios but wanted to keep those conversations between the two of them.

NOTES: The Lakers are the only NBA team with a winning record against the Nuggets in Denver (42-32). ... There were only 11 free throws shot in the first half.


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




58 Points in the paint for the Lakers, who found ways to effectively penetrate Denver’s defense throughout the contest.

20 More rebounds grabbed by the Lakers (47) than the Nuggets (27). Denver grabbed only 12 more total rebounds than L.A. had on the offensive glass (15).

19 Season-high points reached by Ron Artest, who finished an excellent all-around game with a corner three at the 35-second mark. He helped limit Carmelo Anthony to 10-for-24 FG’s, blocked two shots and came up with two key offensive rebounds in the final minutes.

14 Points in a dominant third quarter performance from Kobe Bryant, who added four assists and four boards in the period. The 33-20 Lakers edge in that quarter was the difference in the ball game.

5 Lakers in double figures, showing the balanced attack that kept Denver off balance defensively throughout the game. Artest (19) and Gasol (19) led the way, while Bryant (18), Odom (18) and Bynum (17) joined ‘em.




View More Photos


Points Artest, Gasol 19
Rebounds Gasol 6 OFF 7 DEF 13
Assists Bryant 7
Steals Brown, Bryant, Gasol 1
Blocks Artest, Bynum 2

POSTGAME QUOTES

Phil Jackson – Lakers Head Coach
“We had a 33 point quarter. We had the pace of the game where we wanted it. We had the defense chip in and we had some defensive stops.

(Carmelo) He obviously missed a couple lay-ups and bunnies at the basket and a couple tip-ins that were right there too. He had some tough luck tonight.

(Ron Artest) He’s still involved in the offense. This team packs it in, they load up the defense and you are going to have players open on a skip-pass.

(Five guys with 15 plus points) I think some of it was their defense. I thought that they cocked their defense towards Kobe. That really helped out. I thought they did a good job inside on our big guys until we got them in with Martin on Drew in the fourth quarter. In that regard, then we had to move the ball and share it. They did a good job of sharing it.” 



Kobe Bryant – Lakers Guard
“(Strong second half) Basically, we were being more aggressive and moving the basketball around the floor. We were doing a better job of getting back on defense, forcing them to play a little more half court and making their shots a little more contested making it difficult to put the ball in the court.

(Outrebounding Denver) We are a good rebounding team. Obviously, we have a lot of guys that are capable of rebounding, guards included. We just went in there and tried to do the job.

(Third quarter, personal) I just decided to get buckets. I just tried to make the defense commit and that’s the first line of defense. We started off the game getting it inside to our big guys and getting them into a rhythm. The last thing we were concerned about was my scoring. Once I started scoring the ball then they had to come play defense.

(Ron Artest on Melo) Ron played extremely well. That is one of Ron’s tougher match ups because of Carmelo’s strength and size, but I felt like he did a good job tonight.

(Boos toward him and Melo) It doesn’t matter to me. I have been booed before. Melo is a good friend of mine and it is stupid. Boo him the first time, let him know how you feel and move on.”







Ron Artest - Lakers Forward
“(At one point Melo was 6-19 when you were guarding him) I was just playing hard and focused, I was locked in on what we were doing as a team. I was just locked in on what we were trying to do and just keep on moving forward.

(Difference after half) We started to work the ball, make shots, Kobe caught fire. That was the big difference.

(Personal game) I could care less about that. It’s not really important.

(Balanced scoring) I think it was a great team effort. Kobe made some passes to Steve, Steve made some good passes down to the block and Pau made some extra passes.”








George Karl – Nuggets Head Coach

“(Did size matter) Size versus speed. Size won tonight. Even when we did some good things defensively, we didn’t rebound the ball. The hope of playing with speed is you have got to rebound the ball and you got to get more than two fast-break points or four fast-break points. Maybe we should have been a little more aggressive on doubling the post-ups a little more. They didn’t shoot the ball as well. We just gave up way too many easy baskets.

