Nuggets 111, Lakers 105
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Denver Nuggets won one for coach George Karl. The victory served as a consolation prize of sorts for assistant Adrian Dantley.
Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, Marcus Camby had 21 points, 20 rebounds and six blocked shots, and the Nuggets beat Los Angeles 111-105 Tuesday night to move within 1 1/2 games of the sixth-place Lakers in the Western Conference.
The Lakers (39-35) lost for the third time in four games despite getting 39 points from Kobe Bryant, enabling him to become the youngest player to reach 19,000 career points, and a triple-double from Lamar Odom.
Karl missed the game to remain in Idaho with his son, who underwent surgery for the removal of cancerous lymph nodes Monday. Dantley, who assumed head coaching duties, said he spoke with Karl before the game and expects him to be on the bench Wednesday night in Denver when the Nuggets face the Sacramento Kings.
“The guys did a good job,” Dantley said. “They responded to me and they didn’t give me any problems. We needed the game. I’m sure coach Karl’s going to be happy about the win.”
Lakers coach Phil Jackson was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday, while Dantley, a six-time All-Star in a 15-year NBA career, didn’t make it.
“I got a win against a Hall of Famer, and I didn’t make the Hall of Fame,” said Dantley, obviously disappointed. “I thought I’d be a Hall of Famer today, too. Pretty good victory. But that’s the best coach of all-time.”
Allen Iverson had 20 points and 10 assists and Nene added 14 points and six rebounds for the Nuggets (37-36), who moved one game ahead of the eighth-place Clippers in the West.
Camby reached 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game for the sixth time in his career.
“Any time you get a guy to fill the stat sheet up like that, you ain’t supposed to lose,” said Anthony, who scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“We needed a win,” Camby said. “A lot of people are talking about trying to get the sixth seed. Sixth or seventh, you have to pick your poison—the Suns or the Spurs. We’re just trying to play at a high level entering the playoffs.”
Odom had 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for the Lakers’ first triple-double this season.
“It really doesn’t matter,” he said. “I know I had two costly turnovers down the stretch that I would like to take back.”
Bryant has 19,013 points, reaching the milestone at 28 years, 223 days and in 776 career games. Michael Jordan was the youngest previously, doing so at 29 years, 62 days. Bryant became the 42nd player to accomplish the feat.
“It’s always an honor to reach milestones like that,” Bryant said. “It’s always fun. I didn’t know what the people were clapping about until I got in the trainer’s room.”
Bryant reached 19,000 points by making a foul shot midway through the third quarter, giving him 26 and tying the game at 72. The game was tied at 86 entering the fourth quarter.
J.R. Smith, who scored eight of his 10 points in the final period, made a 3-pointer with 3:54 remaining to give the Nuggets a 105-102 lead, and Anthony’s follow dunk with 2:11 to play put Denver ahead by five points.
Bryant made a jumper, and Smith committed a flagrant foul on Andrew Bynum with 1:31 left. Bynum missed both free throws, the Lakers got the ball back, but Bryant missed a short jumper.
An offensive foul on Smith gave the Lakers another chance, but Bryant airballed a 3-pointer. Anthony then made two free throws with 48 seconds left to clinch the victory.
“We didn’t execute well, it’s that simple,” Bryant said regarding the fourth quarter, when the Lakers were outscored 25-19. “We turned the ball over, weren’t able to capitalize on opportunities, let the game get away from us.”
The Lakers played without Kwame Brown for the final 28 minutes. Brown collided with Camby with 6:59 left in the second quarter and aggravated his sprained left ankle. He remained in the game for nearly three minutes before leaving for good.
Wilt Chamberlain was the fastest player to reach 19,000 points, doing so in 469 games. Bryant became the 15th fastest to reach that total. … The Nuggets played without F Eduardo Najera, who returned to Denver on Monday for a precautionary MRI on his bruised left tibia. Results were negative. … G Jordan Farmar played his second game for the Lakers’ Development League affiliate Tuesday afternoon, getting 20 points and eight assists. He became the first player ever to play in an NBA game and a D-League game on the same day Sunday, and did so again Tuesday, going scoreless with three assists while playing 12 minutes for the Lakers—all in the second half. … The win was just the Nuggets’ second in their last 20 games against the Lakers in Los Angeles.