DENVER CO - JANUARY 21: Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot between Andrew Bynum #17 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on January 21 2011 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Lakers Use Strong Second Half To Get Rare Win In Denver

Five different Lakers scored between 17 and 19 points.

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Lakers Beat Nuggets, 107-97, After Third Quarter Surge

The Los Angeles Lakers used a strong third quarter to propel them over the Denver Nuggets, 107-97, collecting their first regular season win at Pepsi Center in over two years. Pau Gasol and Ron Artest each scored 19 points to lead the Lakers, who won for the ninth time in their last 11 games. Carmelo Anthony, who missed morning shootaround for what was termed "personal reasons," played and scored 23 points, but struggled shooting all night, making 10 of 24 shots, and was greeted with boos from the Denver crowd at various times during the game.

The Lakers had an amazingly balanced scoring attack. They had five players score between 17 and 19 points, each one making over half their field goal attempts:

  • Pau Gasol: 19 points (8-14 FG), 13 rebounds
  • Ron Artest: 19 points (8-12 FG) in 26 minutes
  • Kobe Bryant: 18 points (8-15 FG), six rebounds, seven assists
  • Lamar Odom: 18 points (9-14 FG), 10 rebounds in 31 minutes
  • Andrew Bynum: 17 points (7-11 FG), seven rebounds in 27 minutes

Gasol played 34 minutes, Bryant played 32, and Odom played 31 minutes, the only Lakers to play 30 minutes. The Lakers also have three days off before their next game, hosting Utah on Tuesday night, so they should be a well-rested squad. The Lakers out-rebounded the Nuggets 47-27. The Lakers are 15-8 on the road this season.

For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.


Lakers Vs. Nuggets: Expect An Offensive Shootout & Tough Test For Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are the most efficient offensive team in the NBA, but face a team nearly their offensive equal tonight as Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets seek their fifth straight regular season win at Pepsi Center against Los Angeles. The Lakers average 112.1 points per 100 possessions, leading the league in offensive efficiency. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are tied for second at 111.7 points per 100 possessions, only a shade behind the Lakers.

The Lakers have lost four straight regular season games in Denver, including earlier this season, and the Nuggets have been playing well of late, winning four of their last five games. So, it's understandable that C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll does not like the Lakers chances tonight:

With the Lakers in this pseudo-vulnerable condition, there are literally 28 NBA teams I'd rather them face than tonight's opponent, the Denver Nuggets.  Denver is not the best team in the league, not even close, but they are the most explosive, both in temperament and capability.  They have a strong dislike for the Lakers, because in the one season that Denver did not find their self-destruct button by themselves, the Lakers helped them find it.  And no team in the league takes more pride in feeding on the emaciated carcass that is the Lakers in the regular season, and pretending it's the filet mignon that is the Lakers in the playoffs.  The Nuggets recent history shows further indication that we may not enjoy the evening's events.  They've won four of five, with the loss coming against the invincible San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, and three of the Nugget victories have been annihilations of the 28+ point variety.  Their offensive potency is as good as any team's in the NBA, and they take joy in piling on when they're feeling it and the opponent is having an off night.

The Lakers are 14-8 on the road this season, which is the fourth-best away mark in the NBA. Denver is 19-4 at home, the third-best home record in the league.

For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.


Lakers Vs. Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony Included In Probable Starting Lineups

Normally, there isn't much news involved when dealing with probably starting lineups. For the most part, lineups stay the same in the NBA; it isn't like baseball, which is a daily game with lineups that could change based on matchups. The Lakers, for instance, have used just two starting lineups all season. That said, tonight's game at Pepsi Center between the Los Angeles Lakers and host Denver Nuggets has a bit of uncertainty surrounding the potential starting lineup, as Carmelo Anthony missed morning shootaround for personal reasons. Anthony, however, is expected to play tonight.

Here are tonight's probable starting lineups and injury reports:

Lakers (31-13)

Bynum is listed as probable with both a hyperextended right elbow and a contusion to the ulnar nerve in his right arm.

Nuggets (24-17)

Chris Andersen, the Bird Man who has missed the last four games resting his surgically repaired right knee, and lower back, is expected to miss another week or so.