(Difference tonight) I think they went inside a lot of. The rhythm of their game is from the perimeter, pick-and-rolls and some post-ups and some triangle. Tonight they didn’t run much triangle at all. They just pirated it in on us. One quarter is was Gasol, one quarter it was Bynum, one quarter it was Bryant. Odom just has a great feel of finishing and getting easy baskets on the weak side. Every one of their big guys had a good game. Odom had one of the prettier games of all; he was really good.

(Arron in the second) We didn’t get him the ball two or three times. I thought he was wide-open on rotations. We have got to remember that when he is hot, he is as good a shooter as we have on our team and definitely one of the better shooters in the league. We have got to go out of our way to find him when he is in the rhythm he was in tonight. Their strength is their size and we didn’t take that away from them. Our strength is our speed and we didn’t commit to putting that in our game as much as we should have.”




Carmelo Anthony – Nuggets Forward
“(Rough night overall) Anytime they have Bynum back. Tonight they did a great job on offensive board, rebounding period tonight. They outrebounded us by about 18-20 rebounds tonight. Rebound was the key to the game tonight. It was pretty much an equal game for the most part until that third quarter. We gave up 33 points in that third quarter. That is what opened the game up.

(Difficult team to defend) I think in the first half Kobe was trying to get everybody else involved. A lot of guys, a lot of big men got their points off the offensive glass, put backs, things like that. They just killed us on the offensive glass.

(Frustration going against so much size) I wouldn’t say there wasn’t any frustration tonight. We could have just battled with them more on the offensive glass, keeping them off the glass. They were big down in the paint tonight. Three seven-footers in there. It is kind of tough, kind of tough to do that.”




Chauncey Billups – Nuggets Guard
“Yeah, probably so. We talk about our game with them all the time, its speed versus size. Sometimes you come out on top, tonight we didn’t. I don’t think we pushed it as much as we could have in the third quarter, but it was because they were scoring every time and we had to take it out of bounds. It is tough to get fast break points when we have to take it out of bounds. They dominated in the paint tonight.

(Change of momentum after half) They took it away early. I think, of course, you expect them to make shots. They have great players. It is not that, that always beats you. I think it is extra effort plays, offensive rebounds; those plays are really what beat you.

(Kobe third quarter aggressiveness) He was, you could tell that he was being very aggressive at the start of the half. He made some shots and we thought that Arron or who ever was guarding him played some good defense. He just knocked down tough shots. That is what great players do.   








LAKERS VS. NUGGETS GAME PREVIEW

By BRETT HUSTON, STATS Senior Writer

Kobe Bryant was concerned about the Los Angeles Lakers’ defense in their latest loss. In their recent visits to Denver, they’ve had the opposite problem.

Dreadful shooting has plagued the Lakers in four straight regular-season defeats in Denver, a streak they’ll try to end Friday night against a Nuggets team that’s won four of five despite the ongoing swirl of speculation surrounding Carmelo Anthony.

The Lakers (31-13) shot 55.6 percent and scored 56 points in the first half Wednesday at Dallas, but they couldn’t hold a four-point lead. The Mavericks shot 57.1 percent after the break and outscored Los Angeles 57-44 in a 109-100 win.

“We were making mistakes all night on defense, because offensively things were going well for us,” said Bryant, who finished with 21 points and 10 assists. “It was one of those games that was fool’s gold. We were playing well offensively and got a lead, but we were making mistakes defensively.”

When the Lakers have visited Denver (24-17) recently, it’s been their inability to knock down shots that’s cost them. Los Angeles has shot 35.5 percent during four straight regular-season losses at the Pepsi Center, though they shot 48.0 percent in going 2-1 there in the 2009 Western Conference finals.

Bryant and Lamar Odom have struggled the most. Bryant has played in three of the losses, shooting 35.0 percent while averaging 26.7 shots, while Odom’s shot a woeful 29.3 percent and averaged 8.5 points in all four.

Bryant had 34 points in a 118-112 loss in Denver on Nov. 11, but went 11 for 32. Anthony led the way for the Nuggets with 32 points, shooting 14 of 25.

When Bryant’s taking a lot of shots, the Lakers typically aren’t successful. They’re 8-16 over the past four seasons when Bryant’s attempted at least 30 shots. This season, Los Angeles is 8-8 when he shoots it 21 or more times and 23-5 when he takes 20 or fewer.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, fare better when Anthony’s getting plenty of looks. They’re 11-5 when he takes 20 or more shots and 10-8 when he’s attempted 19 or fewer.

