Bryant, Lakers rout NuggetsNov 22, 2008 - 7:45 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers are not just winning, they are making it look easy.
Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Los Angeles Lakers built an early advantage on the way to a 104-90 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
Andrew Bynum finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds and Lamar Odom added 13 points off the bench for the Lakers, who improved to an NBA-best 10-1 this season.
"It's just the business attitude that we have, as well as depth," said Bryant, whose team's lone loss came against the Detroit Pistons last Friday. "We understand what we're facing and we understand how consistent we need to be, and that's what we're trying to do."
With a double-digit lead for most of the game, Los Angeles' starters received extended rest as none logged more than 30 minutes. Bryant and Bynum saw the most extensive action with 29 minutes apiece before sitting out the final quarter.
"It's great for us," Bryant said of the rest. "It means we're playing great ball."
The Nuggets, who lost for just the second time in nine games since obtaining Chauncey Billups from the Detroit Pistons on November 3, got 18 points from Nene while Billups added 15 and nine assists.
"The Lakers are playing great," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We're not going to come in here and win playing ordinary."
This one was not very close for long as the Lakers came out sizzling, shooting 62 percent (28-of-45) before halftime to grab a 67-47 advantage.
"I thought we had a really terrific half," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I wasn't at all thrilled with the finish of the first half or the second half. We had a lead and sustained it."
The Lakers built a 15-point lead in the first, before turning it on even more in the second with a 16-2 run. Bynum followed an alley-oop finish from Sasha Vujacic with a 3-pointer with just under nine minutes remaining in the second to make it 45-26.
Four minutes later, Bryant and Pau Gasol converted on back-to-back dunks to help the Lakers grab their largest lead at 59-32 with 4:26 left in the quarter.
"They have a lot of offensive weapons and are much improved defensively," Karl said.
Denver managed to climb back within 11 points with a quick 13-4 burst to open the third but proceeded to go scoreless over the next four minutes.
After Dahntay Jones' layup cut the lead to 71-60, Bryant and the Lakers got back on track with 10 consecutive points. Bryant's steal and subsequent uncontested dunk put Los Angeles ahead by 17, and Ariza closed out the run with a jumper from the wing to go ahead, 81-60.
"I don't think it was easy, we worked hard to get our lead," Ariza said. "We just played our game."
LA LAKERS 104 FINAL
Nov 22 12:55 AM
LA LAKERS 88 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 22 12:23 AM
LA LAKERS 67 HALFTIME
Nov 21 11:39 PM
LA LAKERS 35 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 21 11:09 PM
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