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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- LA LAKERS 24 19 30 14 87 DENVER 22 24 25 15 86 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: LAL - KOBE BRYANT 28, RICK FOX 17, SAMAKI WALKER 14 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 25, VOSHON LENARD 22, AVERY JOHNSON 13

HIGH REBOUND: LAL - SAMAKI WALKER 11, KOBE BRYANT 8 DEN - SCOTT WILLIAMS 10, RAEF LAFRENTZ 8

HIGH ASSISTS: LAL - RICK FOX 6, KOBE BRYANT 3 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 8, VOSHON LENARD 6

ATT: 17,932


Extended Box

LA LAKERS (87) AT DENVER (86)

LA LAKERS REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

FOX F 35 7-12 0-0 2 5 7 6 2 2 2 17 MADSEN F 21 2-5 1-2 2 3 5 2 1 0 0 5 WALKER C 41 4-9 6-8 3 8 11 2 2 2 2 14 BRYANT G 36 11-22 6-7 3 5 8 3 2 3 3 28 FISHER G 25 2-8 0-0 0 0 0 2 4 0 1 5 MEDVEDENKO 7 2-6 0-0 4 0 4 0 1 1 0 4 HORRY 15 0-3 0-0 0 3 3 1 2 0 2 0 HUNTER 23 1-7 0-0 0 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 GEORGE 25 2-7 4-4 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 9 RICHMOND 12 1-3 0-0 0 4 4 2 1 1 1 3 MCCOY DNP - COACH'S DECISION SHAW DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 32-82 17-21 14 30 44 21 17 10 13 87 (.390) (.810) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 13(9 PTS)

DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

POSEY F 29 2-6 0-0 1 4 5 2 4 1 1 5 WILLIAMS F 26 2-6 3-4 3 7 10 0 3 0 1 7 LAFRENTZ C 35 3-11 0-0 2 6 8 1 4 1 2 6 LENARD G 29 8-13 2-4 1 2 3 6 2 0 2 22 VAN EXEL G 34 9-19 4-6 0 1 1 8 1 0 4 25 BOWEN 26 0-1 2-2 0 3 3 0 2 1 1 2 G MCCLOUD 25 0-3 0-0 0 2 2 1 2 0 3 0 JOHNSON 15 5-12 3-4 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 13 CHEANEY 21 3-4 0-0 1 6 7 1 1 0 1 6 HAMILTON DNP - COACH'S DECISION SATTERFIELD DNP - COACH'S DECISION SCOTT DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 32-75 14-20 8 31 39 20 20 3 16 86 (.427) (.700) TEAM REBS: 13 TOTAL TO: 16(17 PTS)

LA LAKERS 24 19 30 14 - 87 DENVER 22 24 25 15 - 86

BLOCKED SHOTS: LA LAKERS - FOX 2, WALKER 2, RICHMOND, HUNTER, FISHER, GEORGE. DENVER - LAFRENTZ 4, POSEY, CHEANEY, LENARD. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: LA LAKERS 6-13 (.462), FOX 3-5, FISHER 1-2, HORRY 0-1, HUNTER 0-2, GEORGE 1-2, RICHMOND 1-1. DENVER 8-18 (.444), POSEY 1-2, LAFRENTZ 0-3, LENARD 4-5, VAN EXEL 3-6, G MCCLOUD 0-1, JOHNSON 0-1. TECHNICALS: LA LAKERS - DELAY OF GAME, DENVER - VAN EXEL. OFFICIALS: DICK BAVETTA, LEON WOOD, GARY BENSON. A - 17,932. T - 2:09.


Box Score

LA LAKERS (87) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Fox 35 7-12 0-0 2-7 6 2 17 Madsen 21 2-5 1-2 2-5 2 1 5 Walker 41 4-9 6-8 3-11 2 2 14 Bryant 36 11-22 6-7 3-8 3 2 28 Fisher 25 2-8 0-0 0-0 2 4 5 Medvedenko 7 2-6 0-0 4-4 0 1 4 Horry 15 0-3 0-0 0-3 1 2 0 Hunter 23 1-7 0-0 0-1 2 2 2 George 25 2-7 4-4 0-1 1 0 9 Richmond 12 1-3 0-0 0-4 2 1 3 Mccoy DNP - coach's decision Shaw DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-82 17-21 14-44 21 17 87 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.390, FT-.810. 3-Point Goals: 6-13, .462 (Fox 3-5, Fisher 1-2, Horry 0-1, Hunter 0-2, George 1-2, Richmond 1-1). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 8 (Fox 2, Walker 2, Richmond, Hunter, Fisher, George). Turnovers: 13 (Bryant 3, Fox 2, Horry 2, Hunter 2, Walker 2, Fisher, Richmond). Steals: 10 (Bryant 3, Fox 2, Walker 2, Hunter, Medvedenko, Richmond).