It’s anyone’s guess how many more shots Anthony will take in a Denver uniform, but he didn’t look fazed Wednesday against Oklahoma City. Hours after Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced he was ending his team’s pursuit of the three-time All-Star, Anthony bounced back from consecutive 12-point games with 35 in a 112-107 win, making 12 of 25 shots.

“It was personal. I wanted to get it going early for myself and my team,” Anthony said. “I’m still here, I’m still playing. I’m still a Denver Nugget. I still have games to play.”

That’s not exactly what Nuggets fans are hoping to hear. Many Nuggets fans booed Anthony despite his role in the victory.

“At this point,” Anthony said, “I don’t expect any cheers.”

Denver’s making it difficult not to cheer lately despite the constant melodrama surrounding Anthony. The Nuggets have averaged 125.3 points in their last four home games, shooting 54.6 percent. Seven players have averaged double figures in that stretch, including Arron Afflalo at 18.0.

Denver has averaged 42.5 points in the paint during their home streak against the Lakers. That’s 9.0 per game more than Los Angeles despite the Nuggets being outrebounded by 6.2 per contest.

Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who’s missed three of the past four visits to Denver, hyperextended his right elbow Wednesday but expects to play Friday.


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 Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is out.
Andrew Bynum (hyperextended right elbow / contusion to ulnar nerve, right arm) is probable.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is out.

Chris Andersen (right knee patella and left lower back) is out.



11/11 - LAL @ DEN L 112-118
01/21 - DEN @ LAL
03/01 - LAL @ MIN
03/18 - MIN @ LAL


The New Jersey owner said nyet to the Anthony deal and Carmelo went out and scored 35 points in a 112-107 Denver win versus Oklahoma City.  The trade speculation has been a cloud over this organization all season but this is a very good basketball team who is capable of putting all the turmoil aside, especially on their home court where they are 19-4 this season.  The Nuggets have beaten us 4 of the last 5 we have played and seven of the last ten at the Pepsi Center.  Tempo is always key with the Nuggets in the mile high city. 

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GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail 0-1 in their three-game season series with the Nuggets after dropping last season's series with Denver 1-3. The two teams have met 144 times in the regular season with the Lakers leading the all-time series 94-50. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10 regular season meetings with the Nuggets but just 1-4 in their last five overall. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 18-3 against the Nuggets all-time and 10-2 in their last 12. In Denver, the Lakers are 3-7 in their last 10 road games at Pepsi Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 25-14 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 51 career regular season games including 42 starts against the Nuggets, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.5 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, Carmelo Anthony (3rd/28.2) and Bryant (4th/27.0) both finished in the top 10 in the NBA in scoring for the third straight season.

GASOL REACHES UNIQUE MILESTONE
With a four foot hook shot at the 1:00 mark of the second quarter 1/19 at Dallas, Pau Gasol scored his 13,000th career point in his 693rd career regular season game. Among players who debuted since 1973-74 (first season of blocked shots), Gasol, became the 6th fastest player in terms of games to record 13,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. Only Chris Webber (587), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (605), Tim Duncan (640), Kevin Garnett (657) and David Robinson (672) reached those totals faster than Gasol.

30 WINS AT THE MID-POINT
With a 100-88 victory over the New Jersey Nets on January 14th, the Lakers improved to 30-11 on the season, marking the third consecutive year that they have reached the mid-point of their season with 30 or more wins. Last season, the Lakers held a 32-9 record at the halfway point after starting the 2008-09 season with a 33-8 mark. Over the past 10 seasons, the Sacramento Kings from 2001-04 are the only other NBA team to hit the mid-point with at least 30 wins in three consecutive seasons. Since the NBA went to an 82-game schedule prior to the 1967-68 season, the Lakers have now posted at least 30 wins by the mid-point 14 times, having also put together one additional three season streak from 1985-88.*

A FOURTH QUARTER FIRST
Trailing by six entering the fourth quarter of their January 12th contest with Golden State, the Lakers outscored the Warriors 46-35 en route to a 115-110 victory at ORACLE Arena. The 46-point total marked the first time in franchise history (shot clock era) that the Lakers have scored 46 or more points in the fourth quarter of a road game. The last time the Lakers scored 46 or more points in any quarter on the road was on November 26, 1966 at St. Louis (48 points, first quarter). Overall, it was the Lakers highest scoring quarter since posting 46 points in the fourth quarter of a 127-99 victory 11/29/07 vs. Denver.

