Lakers Gameday | 05/21/09 | Nuggets 106, Lakers 103

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Denver Nuggets 23 31 26 26 106
Los Angeles Lakers 31 24 26 22 103

Lakers Game Leaders
Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant
32 Points
Field Goals: 10 of 20
FG: 50%
Pau Gasol Pau Gasol
17 Rebounds
Defensive: 12
Offensive: 5
Luke Walton
Luke Walton
4 Assists
2 Points
2 Rebounds
Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum
9 Points
2 Rebounds


  • Lakers 106, Nuggets 103: Postgame 2
  • Lakers - Nuggets Running Diary 2
  • Playoff Podcast #16: Chris Lewis
  • Lakers Practice Report - Wednesday
  • Video

    Post-Game Numbers
  • 44:37 - Minutes played by Pau Gasol, who tired noticeably down the stretch but still managed 17 boards and 17 points.
  • 30 - Combined free throws attempted by Billups and Anthony, of which they made 23.
  • 17 - Straight free throws made heading into the final seconds by Denver until Chauncey Billups missed the front end with 4.3 seconds left in the game. That allowed L.A. a chance for a final game-tying attempt, but it didn’t matter when Fisher missed the shot.
  • 14 - Offensive rebounds for Denver, one more than L.A., a big difference from Game 1.
  • 8 - Shots missed in nine attempts by Derek Fisher, after two clutch threes in Game 1 from the veteran.
  • 4 - Three-pointers made by substitute Linas Kleiza, who barely played in Game 1, en route to 16 points and eight boards off the bench.
    --Mike Trudell,

    Los Angeles Lakers Denver Nuggets

    Derek Fisher
    D. Fisher

    Kobe Bryant
    K. Bryant

    Trevor Ariza
    T. Ariza

    Pau Gasol
    P. Gasol

    Andrew Bynum
    A. Bynum

    Chauncey Billups
    C. Billups

    Dahntay Jones
    D. Jones

    Carmelo Anthony

    Kenyon Martin
    K. Martin


    Lakers Gameday Articles and Updates
    Nuggets beat Lakers 106-103 in Game 2

    LOS ANGELES(AP) The Lakers' 24-year playoff dominance of the Denver Nuggets dissipated over the final 29 seconds of the fourth quarter.

    That's when Kenyon Martin hit a layup in traffic and Chauncey Billups made 3 of 4 free throws to give Denver a 106-103 victory in Game 2 on Thursday night to even the Western Conference finals.

    It was Denver's first-ever playoff win against Los Angeles, which owned an 11-0 record dating to 1985, the second-longest postseason winning streak against one team in NBA history.

    Carmelo Anthony had 34 points and 14 rebounds, Billups had 27 points and 16 rebounds and Linas Kleiza added 16 points for the Nuggets. Nene finished with six points, nine rebounds and six assists.

    Kobe Bryant had 32 points, including making all 10 of his free throws, Trevor Ariza scored a career playoff-high 20 points and Pau Gasol 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Lakers, who dropped to 7-2 at Staples Center in the playoffs this season.

    "To get one on the road is always tough. We came in and got it,'' Anthony said. "We're mentally tough and we showed that in this game coming off the loss that we gave away in Game 1.''

    Game 3 is Saturday in Denver.

    "I think this is going to be a long series,'' Denver coach George Karl said.

    The Nuggets recovered from poor free throw shooting in a two-point loss in Game 1 to make 17 consecutive foul shots until Billups missed one with 4 seconds remaining. He hit the second to seal the victory.

    Derek Fisher launched a 3-pointer from the right corner that missed as time expired.

    Tied at 101, Martin made the layup off Nene's assist that gave the Nuggets the lead for good.

    Bryant dribbled upcourt and got into traffic, with Nene tipping the ball away to earn a jump ball with 18 seconds left. Gasol controlled the tip to Ariza, but the ball squirted away and Fisher fouled Billups. He made both for a 105-101 lead.

    Martin fouled Gasol, who made both before Billups got fouled.

    The Lakers were shaky on free throws in the fourth, making 9 of 14, while Denver didn't blink at the line.

    Kleiza's 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter gave the Nuggets an 85-82 lead, their first since the game's opening minutes. Billups followed with two free throws and Anthony hit two baskets in a row to extend Denver's lead to 91-84.

    Bryant missed a jumper, but he came up big on the Lakers' next possession, hitting a 3-pointer with Anthony's hand in his face. Shannon Brown tossed in a 3 and Lamar Odom made two free throws as part of an 11-2 run that put the Lakers back in front 95-93.

    Denver regained the lead before Bryant's 3-pointer, again with Anthony guarding closely, tied the game at 99 with 1:59 remaining. Billups made two free throws before Bryant's jumper tied it at 101.

    "We kind of changed our fourth-quarter philosophy on Kobe,'' Karl said. "We weren't going to jump him, but we didn't want to give him the 3-ball.''

