DENVER – Andrew Bynum scored 22 points, Kobe Bryant added 20 and the Los Angeles Lakers opened a season-high six-game trip with a 93-89 victory over the weary Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Al Harrington missed a 3-point attempt with 2 seconds left that would have put Denver ahead.
Pau Gasol added 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Lakers, who won for the third time in 10 road games this season and prevailed in Denver for only the second time in their last seven trips to the Pepsi Center.
The Lakers took control after Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov rolled his left ankle while scoring a bucket early in the second half. He was helped to the locker room by Chris Andersen and Julyan Stone without putting any pressure on his left foot and didn't return. The Nuggets said X-rays were negative.
Two minutes later, Denver's leading scorer, Danilo Gallinari, was accidentally poked in his left eye by Metta World Peace and retreated to the locker room for a few minutes to replace his contact while the Lakers put the finishing touches on a 10-2 run.
Gallinari was held to six points on 1-of-9 shooting and watched from the bench for the final 6 minutes as the Nuggets turned to their deep and balanced bench. Harrington, who led Denver with 24 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers that got them to 84-83 with 4 minutes remaining.
It stayed tight until the final minute, and Nene's slam with 28 seconds left cut the Lakers' lead to 91-89.
Bynum missed a dunk with 11 seconds left, and after the officials reviewed the tape, they overturned their initial ruling that the ball went off a Nuggets player and out of bounds.
As Andre Miller was about to inbound the ball, the Nuggets called a full timeout. Miller then got the ball in to Ly Lawson, who passed to Harrington, whose long-range attempt was off the mark.
Matt Barnes was fouled on the rebound and sank two free throws with two-tenths of a second left.
Usually, it's the Lakers who are wearied after flying into Denver on the red-eye after playing the night before in L.A., and the Nuggets who are well-rested.
Not this time.
The Lakers were hunkered down in snowy Denver Thursday night while the Nuggets were beating the Clippers by 21 points at the Staples Center and then flying back to Denver, which was getting hit by a storm that dumped more than a foot on snow on the Mile High City.
It showed as the Lakers negated the Nuggets' superior speed by getting back on defense often enough to keep the game from turning into a track meet.
Behind Bynum's 15 first-half points, the Lakers took a 44-41 lead into the locker room after stifling both Denver's fast-break and Gallinari, who averages 17.5 points but scored just two in the first half, on free throws in the final minute.
It was noted before the game that Nuggets coach George Karl finally had a roster with enough big men to match up to the Lakers' size, but he said he wanted nothing to do with a matchup like that.
"This team goes to the post as much as anybody in basketball. I don't want to try to beat them power vs. power, I want to go speed. I want pace vs. power," Karl said. "We're always going to try to outrun them."
The Nuggets took their first lead, at 47-46, on Gallinari's 3-pointer with 10:34 left in the third quarter, and a half-minute later Mozgov went up for a bucket that made it 49-46 and immediately hit the floor in excruciating pain as the Pepsi Center got quiet. He was replaced by Harrington.
When Gallinari went out, he was replaced by forward Corey Brewer, and Bryant capitalized with six quick points until Gallinari returned to the floor. The Lakers used a 10-2 spurt to take control at 56-51 and they never trailed again.
The game finally turned up-tempo late in the third quarter, but the Nuggets didn't ever regain the lead.
Notes: Brown said he didn't think PG Steve Blake would play on the Lakers' trip. He is out with broken cartilage in his ribs. ... Brewer returned to action after missing the Clippers game to deal with a personal issue.