BRYANT 51 POINTS SHY OF HAKEEM OLAJUWON FOR 8th ON THE NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST

With 21 points 1/19 at Dallas, Kobe Bryant moved to within 51 points of Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for 8th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Earlier this month, with a running jumper at the 1:09 mark of the third quarter 1/7 vs. New Orleans, Kobe Bryant moved past Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 9th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Just days earlier, also at STAPLES Center 1/4 vs. Detroit, Bryant connected on a driving lay-up in the third quarter to move past Dominique Wilkins (26,668) for 10th. Should he continue to score anywhere near his current pace (25.1 ppg), Bryant (26,895) would move to 6th on the all-time list by season's end. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant and Olajuwon are Elvin Hayes (7th/27,313) and Moses Malone (6th/27,409). Among the top nine scorers in NBA history, more than half (5) have worn the Lakers uniform (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant).

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. Earlier this season, with 23 points at Chicago (12/10/10), he passed John Havlicek (26,395) for 11th. Last season, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West's retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).

KOBE BRYANT LEADS ALL PLAYERS AFTER 4th ROUND OF ALL-STAR BALLOTING

On January 13th, the NBA announced its FOURTH and final returns update of 2011 NBA All-Star balloting before the official starting lineup announcement January 27th live at 7:00 pm EST on TNT. Kobe Bryant (1,757,216) continues to LEAD all players in All-Star voting, ahead of Dwight Howard (1,537,619) and LeBron James (1,518,807). Pau Gasol (851,456), who made his third All-Star team last season as a reserve, ranks 3rd among forwards in the West behind Kevin Durant (1,270,729) and Carmelo Anthony (945,720). Andrew Bynum (660,576) ranks 2nd among West centers behind Yao Ming (928,928), while Chris Paul (949,049) ranks 2nd among West guards behind Bryant. In the East, James and Amar'e Stoudemire (1,143,391) lead the forward voting, Dwyane Wade (1,499,768) and Derrick Rose (1,225,575) are the top two vote-getters at guard and Howard leads all East centers in balloting.

In each of the last three seasons, Bryant has led the Western Conference in all-star balloting. Last season, Bryant received 2,456,224 votes, finishing second overall to Cleveland's LeBron James (2,549,693). In 2008-09, he accumulated 2,805,397 votes, finishing third in overall balloting behind Dwight Howard (3,150,181) and James (2,940,823). In 2007-08, Bryant garnered 2,004,940 votes to finish fourth in overall voting behind Kevin Garnett (2,399,148), James (2,108,831) and Howard (2,066,991). In 2006-07, when he earned his second All-Star MVP, Bryant finished third overall in balloting behind James and Yao Ming. A three-time All-Star MVP (2002 Philadelphia, 2007 Las Vegas, 2009 Phoenix), Bryant is a 12-time All-Star and had started 11 consecutive All-Star games before missing last year's contest due to a sprained left ankle. Bryant, who was the youngest All-Star in NBA history in 1998, led all players in NBA All-Star balloting in 2003. Gasol has made three All-Star appearances (2006, 2009, 2010) and in 2009, became the 27th Laker in franchise history to be named to an All-Star team.

IRON MAN
Entering the Lakers game at Denver, Derek Fisher has played in 457 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005, the longest consecutive games streak among all active NBA players. Fisher moved into the top position after Portland's Andre Miller (632) missed the Blazers game against Phoenix (12/7/10) due to NBA suspension. Additionally, Fisher has started 335 consecutive regular season games dating back to January 15, 2007, tops among all active players by more than a season's worth of games (2nd – Luis Scola). Former Laker A.C. Green holds the NBA record for most consecutive games played with 1,192 dating from 11/19/86 – 4/18/01 while a member of the Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.





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