Lakers Get Back To .500 After Defeating Nuggets At Staples Center

The Lakers came into this game below .500, thanks to George Hill and the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. The Pacers beat the Lakers on a last-second lay-up, 79-77. The Lakers look to regroup against a familiar foe: their first-round playoff opponent of last season, the Denver Nuggets. It is their first time playing them since they beat them in a thrilling Game 7 (not so thrilling for Laker fans). How did they do against them at Staples Center? Let’s recap!

1ST QUARTER

The Lakers’ game plan early was to get Dwight Howard the ball, it seems. Early on, both teams seemed to get into the paint early on. Then Howard just took over on both sides. The frontline of the Nuggets didn’t stand a chance against Howard.

Not only was Dwight dominating on both sides (well, we can’t say he was the greatest at the free throw line) but Antawn Jamison came in early to help spread the floor for the Lakers. With the Dwight/Antawn combination, Jamison was able to make back-to-back three-pointers. While the Nuggets were still able to score, the Lakers had crisp ball movement and Dwight just pounded the ball inside (and rim) at will.

The Lakers led the Nuggets, 34-27, after 1. Dwight Howard had 16 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. Antawn Jamison helped out with eight points.

2ND QUARTER

With no Dwight Howard on the floor, the Nuggets got to the paint a little easier. But the Lakers continued to score so well that the defense didn’t seem to matter.

Jodie Meeks made a couple of threes early. That prompted some Laker fans to say this.

But how did we know this would continue? Meeks them made a third three. In NBA Jam terms, he was on fire. And then he made a fourth three. That was just ridiculous. Meeks put up another three on the break with Andre Miller guarding him. No problem. Meeks made all five three-pointers in a five-minute stretch. Amazing.

The Nuggets were able to get the lead down to 63-57 at one point. But Kobe Bryant’s playmaking and shooting spurred the Lakers to an 8-0 surge to end the half. Lakers led the Nuggets, 71-57, after two quarters. The Lakers already had four players in double digits (Howard, Kobe, Jamison, and Meeks).

3RD QUARTER

The second half started out really sloppy for both teams although the defensive rotations by the Lakers were a little more suspect. Still, the Lakers were able to keep the Nuggets at bay since Denver wasn’t really setting the world on fire. Kobe was noticeably looking for his shot more, too. He doesn’t need to jack up shots often.

Antawn Jamison came back and immediately gave the Lakers an offensive boost once again. After his three-pointer, Metta World Peace made another three-pointer. The Nuggets tried to keep up but the Lakers’ firepower was just too much. It ended with the Nuggets losing the ball and Jamison putting in yet another hoop before the third quarter buzzer.

Lakers led after 3, 97-82. Antawn Jamison had a game-high 23 points by that time while Dwight Howard had 21 points, 16 boards, and 3 blocks.

4TH QUARTER

This was weird… but in a pleasant way. The bench kept going off, particularly Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison.

Jamison and Meeks made two three-pointers each in the final stanza as the Lakers continued to score on the Nuggets. They were up as many as 21 points.

The Nuggets managed to go on a late 9-0 run but it was too late by then. Dwight Howard stopped the run and shut the door with a follow dunk. He even made a three-pointer to boot and ended with a 20-20 (28 points and 20 boards to be exact), his first as a Laker.

The Lakers beat the Nuggets in a fun game, 122-103. But, of course, it’s always fun when they win.

STAT LEADERS
POINTS: Antawn Jamison, 33
REBOUNDS: Dwight Howard, 20
ASSISTS: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Chris Duhon, 8
BLOCKS: Dwight Howard, 3
STEALS: Metta World Peace and Chris Duhon, 3

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