With a chance to show it is of championship mettle Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers, instead, stunk up Denver’s Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets played with far more energy and much more effectively, opening a 24-point lead en route to blasting the Lakers 99-84. The win cuts L.A.’s series lead to 2-1 with Game 4 on Sunday in Denver.
Telling for the Lakers was that their bench was outscored 39-9, an indictment about Los Angeles’ lack of depth. Denver’s JaVale McGee had 16 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks and rookie starter Kenneth Faried had 12 points and 15 boards to help fend off a Lakers run that moved them within four points in the third quarter.
But Kobe Bryant (23 points on 7 of 23 shooting) scored but one basket in the fourth quarter and the Lakers just did not match Denver’s energy or effort. It also hurt that L.A. shot just 37 per cent for the game.
Ty Lawson was brilliant with 25 points, seven assists and no turnovers for the Nuggets.