Bryant, Lakers roll past NuggetsNov 30, 2007 - 7:35 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Superstar Kobe Bryant scored 24 points over three quarters as the Los Angeles Lakers coasted to a 127-99 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
Sasha Vujacic poured in a career-high 22 points for the Lakers, who reportedly inked coach Phil Jackson to a two-year contract extension worth about $24 million earlier in the day.
Los Angeles rallied in the second half with an impressive 13-0 surge in the third to make it 68-57. Perhaps Bryant's jumper right before the end of the first half sparked the surge for the Lakers, who trailed by 12 points after the opening period.
With Denver slicing the deficit to 81-77 in the fourth, the Lakers regrouped behind a commanding 24-8 burst to forge a 20-point advantage.
"The young fellows came in and took care of business," Bryant said. "It feels good to go out there and play well. It shows a lot of maturation on our part."
At the 6:18 mark in the fourth, Denver forward Carmelo Anthony was clearly frustrated when he grabbed Vujacic by the neck, resulting in an ejection. Anthony finished with 23 points.
"Sasha did a little bit of acting," Anthony said. "I didn't mean to do it. I hope people don't overact, it wasn't intentionally."
"I think there was some frustration on his part because we just did amazing on defense against him," Vujacic said.
Anthony thinks Vujacic did a good job of flopping.
"I think I'll give him the DVD of European soccer, then he can really see the flops," he said. "I think he grabbed me and I was surprised he grabbed me with the hand so that is why I avoided the contact. They review the play and the play stays."
Last season, the 23-year-old Anthony served a 15-game suspension for his involvement in a brawl with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 16, 2006.
Allen Iverson scored 21 points and Linas Kleiza chipped in 15 for the Nuggets, who shot 44 percent (40-of-90) from the field and committed 18 turnovers.
"You know, we got whipped. We got whipped in the second half," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "There were moments that we were playing better than we were in the last three or four games. It ends up a bad loss but in the same sense there was good stuff out there."
Denver has lost four of its last five games since winning a season-best six straight.
LA LAKERS 127 FINAL
Nov 30 1:14 AM
LA LAKERS 81 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 30 12:35 AM
LA LAKERS 55 HALFTIME
Nov 29 11:47 PM
LA LAKERS 21 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 29 11:15 PM
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