    Ariza briefly gave the Lakers some breathing room in a tight third quarter by scoring seven consecutive points for a 71-64 lead. Bryant hit a streaking Ariza with a long pass for a fastbreak layup. He got fouled and made the free throw.

    But Denver stepped up its defense and rebounding while outscoring the Lakers 16-10 to trail 81-80 heading into the final 12 minutes. Billups and Anthony had six points each, but the Nuggets missed two free throws in that stretch that could have given them the lead.

    The Lakers opened a 14-point lead early in the second quarter. Anthony began a run of 14 consecutive points for the Nuggets to get them to 51-40.

    That was the spark Denver needed. From there, they outscored the Lakers 14-2 to end the half trailing 55-54.

    Notes: Anthony became the first Denver player to score 30 or more points in five consecutive playoff games since 1976. He had 39 in the Game 1 loss. ... Faces in the crowd included Tom Cruise and his "Top Gun'' co-star Val Kilmer, Will Ferrell, Denzel Washington, Jack Nicholson, Adam Levine and Maria Shriver.

    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


    Frank Hamblen joined us once again to talk about countering Denver's Game 1 advantage on the low block, defending Carmelo Anthony and the importance of winning the bench battle.


    LOS ANGELES (AP) Nobody was feeling luckier than Kobe Bryant a day after rescuing the Los Angeles Lakers from certain defeat against the Denver Nuggets in their Western Conference finals opener.

    "We just kind of got away with one,'' he said, grinning. "It happens sometimes.''

    Bryant scored 40 points, including six free throws in the final 30 seconds Tuesday night, to give the Lakers a 105-103 victory after being outplayed most of the game.

    Call it stealing one at home.

    "It was one of those gutty performances that you have to have throughout the postseason,'' Bryant said after practice Wednesday. "We had everything working against us - mistakes, loose balls, bobbling balls out of bounds. It just seemed like one of those nights, but we managed to pull through it.''

    Game 2 is Thursday night at Staples Center. The Nuggets have lost 11 consecutive playoff games to the Lakers, including a first-round sweep last season.

    "We played 46 1/2 solid minutes, just the last minute or so got away from us. But we can take a lot of things from it that we did well,'' Kenyon Martin said. "We just need to eliminate some of the little mistakes and go from there. That's the beauty of it, there's another game tomorrow.''

    Bryant was forced into playing both ends of the floor after teammate Trevor Ariza couldn't stop Denver's Carmelo Anthony, who owned a lackluster history against the Lakers until exploding for 39 points.

    Bryant started out defending Chauncey Billups (18 points), then took on J.R. Smith (eight points) before sliding over late to Anthony, his U.S. Olympic teammate. Forget asking coach Phil Jackson for permission to change defensive assignments, either.

    "We have the type of relationship where I just do it,'' Bryant said. "Whatever it took to win the game, I had to do. It was fun.''

    Anthony had a breakout game, going 14 of 20 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, 7 of 8 from the line, with six rebounds and four assists.

    "He's been phenomenal,'' Billups said. "For a while he fell out of that whole LeBron (James), D-Wade, Melo talk and I'm happy that he's back where he should be. He's led his team to the Western Conference finals and he's been the best player on our team all year.''

    But Anthony doesn't consider himself the kind of one-man show Bryant had to be for the Lakers.

    "I don't really think it's about me putting up numbers,'' Anthony said. "I'm not going to beat the Lakers by myself. Chauncey's not going to beat the Lakers by himself. We need our bench, our X-factor guys J.R. (Smith), LK (Linas Kleiza) and Birdman (Chris Andersen). We need everybody like we've been doing it so far.''

    Smith sprained his right knee in the game, but he said it was better Wednesday.

    "I'm definitely going to play,'' he said. "I'll be ready for tomorrow.''

    Ariza referred to Anthony's defensive domination of him as "getting served.'' But Bryant expects Ariza will come better prepared Thursday.

    "He doesn't back down,'' Bryant said. "Carmelo had his way with him in the first game. He's not the only one who's had his way with him, so he shouldn't feel bad about it.''

    A day later, the Nuggets were feeling they outplayed the Lakers most of the way but had nothing to show for it.

    "Our heads are still high. We're still standing tall, we're still confident,'' Anthony said. "We did everything but win the game. We can take that as a good sign. We're going to respond, I guarantee you we respond.''

    The Lakers' big men will be looking to make a stand, something 7-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum didn't accomplish in Game 1. They were outscored 29-19 by the shorter duo of Martin and Nene. Bynum was limited by foul trouble, and Gasol had four fouls.

    "Just on defense alone we can be more productive,'' Lamar Odom said. "We were lucky to kind of stay in that game. We know we can play a lot better than we did.''

    Denver's front line outmuscled Gasol, Bynum and Odom. In Game 2, Jackson expects Bynum's focus to be in the low post, while letting Gasol and Odom play away from the basket.

    "He's got to be a power player in there and he's got to be a big guy that makes them feel small and uses his size against them,'' the coach said. "Pau and Lamar can be active enough to do things out on the floor to change the game up. They can pass the ball and dribble the ball. They have to be really mobile and have that attack idea.''

