Game Recap: Lakers Shine In First Half, Hang On Late To Beat Nuggets
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers looked to end their three game losing streak as they headed to Denver to take on a familiar face in former assistant coach Brian Shaw and the Denver Nuggets.

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Kobe Bryant returned in the Lakers last game and seemed to take on a lesser role as he looked to distribute the ball more. Ed Davis looked to continue his solid play and Jeremy Lin had an excellent game the previous time out against the Phoenix Suns.

The Nuggets were led by point guard Ty Lawson, one of the quickest players in the league, as well as Kenneth Faried, one of the league’s best rebounders. The Nuggets came into the game with a record of 13-18 while the Lakers were 9-22.

First Quarter

Both offenses got off to a hot start. Two Mozgov layups and threes from Chandler and Afflalo were matched by five points from Ronnie Price, a layup by Ed Davis and a Wesley Johnson three as the teams were tied at 10. Another Johnson three and a layup from Jordan Hill put the Lakers up 15-12 as the Lakers made their first six shots. Kobe got going with a fadeaway and a three as the Lakers pulled ahead 22-14 midway through the first. Kobe hit another three as the Lakers were on fire to start the quarter. Price threw a lob off the backboard to Johnson as the Lakers went up by 12. The Nuggets went on a quick 6-0 run, but Carlos Boozer hit a fadeaway off the bench to push the lead back to eight with a minute remaining. Free throws and a jumper from Nate Robinson cut the lead down to five. Another J.J. Hickson free throw cut the lead to 33-29 at the end of the first quarter.

Second Quarter

Afflalo hit a jumper but Nick Young hit his first jumper to start the Lakers off in the second quarter, and Carlos Boozer added a layup to push the Lakers ahead and Ellington hit a three to get the Lakers back up by eight. Young attacked the basket for a layup and Boozer hit another jumper to cap a 12-1 Lakers run that gave them a 13-point lead, their biggest of the half. The Lakers continued to knock down shots as a three from Ellington pushed the lead to 16. The Nuggets would not go down quietly as Faried hit Mozgov on an alley-oop to cut the Lakers lead to 10. Free throws from Davis and a Kobe fadeaway put the lead back up to 14. A three from Price and a Hill layup increased the Laker lead to 17 as the team continued to control the half. A three from Johnson pushed the Lakers lead to 20, but two quick baskets from the Nuggets cut the lead to 16 as the half ended. Lakers led 62-46.

Third Quarter

An easy Kobe mid-range jumper started the third quarter off nicely for the Lakers. The Nuggets quickly responded with a three from Erick Green and a Faried dunk to cut the lead to 13, but Johnson hit a three to push the lead back to 16. The Nuggets refused to give up and an awful pass from Kobe led to a Mozgov dunk to cut the lead to 11. But Kobe made up for it with an assist to Price for three to keep the Lakers up 14. Another Price three and a Johnson jumper kept the Lakers up 17 midway through the third. Beautiful ball movement led to a Hill hook shot to give the Lakers a 19 point lead and another Hill layup put the Lakers up 21. Kobe hit Boozer for a layup to move him one rebound away from a triple-double, but consecutive baskets from the Nuggets cut the Lakers lead right back to 19. The Nuggets continued to battle but Kobe free throws kept the Lakers ahead 18 as the third wound down. Immediately the Nuggets went on a 6-0 run capped by a Nurkic dunk to end the quarter as the Lakers remained ahead 83-71.

Fourth Quarter

Hickson converted a three-point play to start the quarter as the Nuggets cut the lead to single digits. A turnover and layup from Nurkic cut the Lakers lead seven, but a big Ellington jumper pushed it back up to nine and a Boozer fadeaway got it back to double-digits. A Green three cut the lead back to eight, but Boozer hit another jumper to keep the Nuggets at bay. Jeremy Lin converted a tough and-one for his first basket of the game as the Lakers remained ahead by 11. The teams traded baskets but the Nuggets remained hot and a Hickson dunk cut the Lakers lead to six. Boozer free throws and a tough Kobe gave the Lakers a little more space as they pulled ahead by 11. Another Price three put the Lakers up 12, but Robinson answered with a three of his own to keep the lead within nine. A fastbreak layup cut the Lakers lead to seven with four minutes remaining, and another Nate Robinson steal and layup cut the lead to five, the lowest of the second half. Kobe was fouled on a three-point attempt and Robinson got a technical foul to boot. Kobe made three of four free throws to put the Lakers back up eight. The teams traded a couple of baskets as the Lakers remained ahead by eight with only two minutes left. Kobe grabbed his 10th rebound of the night to get his second triple-double of the season. Nate Robinson got called for an offensive foul, negating a three pointer and a Nuggets turnover led to free throws for the Lakers. Nate Robinson picked up his second technical earning an ejection as well. A couple of stops and a beautiful Kobe assist to Davis gave the Lakers a 10 point lead with under a minute remaining. The Lakers would hang on to get a 111-103 win.

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