Inactives for Today’s Game:
Nuggets: Taurean Green, Bobby Jones
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Trevor Ariza, Ronny Turiaf
10:56 Fisher starts off the scoring for both teams, stealing the ball from Martin before taking it to about the free throw line and drilling a jumper that sends a raucous STAPLES Center crowd to their feet. Derek had a quiet opening game so look for him to come out with a much stronger effort in Game 2.
8:30 Kobe gets his first two of the game, confidently shooting over Martin for an eight footer that falls in off the backboard. On the Lakers’ ensuing possession, Bryant nailed a long range jumper that puts him at 2-3 on the night from the field. The Nuggets still lead early though 10-9.
6:41 After a wild sequence of bobbled balls following Gasol’s miss in the lane, the center finally regains control of the ball and throws up one of his signature baby hooks for his first points of the night. Pau also had two rebounds on the night to lead the Lakers almost halfway through the first quarter.
4:59 Fisher ends a mini run by the Nuggets with a spot-up jumper from about 18 feet out following another basket by Anthony. Carmelo is tied with Kleiza for the game-high in scoring with six points a piece. As a team, the Nuggets shooting an impressive 9-14 from the field compared to a poor 6-16 from the floor for the Lakers.
3:25 After a driving layup on the Lakers’ previous possession, Kobe launched an electric fast break for L.A. culminating in a soaring dunk that sends the amped up crowd into a frenzy. Bryant’s fast start is a direct contrast to a four-point first half in Game 1; #24 is already in double digits with 10. His play has reenergized the team too after a slow start with the Lakers only trailing by two now, 20-22.
3:16 Luke Walton enters the game for the first time, replacing Radmanovic. Meanwhile, Najera comes in for Denver.
2:16 Farmar comes in for the Lakers with Kobe headed to the line with a chance to complete the three point play after Anthony picked up his second personal. With the make, Kobe’s total on the night is up to 12. The Lakers also took their first lead, 25-24 since the opening make by Fisher.
26.9 Kobe caps off an incredible first quarter, picking up the loose ball and nailing a three for his 20th point already.
10:31 DJ Mbenga enters the game in the spot normally occupied by the ailing Ronny Turiaf and becomes the recipient of an easy dunk after a a scrum near the sidelines draws six of the ten players on the floor. Anything the Lakers get from DJ on the offensive end is icing on the cake.
9:26 The battle of small vs. big goes Allen Iverson’s way (as it often does, except this time it was on defense) as he gets a love tap from Luke that sends the diminutive guard flailing. That’s about the 147th time this series that that call has gone AI’s way.
8:26 Ring around the rim for Sasha’s three gives the Lakers a 43-36 lead and brings George Karl to his feet hoping to slow the Lakers run. The seven-point lead is the Lakers biggest of the evening. Vladi and Kobe re-enter the game for the home team. Denver counters by bringing back Carmelo.
7:15 Make it 22 for the Bean. The quick spell on the bench did nothing to cool him down. A quick twenty second timeout by Denver after a Farmar up-and-under. George Karl is doing everything he can to not let this game get out of hand and not let the crowd get too into it, but you can feel the momentum starting to swing heavily in favor of the Gold team.
5:43 DJ’s gonna take the blocking foul on this one, but it could have gone either way. Overall solid play for the hardly seen #28 whose doing an admirable job in lieu of Ronny. The Lakers starting lineup returns to the floor carrying a nine-point lead at 50-41.
4:10 Luke Walton strips off his warmups and gets to the scorer’s table in a hurry to replace Lamar Odom after LO got dinged for his third foul. Luke goes with “Turnover” as his opening salvo.
3:37 Melo returns the favor by picking up his third foul of the evening.
49.7 Kleiza goes down hard after being misdirected by Pau Gasol. He continues to hold his right arm as he lays on the ground an finally rises without the use of the shooting arm. Free throw one is a miss. Free throw two is short. For a guy that makes a living on the outside it’s not looking good.
Kleiza tried to stuff home the rebound to end the quarter, but it was contested enough that he was denied and he once again walked off holding the right elbow.
The Lakers 59-49 lead can directly be attributed to the play of Kobe Bryant, who has 25-points on 10-15 shooting, but limiting the Nuggets two stars to just 21 combined points was helpful as well. Both teams are shooting under 50%.
10:53 Gasol gets the Lakers on the board first in the second half after a goaltending call on Marcus Camby. Pau had an extremely quiet first half with only four points after scoring 36 in Game 1. The Spaniard does have four rebounds though.
8:40 Kobe and Gasol connect on a terrific layup, with Bryant dumping the ball into the streaking center who gently laid it in to reclaim the Lakers’ 10 point lead at 67-57. Although Kobe only has three assists on the night, he’s been able to use his hot shooting hand as decoy, allowing his teammates to get open.
7:11 Walton replaces Lamar in the Lakers lineup.
5:58 Jackson calls a timeout after the Nuggets reel off 11 straight points to take a 68-67 lead halfway through the quarter. As usual, Anthony and most recently–Iverson–have come alive for the Nuggets, with Anthony scoring a team-high 16 and Iverson right behind him with 14 points. Camby has also blossomed in the second half, upping his rebound total on the night to a game-high 16.
4:33 Walton makes his second difficult shot in a row, this time muscling his way to layup and one that reclaims a three point lead for the Lakers at 74-71. For the second game in a row, Luke has been a huge X-factor for L.A., reaching double digits with the free throw with 10 points.
2:37 Standing ovation for the Lakers after Walton nails a three pointer in the corner, showing no qualms whatsoever in launching his 13th point of the night. Luke is second on the team in scoring to Kobe’s 28. More importantly, it looks like the purple and gold might be ready to take control of this game, bumping their lead to a much more comfortable eight at 81-73.
2:37 Vujacic and Farmar enter out of the timeout.
1:00 Gasol throws Kobe an incredible sky-high ally oop that Bryant throws down with one hand, igniting STAPLES Center and the Lakers’ bench.
12:00 Odom is on the floor to start the fourth and final quarter for the Lakers.
10:40 After almost making his previous try, Sasha nails the wide open trey after a nice pass by Walton created the room. With the assist, Luke is up to four dimes on the night. Vujacic has nine points on the night off the bench on three of four shooting from beyond the arc.
8:09 Gasol breaks loose and is simply too long for the Nuggets to defend, gently laying in the basket for his 16th point tonight after a slow start in the first half. With the make, the Lakers’ lead is at eight.
6:41 Kobe dazzles a deafening STAPLES Center crowd with his 32nd point of the night after weaving his way from the three point line al the way to the hoop for a layup and one that puts the score at 101-93. Prior to Bryant’s magic, Vujacic showed outstanding hussle, rescuing the ball–and the possession–near the Denver bench.
5:47 Gasol draws the sixth and final personal foul on Martin, sending him to the Nugget’s bench for the rest of the game.
5:19 The Nuggets are losing their composure down the stretch for the second game in a row with Smith and A.I. both getting technicals in a matter of seconds from each other. After Kobe’s three pointer heading into a Denver timeout, the Lakers’ lead is up to their same margin of victory in Game 1–14.
3:42 Kobe continues his masterful performance, driving through Denver’s defense for a reverse layup that ups his total on the game to 42 and gives the Lakers a seemingly insurmountable 113-97 lead with under four minutes to go.
2:22 The legend of Kobe continues to grow before our eyes as #24 drives deep into the lane for a layup and one that gives him an astounding 49 for the game.
2:02 Kobe leaves the game to a standing ovation and another round of “MVP” chants.
FINAL SCORE: Nuggets 107, Lakers 122