The Lakers looked to get back in the win column on Sunday as they hosted the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
The Lakers went 2-1 on their recent road trip and the return of Nick Young has energized the team, but the Lakers were dealt a blow as Carlos Boozer was unavailable with a shoulder injury and Ed Davis started in his place.
The Nuggets are coached by former Lakers assistant Brian Shaw and are led by a couple of young talents in Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. They came into this game with a 5-7 record after winning three straight games.
Kobe Bryant got the Lakers off to a good start offensively with a floater and a beautiful assist to Jordan Hill, but Denver matched him on the other end as Faried got a couple of baskets and the Nuggets got an early 6-4 lead. Kobe continued his hot start, making three of his first four shots as the Lakers took an 11-9 lead midway through the quarter. The Lakers had issues with turnovers, but the defense was able to contain Denver and a Kobe assist to Robert Sacre kept the Lakers ahead by two. Turnovers continued to plague the Lakers and the Nuggets were able to take advantage at the free throw line, taking a 19-17 lead with a minute remaining. A Ty Lawson layup gave the Nuggets a 21-19 at the end of a sloppy first quarter.
Some more sloppy play by both teams started the second quarter, but Nick Young would get things going with five quick points as the Lakers took a 24-21 lead. Wayne Ellington made his first three-pointer to give the Lakers a six-point cushion. The Nuggets quickly closed the gap but a Davis block led to an Ellington dunk to keep the Lakers ahead by three. The teams continued to trade baskets and a Kobe post move was matched by an Afflalo three that gave Denver a two-point lead. A Nuggets 8-0 run gave them a seven-point lead before Wesley Johnson threw down a baseline jam to get the Lakers back within five. The Lakers botched a three-on-one fast break, but the possession ended in another Ellington three to cut the Nuggets lead down to two points with a minute left in the half. The Lakers had two good looks to end the half, but Ellington and Lin each missed three-pointers and the Lakers remained down two points, 41-39 at the half.
Both teams traded baskets to begin the third as baskets by Afflalo and Faried were matched by Johnson and Lin. The offense continued to click for the Lakers, but the defense couldn’t get a stop as Denver remained ahead by two after a jumper from Hill. Lin continued his hot start to the quarter with a floater and a foul, followed by a steal and another Lin fast break layup that gave the Lakers a 56-51 lead as Lin scored nine points in the first five minutes of the half. Sacre came off the bench to score six quick points, but back-to-back threes from Denver kept the lead at only three points. Another Nuggets three tied the game and a Hickson free throw gave the Nuggets the one-point lead before Kobe tied it again with his own free throw. More free throws from Hill and Sacre allowed the Lakers to regain the lead with two minutes remaining. With both teams in the bonus, free throws continued to be the main source of points for both teams and Sacre continued to play well as he gave the Lakers a five point lead. A layup by Hickson cut the Lakers lead to three at the end of the quarter, 75-72.
The quarter got off to a slow start, but the Lakers got the worst of it as Ed Davis picked up his fifth and six fouls in the first minute and a half, sending him to the bench. It took more than three minutes before the first basket of the quarter, a Darrell Arthur layup that tied the game at 75. Kobe came off the bench to hit the Lakers first field goal of the quarter. He would follow up by splitting a pair of free throws to give the Lakers a three-point lead. The ugly quarter continued as neither team could buy a basket. Midway through the quarter there were only eight points combined from both teams. Kobe would finally get the team’s second basket of the quarter on a left-handed put back, but the Nuggets matched and a Chandler three put the Nuggets ahead by two. Kobe quickly tied the game with a fadeaway with three minutes left. A turnover led to a massive fastbreak dunk from Johnson as he posterized Gallinari and drew the foul. Beautiful ball movement led to Hill getting to the line, but he could only make one as the Lakers clung to a three-point lead with two minutes left. An Afflalo jumper cut the lead to one and Kobe missed a fadeaway giving the Nuggets a chance to take the lead. Lin fouled Gallinari, but he missed one free throw, only tying the game at 86. Kobe missed the fadeaway with less than a second left. A violation gave the Lakers the ball back, but Young missed the shot and the game would go to overtime.
Both teams missed a couple of shots early, but Lin would make a fadeaway to get the scoring started. Lawson hit a difficult jumper to tie the game. Lin drew a foul on the other end, but missed both free throws and a Mozgov putback dunk put the Nuggets ahead by two. Kobe free throws would tie the game at 90 with two minutes left. Gallinari split a pair of free throws, but the Nuggets grabbed the offensive rebound and that led to a Gallinari three to put Denver up four. Kobe hit a short jumper to cut the lead in half but Lawson hit a tough fadeaway to keep Denver ahead by four. Kobe missed a jumper, but the Lakers got a steal on defense and Hill was fouled. Hill made both free throws as the Lakers remained behind by two with 21 seconds left. Afflalo made both free throws, but Kobe missed a three and the Nuggets rebounded with 10 seconds left. Chandler and Afflalo made three of four free throws to ice the game for the Nuggets as the Lakers lost their second straight game, 101-94 in overtime to the Nuggets.[divide] VIDEO: Bryant Thought He Was A Bit ‘Too Passive’ In The Third Quarter