Nuggets 119, Lakers 108By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Mon, Feb 25, 2013 11:40 PM EST
DENVER -- Emergency starter Wilson Chandler had 23 points, Ty Lawson scored 22 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-108 on Monday night. Kobe Bryant had 29 points and Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. The Lakers had won 11 of 15 to get within three games of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference but couldn't overcome the youthful Nuggets despite shooting 55 percent from the field. Denver took the season series from LA, winning three in a row after dropping the first meeting with the Lakers. Kenneth Faried had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Denver, which improved to 23-3 at home, the third-best record in the NBA. The Nuggets grabbed their biggest lead in the third quarter. Chandler, who started in place of leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, hit a layup and a 3-pointer to give Denver a 15-point lead. Antawn Jamison's long jumper got LA within 12, but a 3-pointer by Corey Brewer and a fast-break dunk by Andre Iguodala made it 91-73 with 3:17 left in the third quarter. Iguodala finished with 14 points and a season-high 12 assists. The Lakers chipped away, getting to 106-99 with 5:16 left on two Bryant baskets. But the Nuggets responded with a 13-4 run to win its ninth straight at home. Denver forced 12 turnovers in the first half, eight of them in the second quarter when it took a 67-54 lead into the break. Los Angeles shot 60 percent in the first two quarters, but turnovers and a plus-10 rebounding advantage helped the Nuggets lead by 13. NOTES: Three technical fouls were called in the first 4:33 of the game. Metta World Peace picked one up 23 seconds in, Howard got one 90 seconds later and Nuggets coach George Karl was whistled for one with 7:27 left. ... Gallinari suffered the left thigh bruise in Friday night's loss at Washington. He played through it and again Saturday in Charlotte, scoring six points in each game. "I didn't think he had the ability to create basketball plays for himself," Karl said. "He was more of a role offensive player than one who initiates offense." ... The Lakers are winning games with Howard and a smaller lineup without Pau Gasol. Howard is being asked to carry a heavier load in the middle and he has responded. In his four games before Monday, he was averaging 20 points and 12.5 rebounds. ... Bryant averaged eight assists in the last 15 games before Monday. The Lakers were 11-4 in that stretch.
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