Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Nuggets hit back hard to go even with Lakers

THE Denver Nuggets evened the National Basketball Association Western Conference finals on Monday, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 120-101 in Game 4 despite a hobbled Carmelo Anthony.

Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith each scored 24 points and Kenyon Martin posted a double-double as the Nuggets claimed their eighth blowout of the postseason but first against Los Angeles following three games that came down to the final seconds.

The Nuggets didn't need to worry about a botched inbounds pass in the closing seconds like the ones that cost them wins in Games 1 and 3, although Kobe Bryant had another monster fourth quarter in a furious attempt to put a stranglehold on the series that shifts to Los Angeles for Game 5 tomorrow.

Bryant, who is averaging 37 points in the series, scored 34, including 14 in the fourth quarter. He put a scare into the Nuggets and their fans until Smith hit back-to-back dagger three-pointers for a 113-96 cushion.

Anthony finished with 15 points, and Martin had 13 points and 15 boards.

The game featured four technical fouls and 84 free throws, 49 by Denver.

'Melo's shooting slump continued as he went 3-for-16 and missed his first 10 shots. Making matters worse, he turned his right ankle in the first half. At the break, he needed fluids and had his ankle re-taped, then returned with a dogged determination.

"It just shows that we have heart and we can play with a man down," Smith said of Anthony's struggles. "We've been doing it all year."

Bryant and Pau Gasol (21 points) kept the Lakers within striking distance. The Lakers cut a 16-point deficit to 102-92 on four Bryant free throws with 3:49 left thanks to technicals on Martin and Anthony.

The Nuggets relied on a balanced attack with Anthony ailing - seven players scored in double digits - and while they still weren't very good from the floor (44 percent), they did work the ball around for better looks, attacked the lane more and got to the line. This accomplished exactly what all those misfirings couldn't in Game 3 - energize the Pepsi Center crowd.

The Nuggets, who haven't lost back-to-back home games all season, were coming off their first loss in the Mile High City since March 9. They knew they blew a golden opportunity 48 hours earlier by trying for the dagger and misfiring on 22 of 27 three-pointers - and after three of the conversions, they gave back a point with technical free throws, no less.

"So, we were really 2-for-27," Nuggets coach George Karl cracked before tip-off.

This time, they shot 7-for-24 from three-point range. One of them was Billups' pull-up 3 after a steal by Smith that gave Denver an 83-70 lead with 10 minutes to go.

"We were tired tonight, it was noticeable because their energy was better," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said.

"But that's not a very good excuse."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend