Kobe Bryant’s and Andrew Bynum’s offense staked Los Angeles to an early substantial lead and the Lakers’ defense helped them fend off the scrappy Denver Nuggets 104-100 to take a 2-0 playoff series lead.
Bryant scored 38 points and Bynum tossed in 27 for the Lakers, who played their second game without suspended Metta World Peace. L.A. led by as much as 19 points and seemed to be on its way to a pedestrian victory before Friday’s Game 3 in Denver.
However, the Nuggets battled back on a 22-10 run to give the Lakers a scare. But with opportunities to pull within a basket, Bryant had a block of an Al Harrington dunk and Denver turned over the ball on a fast break, resulting in a three-point play by Bynum on the other end.
The Lakers’ lead was five, 98-93, in the waning seconds — a safe cushion to secure the victory, despite 25 points by Denver guard Ty Lawson.