For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.


Lakers Vs. Nuggets: Kobe Bryant 51 Points Behind Hakeem Olajuwon On All-Time NBA Scoring List

The Los Angeles Lakers are in search of their first regular season win in Denver in over two years, a span of four games. Kobe Bryant has continued his climb up the all-time NBA scoring list this season, and could pass another legend tonight, although it would take something from him that Kobe hasn't done in nearly two years. Bryant begins play tonight 51 points behind Hakeem Olajuwon for eighth place on the all-time scoring list.

Bryant began this season in 12th place on the all-time list, but has already passed John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, and Oscar Robertson. However, if 51 points seems like a tall order, it is. Kobe hasn't scored that many since dropping 61 on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 2, 2009. 

NBA All-Time Scoring List
Rank Player Points Avg
6 Moses Malone 27,409 20.6
7 Elvin Hayes 27,313 21.0
8 Hakeem Olajuwon 26,946 21.8
9 Kobe Bryant 26,895 25.1
10 Oscar Robertson 26,710 25.7

Bryant has scored 50 or more points 24 times in his career, and the Lakers are 17-7 in those games. In six of those games he scored exactly 50 points, so in order for Bryant to catch Hakeem tonight he would have to do something he has done 18 times in 1,065 regular season games. Sounds like a dream.

For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.


Lakers Vs. Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony Misses Shootaround, Expected To Play

As the Los Angeles Lakers attempt to snap their four-game regular season losing streak in Denver, the Nuggets got some potentially bad news this morning. Carmelo Anthony, he of the on-again, off-again trade rumors, missed the team shootaround this morning, due to personal reasons, according to Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post. However, Anthony is expected to play in tonight's game, according to coach George Karl.

Anthony is averaging 23.5 points per game this season, down from a career-high 28.2 scoring average last season. His field goals percentage (43.5%) and effective field goal percentage (44.9%) are both the worst in six years for Anthony, who will be a free agent after the season. A rumored three-team trade involving over a dozen players and several draft picks was squashed earlier this week when New Jersey Nets' owner Mihkail Prokhorov pulled New Jersey out of the 'Melo sweepstakes.

Anthony had 32 points, on 14-for-25 shooting, and 13 rebounds in the Nuggets' 116-108 win over the Lakers on November 11, which was the Lakers' first loss of the season.

For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.


Lakers Look To Snap Mile High Losing Streak Friday Night In Denver

The Los Angeles Lakers head to Denver Friday night to what has been a house of horrors for them of late, at least in the regular season. The Lakers will face the Nuggets, with the un-traded Carmelo Anthony, at Pepsi Center, a place in which they have lost their last four regular season contests. The four losses have been unique, each one memorable in its own way:

November 12, 2010--Nuggets 118, Lakers 112: Denver handed the Lakers their first loss of the season, as the Andrew Bynum-less defense was unable to stop Denver in the middle. Dexter Fishmore of Silver Screen and Roll recounted the lost lead:

Losses that involve blown leads are always especially irksome, and tonight the Lakers managed to waste a cushion that reached 14 points in the third quarter. An offense that had been lighting up Denver with crisp ball movement, offensive boards and timely three-point shooting lost focus and direction down the stretch. An 11-0 Denver run, their third double-digit run of the game, put the Nuggets up nine with 2:13 left.

April 8, 2010--Nuggets 98, Lakers 96: The Lakers only shot 36.6%, but were still down just two points in the final seconds. Unfortunately, Derek Fisher tried to take Carmel Anthony off the dribble, and Fisher's game-tying shot was blocked away, sealing the Lakers' fate.

November 13, 2009--Nuggets 105, Lakers 79: A close game at halftime got turned on its ear as the Lakers managed just eight points in the third quarter, and just 23 points in the second half.

February 27, 2009--Nuggets 90, Lakers 79: The Lakers shot a meager 29.8%, only the second time since the 1986-1987 season that the team shot under 30 percent in a game.

Things haven't all bad in Denver for the Lakers. They did close out playoff series wins over the Nuggets in the Mile High City in both 2008 and 2009, so there has been some success there. The Lakers hope to replicate some of that success on Friday night as they complete their short two-game road trip.

For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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