Kobe Bryant (31 points) and Pau Gasol (21 points) teamed up to bring the Lakers their first playoff series victory in four years, defeating the Nuggets 107-101 to sweep their best of seven first round matchup 4-0. The game was close throughout with the Nuggets finally displaying some of the resiliency they showed in battling for a playoff birth, entering the fourth quarter only trailing by two points.
“My wish would be that we could have had four games like we had tonight,” said a defeated George Karl after the game. “This would make everyone happy. The Lakers are a very good team. There a lot of guys in that locker room that want to win a playoff series.”
After another game that the Lakers controlled for almost the entire 48 minutes, Denver guard Allen Iverson said that his teammates were outclassed in the series by a superior ball club.
“I have never been swept in my career and it’s a bad feeling, but I don’t feel bad about my teammates or my coaching staff,” said Iverson. “I feel like they gave everything they had, they put everything on the line. We just got beat by a better team.”
Even though the Lakers were able to pull out the victory in the end, Phil Jackson said that he wasn’t pleased with certain aspects of his team’s game–particularly in the second half.
“It’s good to be through that series,” said Jackson. “Kobe was hurting us in the third quarter, but he is a great player at the end of the game. We needed a team effort tonight. I thought a lot of players need to analyze how they played in the third quarter. That’s how it will be played in the playoffs. There was a number of things I thought we got a little lax on.
Even so, Anthony said that the Nuggets played their best game in Game 4, but it still wasn’t enough against the more poised Lakers.
“It was a hard fought game,” said Anthony. “You have to take your hat off to how the Lakers play; not just tonight, but through the whole series, from every aspect of the game defensively, offensively, just doing everything they needed to do to win the series.”
“The Lakers were a great team; they threw everything they had out there with the addition of Kobe Bryant on the team, said Anthony. “He had a great series; he led his team to a first-round sweep.”