DENVER (86) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Posey 29 2-6 0-0 1-5 2 4 5 Williams 26 2-6 3-4 3-10 0 3 7 Lafrentz 35 3-11 0-0 2-8 1 4 6 Lenard 29 8-13 2-4 1-3 6 2 22 Van Exel 34 9-19 4-6 0-1 8 1 25 Bowen 26 0-1 2-2 0-3 0 2 2 G Mccloud 25 0-3 0-0 0-2 1 2 0 Johnson 15 5-12 3-4 0-0 1 1 13 Cheaney 21 3-4 0-0 1-7 1 1 6 Hamilton DNP - coach's decision Satterfield DNP - coach's decision Scott DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-75 14-20 8-39 20 20 86 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.427, FT-.700. 3-Point Goals: 8-18, .444 (Posey 1-2, Lafrentz 0-3, Lenard 4-5, Van Exel 3-6, G Mccloud 0-1, Johnson 0-1). Team rebounds: 13. Blocked shots: 7 (Lafrentz 4, Posey, Cheaney, Lenard). Turnovers: 16 (Van Exel 4, G Mccloud 3, Lafrentz 2, Lenard 2, Bowen, Cheaney, Johnson, Posey, Williams). Steals: 3 (Bowen, Lafrentz, Posey). ____________________________________________ La Lakers 24 19 30 14 - 87 Denver 22 24 25 15 - 86 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: La Lakers 1 (Delay Of Game, 6:14 3rd). Denver 1 (Van Exel, 1:37 1st). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 17,932. T: 2:09. Officials: Dick Bavetta, Leon Wood, Gary Benson.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant is trying to fill the offensive hole left by Shaquille O'Neal and do his part on the boards as well.

Bryant scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half and grabbed two huge offensive rebounds in the final two minutes to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to an 87-86 victory over the struggling Denver Nuggets.

Bryant is more than capable of picking up the offensive slack for the 7-2 O'Neal, who has missed the last five games with a bad toe. No one can match the 330-pound O'Neal's dominant rebounding presence, but the 6-7 Bryant's efforts crashing the boards helped the Lakers escape the Pepsi Center with a win.

Bryant scored 14 points in the third quarter, but Denver went on a 13-4 run bridging the final two periods and had an 86-82 lead before Bryant nailed a turnaround jumper with 2:12 left.

Bryant misfired on his next attempt but grabbed the rebound and dished to Samaki Walker, who was fouled with 95 seconds left and made 1-of-2 free throws.

"We just gave up too many second-chance points," Denver coach Mike Evans said. "We can't survive doing that against the Lakers down the stretch. We are going to hit ourselves tomorrow when we watch the film."

After a shot by Denver's Nick Van Exel barely grazed the rim, Bryant launched an airball, but the ball hit a crowd under the basket and bounced back to him. He quickly fired in a jumper from the top of the key as the shot clock expired with 55 seconds to go.

"The shot went up, somebody tipped it and knocked the rebound out and Kobe just came from nowhere to get it," Lakers point guard Derek Fisher said. "I wasn't surprised when the shot went in; he can do that."

"Shot clock was low, I just went and got it," Bryant said. "I believe Samaki tipped it out and I ran after it and got it. I just wanted to create some space, jump over my defender get a good look at the basket."

The Nuggets missed two shots on their final possession before the Lakers forced a jump ball with four seconds left. Van Exel won the tip to James Posey, who could not get a shot off before time ran out as Denver lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"It was tough. They played pretty good defense at the end and our shots didn't fall," Evans said. "We all know how Kobe is, he made some big shots."

After making just 1-of-5 shots in the first half, Bryant was 10-of-17 in the second half as Los Angeles defeated Denver for the third time in as many meetings this season.

Fox had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Walker finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who improved to 3-2 since O'Neal was placed on the injured list last Tuesday.

"I don't think it matters because we're not going to play without Shaquille in the playoffs," Bryant said. "Our team is with Shaquille. We're going win a championship with Shaquille and that's all that matters. That's the bottom line."

Van Exel scored 25 points and Voshon Lenard added 22 for the Nuggets, who fell to 3-5 under interim coach Mike Evans. They have lost four of five since Evans was named as a permanent replacement for Dan Issel on December 22.

Denver (10-20) has dropped four in a row to Los Angeles and fell a season-low 10 games under .500

Van Exel and Lenard combined to make 12-of-20 shots in the first half and scored 44 of Denver's first 61 points.

The Lakers had a 71-67 lead with 89 seconds left in the third quarter before Avery Johnson provided all the offense during the Nuggets' 13-4 burst.

He made a jumper and two free throws in the closing minutes of the third period as Denver pulled within 73-71.

Johnson made 4-of-5 shots and a free throws in the first five minutes of the final quarter as the Nuggets built an 80-75 advantage. They did not relinquish the lead until Bryant's tiebreaker with 55 seconds left.

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