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NBA   FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH   TOTAL
                       ---  ---  ---  ---   -----
      LA LAKERS        30   19   24   23    96   
      DENVER           27   27   32   31    117     FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   LAL - CARON BUTLER 22, KOBE BRYANT 18, CHUCKY 
                      ATKINS 10
                DEN - EARL BOYKINS 21, DERMARR JOHNSON 20, 
                      ANDRE MILLER 18

HIGH REBOUND:   LAL - JUMAINE JONES 9, CARON BUTLER 9, CHRIS 
                      MIHM 6
                DEN - EDUARDO NAJERA 7, GREG BUCKNER 6, NENE 
                      HILARIO 6

HIGH ASSISTS:   LAL - KOBE BRYANT 4, CHUCKY ATKINS 4, LUKE 
                      WALTON 4
                DEN - ANDRE MILLER 6, EARL BOYKINS 4, CARMELO 
                      ANTHONY 4

         ATT:   19,866

Box Score

LA LAKERS (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp C Butler 37 10-18 1-2 2-9 1 0 22 J Jones 28 3-7 2-4 3-9 0 3 9 C Mihm 27 1-4 3-6 1-6 0 2 5 K Bryant 39 5-13 8-8 2-4 4 1 18 C Atkins 23 4-15 2-2 2-4 4 2 10 T Brown 24 1-10 3-4 2-4 3 2 6 B Grant 13 0-1 3-4 1-3 0 3 3 S Medvedenko 14 2-6 0-0 2-4 0 3 4 L Walton 13 2-4 0-0 0-1 4 2 4 D George 16 3-5 0-0 3-5 0 6 8 S Vujacic 6 3-3 0-0 0-1 1 3 7 L Odom DNP - STRAINED LEFT SHOULDER _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 34-86 22-30 18-50 17 27 96 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.395, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals: 6-22, .273 (C Butler 1-3, J Jones 1-2, K Bryant 0-4, C Atkins 0-3, T Brown 1-5, D George 2-4, S Vujacic 1-1). Team Rebounds: 11. Blocked Shots:5 (K Bryant 2, C Mihm, C Butler, L Walton). Turnovers:21 (K Bryant 6, C Atkins 4, D George 3, J Jones 2, L Walton 2, T Brown 2, C Mihm, S Medvedenko). Steals: 8 (C Butler 4, B Grant, K Bryant, D George, C Mihm). DENVER (117) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp B Russell 24 1-6 1-2 2-3 2 5 4 C Anthony 31 5-10 5-8 1-3 4 4 16 F Elson 13 1-3 0-0 1-5 0 3 2 D Johnson 24 8-17 0-0 1-2 1 2 20 A Miller 27 8-10 2-2 2-4 6 2 18 Nene 21 1-2 5-8 1-6 2 5 7 E Boykins 28 5-11 8-9 0-2 4 2 21 E Najera 31 6-11 0-0 3-7 1 2 12 G Buckner 20 3-6 2-2 1-6 3 1 9 W Person 21 4-11 0-0 0-3 2 0 8 M Camby DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT ANKLE K Martin DNP - CHEST CONTUSION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 42-87 23-31 12-41 25 26 117 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.483, FT-.742. 3-Point Goals: 10-26, .385 (B Russell 1-4, C Anthony 1-1, D Johnson 4-9, E Boykins 3-4, G Buckner 1-3, W Person 0-5). Team Rebounds: 11. Blocked Shots:4 (E Najera 3, Nene). Turnovers:14 (C Anthony 5, A Miller 3, E Boykins 2, B Russell, F Elson, E Najera, D Johnson). Steals: 13 (Nene 3, E Boykins 2, A Miller 2, C Anthony 2, F Elson 2, B Russell, G Buckner). ------------------------------------------- LA LAKERS 30 19 24 23 - 96 DENVER 27 27 32 31 - 117 ------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: La Lakers - 3 (Defensive Three, 5:04 2nd; B Grant, 3:49 3rd; J Jones, 7:25 3rd). Denver - 1 (Nene, 3:49 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 19,866. T: 2:14. Officials: Joe Crawford, Leon Wood, Matt Boland.


