The Denver Nuggets have always gotten up for the Los Angeles Lakers, and this year like most years the Nuggets played the Lakers tough – but not tough enough to win.
The Nuggets have lost 3 of 4 to the Lakers this season, but the three losses have been by a combined 13 points. In two of those losses Denver missed big shots late. The Nuggets lone victory over the Lakers is on New Years Day, 99-90.
GAME 1 (Dec. 31): At Los Angeles, Lakers won 92-89
It was the layup heard around the world. Danilo Gallinari had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but missed a breakaway layup and Denver’s last shot at tying the game. It wasn’t just Gallinari’s layup attempt that cost the Nuggets the victory, Ty Lawson also missed a pair of free throws late in the contest and was blocked by Pau Gasol with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
Andrew Bynum returned after his 2-game suspension to score 29 points and grab 13 rebounds. Gasol added 17 and Kobe Bryant was one assist away from a triple-double (17 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists). Bryant shot only 6 of 18 from the field.
Al Harrington led Denver with 21 points, but Lawson and Gallinari combined to score only 16 points.
GAME 2 (Jan. 1): At Denver, Nuggets won 99-90
Unlike the night before, the Nuggets took care of business down the stretch. They scored the game’s final 11 points to avenge the loss 24 hours earlier.
The Nuggets scored 26 fast-break points, while Gallinari led Denver with 20 points and Lawson chipped in 17 and handed out 11 assists. Defensively, the Lakers shot only .398 from the field and missed 19 of 23 from behind the arc.
Bynum did have 18 points and 16 rebounds, but missed 6 of 10 from the free throw line. Pau Gasol also went for 20 and 11, but Bryant missed 22 of 28 from the field and was held to only 16 points.
GAME 3 (Feb. 3): At Denver, Lakers won 93-89
Al Harrington missed the game-winning basket with 3 seconds left, as the Lakers escaped Denver with a win.
It was a season-changing moment for the Nuggets as Timofey Mozgov went down with an injury and he would never be the same the rest of the season.
Bynum once again was dominant in the post, scoring 22 and grabbing 10 boards, while Bryant once again struggled, shooting only 7 of 23 from the field but still scored 20 points. Pau Gasol also had 13 points and grabbed 17 points, while Al Harrington led Denver with 24.
Gallinari shot 1 of 9 from the field to score only 6 points.
GAME 4 (April 13): At Los Angeles, Lakers won 103-97
Playing without Bryant, Bynum took over the game early and often. He scored 29 points and grabbed eight rebounds. It was also the first game the two teams matched up since their moves at the trade deadline. Newly acquired point guard Ramon Session had seven points and six assists for Los Angeles, while JaVale McGee had his first double-double (14 and 1o) in a Nuggets jersey. Gallinari and Lawson shot a combined 6 of 23 from the field, as Denver’s bench once again led the way with Andre Miller scoring 20 and Harrington adding 18.