By: Kristian Winfield
November 12th, 2010
The Lakers’ winning streak came to an end last night when the Denver Nuggets handed them a six-point loss at the Pepsi Center.
The matchup went back and forth, no team making a distinct run until midway through the third quarter when the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant, knocked down back-to-back trey-balls to give Los Angeles an 11-point lead. But whenever Denver needs a Big Shot, they go to Chauncey Billups, who matched Bryant’s three and made it a single-digit game again.
To start the 4th quarter, the Nuggets went on a 10-0 run, tying the game at 91. But once again, Kobe was able to silence the Nuggets, knocking down a three, followed by a Shannon Brown putback dunk. When asked about his team’s 4th quarter play, Coach Phil Jackson said two words:
The Lakers had five turnovers in the period, and was outscored by the Nuggets; 33-19. 11 of Nuggets’ guard Ty Lawson’s 17 points came in that fourth quarter, as well as both of J.R. Smith’s 3-pointers.
But the biggest factor in the game was Carmelo Anthony, who, despite all the trade talk, still put up 32 points on 14-of-25 shooting, and 13 rebounds. The rest of the scoring load was carried by four other Nuggets (Billups, Smith, Nene, and Lawson) who each scored in double digits. Rookie Gary Forbes also scored 6-points including a crucial layup in their fourth quarter run. When asked about the game, Coach George Karl put the victory on the size matchup against the Lakers.
“When we went small our speed beat their size,” said Coach Karl.
And his words were backed up my Al Harrington’s pestering defense on Pau Gasol on the block. Gasol finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds, but shot 6-of-17 and had 3 turnovers, 1 of which was caused by Harrington in the fourth.
As for Kobe, well…. He’s Kobe. He finished with the game high 34 points along with 5 assists. But due to a horrible start, he shot a mere 11-32 from the field. Artest also had a great game, finishing with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocks.
There is only one undefeated team left in the NBA. And it’s not the Heat. Nor is it the Celtics or the Magic. It’s the New Orleans Hornets who have been led by their sensational point guard, Chris Paul, who has averaged 17.9 points, 9.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game. If they keep this play up, the Hornets might actually make the playoffs in the Western Conference this year. As for the Lakers, they still have their eyes set on winning 70 games this season. Though they lost last night, they are still on pace to do so. And once Andrew Bynum returns, the West might be looking at a different kind of monster this season.
*Shannon Brown finished with 19 points off the bench on 7-of-14 shooting.