    Denver coach George Karl seemingly took the loss harder than his players. He sat in silence for several seconds after being asked about the game. By Wednesday, though, the emotion of losing in the final seconds had dissipated.

    "I like our chances if you give us a six-point lead with four minutes to go,'' he said. "I'll take our chances winning this series. I'll sign that contract tomorrow.''

    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


    Whether it’s pee-wee basketball leagues or the later rounds of the NBA playoffs there are just some things that are true about this game. The importance of rebounding and free throws are a couple of those things. The effort we made on the boards resulted in a 46-37 advantage for us. We had 17 offensive rebounds which helped us overcome some other problems we were having in the game. Our free throw defense was exceptional also. OK, I know that we can’t count on Billups to miss three free throws again but in a game where we needed a little help, we got it in the fact that they shot 65% from the line for the night. Coming out on the top side of the free throw and rebound battles is crucial for success.

    Carmelo Anthony had an extremely efficient game for the Nuggets and we must do a better job of making him work to get the ball and making him work on his defensive end. One of the plays that they were successful with was their flex offense which they call “BOSTON”. Coach Karl likes to run this if he feels they are becoming stagnant on that end of the floor as it creates some motion for them. They were able to get Carmelo open out of this set and then when we focused too much attention on Anthony that is when JR Smith got open for a three point bucket. We need to do a better job of opening up defensively in order to allow our teammates to get through some of the screens.
    Click here to the full scouting report...


    With their Game 7 victory over the Rockets on May 17, the Lakers advanced to their 39th Western Conference/Division Finals series in franchise history (29 Los Angeles,
    10 Minneapolis). Currently in their 61st NBA season, the Lakers have participated in 64 percent of the NBA’s Western Conference/Division Finals since the 1948-49
    season and have advanced to the NBA Finals on 29 occasions. Since moving to Los Angeles, the Lakers have gone 23-5 in Western Conference/Divison Finals while
    going 6-4 in Division Finals during their time in Minneapolis. The Lakers have won five consecutive Conference Finals series with their last loss in the Conference Finals
    coming to Utah in 1998 (0-4). Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is 11-1 all-time in Conference Finals series (5-0 Los Angeles, 6-1 Chicago).

    The Lakers and Nuggets have met four times in the postseason (1979, 1985, 1987 and 2008) with Los Angeles advancing on each occasion, most recently defeating
    Denver 4-0 in the 2008 Western Conference First Round. The Lakers have won 14-of-16 postseason games against the Nuggets, losing once at home (8-1) and once on
    the road (6-1). The Lakers have won 11 straight playoff games against Denver dating back to 1985, the second longest playoff streak against a single team in NBA history
    behind the Lakers 12-game win streak versus Seattle from 1980-89. The latest these two teams have met in the playoffs was in the 1985 Western Conference Finals (4-1).
    In 1979, the Lakers defeated Denver 2-1 in the Western Conference First Round while they swept the Nuggets 3-0 in the 1987 Western Conference First Round.


  • The Lakers are now 66-29 in best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (60-28 Los Angeles, 6-1 Minneapolis)
  • The Lakers are now 61-34 in Game 1 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (57-31 Los Angeles, 4-3 Minneapolis)
  • When winning Game 1 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 54-7. (50-7 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis)
  • When losing Game 1 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are now 12-22 all-time. (10-21 Los Angeles, 2-1 Minneapolis)
  • When losing Game 1 at home of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are now 8-3 all-time. (7-3 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis)
  • The Lakers are now 55-40 in Game 2 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (52-36 Los Angles, 3-4 Minneapolis)
  • When winning both Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 38-1 all-time. (37-1 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis)
  • When splitting Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are now 26-12 all-time. (21-12 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis)
  • When losing Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 2-16 all-time. (2-15 Los Angeles, 0-1 Minneapolis)

    With 40 points 5/19 vs. Denver, Kobe Bryant (4,055) moved within 15 points of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4,070) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time playoff scoring list. Earlier this
    postseason, with 33 points 5/8 at Houston, Kobe Bryant moved past Larry Bird (3,897) for 6th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. In the Lakers First Round series,
    Kobe Bryant scored 38 points 4/25 at Utah to move past Hakeem Olajuwon (3,755) and John Havlicek (3,776) for 7th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. On April 19,
    Bryant passed Magic Johnson (3,701) for 9th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list and 3rd on the Lakers franchise playoff scoring list. In moving past Johnson, only
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4,070) and Jerry West (4,457) have scored more points in a Lakers uniform during the playoffs than Bryant (4,055). Next up on the all-time NBA list
    is Jerry West (5th/4,457). Among all players with 2,500+ postseason points, only Michael Jordan (33.4), Jerry West (29.1), Elgin Baylor (27.0), Hakeem Olajuwon (25.9),
    Shaquille O’Neal (25.2) and Karl Malone (24.7) have a higher postseason scoring average than Bryant (24.6).

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