Lawson leads Nuggets past Lakers
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Ty Lawson tallied a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists to help the Denver Nuggets take a 112-105 decision over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Danilo Gallinari gave 20 points and six boards, while Andre Miller contributed 12 points and 10 assists. JaVale McGee posted 17 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks in the Nuggets' fifth win in seven games.
Meanwhile, the reeling Lakers have dropped four of five following their season-long five-game winning streak.
"They're struggling and it was a great win for us," said Nuggets coach George Karl. "As the game went on, we got better defensively."
Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to prevent Los Angeles from its 18th loss in 33 games.
"You can't let teams start off with 34 points in the first quarter, we're not good enough right now," said Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. "We have to tighten it up, we have to fight as a unit and get better."
Dwight Howard and Steve Nash each posted double-doubles in the loss. Howard scored 14 points and tied a career-high with 26 rebounds to go along with four blocks and Nash finished with 10 points and 13 assists.
Following a Miller layup and a technical free throw, McGee finished a three- point play to send the Nuggets into the fourth with an 89-83 lead.
After the Lakers bridged the third and fourth quarters with a near nine-minute stretch without a field goal, Bryant put Los Angeles on his back. He scored all seven of the Lakers' field goals in the fourth, with his first five pulling them within 101-97.
On the ensuing Denver possession, Howard blocked a Lawson layup, but turned the ball over on the outlet pass, leading to a mid-range jumper from Miller for 103-97 edge.
Bryant tried to keep the Lakers in it with a pair of 3-pointers around a triple from Gallinari, but ultimately the Lakers were forced to foul and could not complete the comeback.
Gallinari and Andre Iguodala helped the Nuggets end a closely contested first quarter with a 9-2 push.
After Gallinari converted a three-point play to start the run, Iguodala capped it by knocking down a triple to give the Nuggets a 34-26 lead heading into the second period.
Denver pushed its edge to eight following a pair of Lawson free throws at the 3:05 mark in the second, but the Lakers rallied to tie the game at 60-60 going into halftime.
Bryant accumulated 18 of the Lakers' 22 fourth quarter points, with Jordan Hill and Earl Clark combining for the remaining four at the free throw line ... Lakers forward Pau Gasol was forced to leave the game late in the fourth after suffering a bloody nose ... The Nuggets dominated in the paint, outscoring the Lakers 60-38 ... Los Angeles turned the ball over 18 times compared to just 10 for Denver ... The contest featured 17 lead changes and nine ties.
01/07 01:02:25 ET