Extended Box

LA LAKERS (96) AT DENVER (117) LA LAKERS REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === C BUTLER F 37 10-18 1-2 2 7 9 1 0 4 0 22 J JONES F 28 3-7 2-4 3 6 9 0 3 0 2 9 C MIHM C 27 1-4 3-6 1 5 6 0 2 1 1 5 K BRYANT G 39 5-13 8-8 2 2 4 4 1 1 6 18 C ATKINS G 23 4-15 2-2 2 2 4 4 2 0 4 10 T BROWN 24 1-10 3-4 2 2 4 3 2 0 2 6 B GRANT 13 0-1 3-4 1 2 3 0 3 1 0 3 S MEDVEDENKO 14 2-6 0-0 2 2 4 0 3 0 1 4 L WALTON 13 2-4 0-0 0 1 1 4 2 0 2 4 D GEORGE 16 3-5 0-0 3 2 5 0 6 1 3 8 S VUJACIC 6 3-3 0-0 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 7 L ODOM DNP - STRAINED LEFT SHOULDER TOTALS 240 34-86 22-30 18 32 50 17 27 8 21 96 (.395) (.733) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 22 (21 PTS) DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === B RUSSELL F 24 1-6 1-2 2 1 3 2 5 1 1 4 C ANTHONY F 31 5-10 5-8 1 2 3 4 4 2 5 16 F ELSON C 13 1-3 0-0 1 4 5 0 3 2 1 2 D JOHNSON G 24 8-17 0-0 1 1 2 1 2 0 1 20 A MILLER G 27 8-10 2-2 2 2 4 6 2 2 3 18 NENE 21 1-2 5-8 1 5 6 2 5 3 0 7 E BOYKINS 28 5-11 8-9 0 2 2 4 2 2 2 21 E NAJERA 31 6-11 0-0 3 4 7 1 2 0 1 12 G BUCKNER 20 3-6 2-2 1 5 6 3 1 1 0 9 W PERSON 21 4-11 0-0 0 3 3 2 0 0 0 8 M CAMBY DNP - SPRAINED RIGHT ANKLE K MARTIN DNP - CHEST CONTUSION TOTALS 240 42-87 23-31 12 29 41 25 26 13 14 117 (.483) (.742) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 15 (21 PTS) LA LAKERS 30 19 24 23 - 96 DENVER 27 27 32 31 - 117 BLOCKED SHOTS: LA LAKERS - K BRYANT 2, C MIHM, C BUTLER, L WALTON. DENVER - E NAJERA 3, NENE. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: LA LAKERS 6-22 (.273), C BUTLER 1-3, J JONES 1- 2, K BRYANT 0-4, C ATKINS 0-3, T BROWN 1-5, D GEORGE 2-4, S VUJACIC 1- 1. DENVER 10-26 (.385), B RUSSELL 1-4, C ANTHONY 1-1, D JOHNSON 4- 9, E BOYKINS 3-4, G BUCKNER 1-3, W PERSON 0-5. TECHNICAL FOULS: LA LAKERS - DEFENSIVE THREE, B GRANT, J JONES. DENVER - NENE. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: JOE CRAWFORD, LEON WOOD, MATT BOLAND. A - 19,866. T - 2:14.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- The Mile High City again has Kobe Bryant's future prospects looking pretty low. The playoff hopes of Bryant and the slumping Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a devastating blow by the surging Denver Nuggets, who ignored a handful of injuries to storm to a 117-96 victory. Two summers ago, Bryant was charged with the alleged rape of a teenage hotel employee at a nearby resort. The trial process began before charges were dropped and Bryant settled a civil suit out of court, but the bad publicity did irreparable harm to his image. After the Lakers lost in the NBA Finals last year, Bryant engineered the exodus of coach Phil Jackson and superstar teammate Shaquille O'Neal. The shakeup left Bryant as the unquestioned leader of a considerably weaker team. Even as the league's second-leading scorer, Bryant has been unable to lift the Lakers above mediocrity. They have not missed the playoffs in 11 years but appear headed to the draft lottery after this loss, their seventh in succession. "Guys are trying out there. The teams we are playing have just been playing better than us," Bryant said. "When we were down by 20 points or so, we hung our heads a little bit. This is a new experience for a lot of guys, as far as playing at this level at a consistent basis. We just want to make sure that everyone continues to learn. We're a young team and we still have games to play." Booed every time he touched the ball, Bryant could not turn things around, scoring just 18 points - 10 below his average - on 5-of-13 shooting. Interim coach Frank Hamblen sat him down with 4:24 to play, a clear sign of surrender. "In the second half, I thought our guys just quit," Hamblen said. "From the first game of the season, it has shown how Denver has journeyed upward and we have journeyed downward. Because of the success of this franchise over the past five years, it really makes this tough. I'm not happy about how anyone played." Los Angeles (32-36) fell 5 1/2 games behind Denver (37-30) in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With just 14 games remaining, the Lakers have to overtake both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Nuggets, who are on a roll. "Bad offensive, bad defensive, bad shots, giving up layups, that is a losing formula," Lakers guard Chucky Atkins said. "When you lose a bunch in a row and progressively get worse, it is tough. It seems when teams are missing a few guys or don't have their starters, we get blown out. We have no cohesiveness as a team." That is not the case with Denver, which has won five in a row and 13 of 14 to improve to 20-5 under coach George Karl. During their current winning streak, the Nuggets have won by an average of nearly 20 points. "No one in the world thought we would go 20-5," Karl said. "The team is playing with confidence and playing together. I didn't expect a double-digit win, but we did." This one came without injured big men Kenyon Martin (bruised chest) and Marcus Camby (sprained ankle). The Nuggets also lost forward Francisco Elson to a sprained ankle in the second half but still cruised to victory as Earl Boykins scored 21 points and Andre Miller added 18. "Our confidence is high," said Nuggets guard DerMarr Johnson, who scored 20 points for the second straight game. "In the third quarter, we have been running away from teams. We were a lot smaller tonight, but we just kept running and hitting our shots. I think everyone feels good, the starters and the bench." The Nuggets held a 54-49 lead and widened the margin in the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Johnson capped a 15-2 surge that made it 76-61 with 3:56 to go. The Lakers were within 90-77 with 10:01 to play on a jumper by Caron Butler, who scored 22 points. Boykins had two free throws and a jumper in an 8-0 spurt that built the lead to 19 points.


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