Defense shows up, but Lakers fall in overtime to Denver

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The score was tied 90-90 when Danilo Gallinari made one of two free throws for a 91-90 Denver lead. The Nuggets got the long rebound on Gallinari’s missed second free throw and Gallinari eventually got the ball back and hit a 3-pointer for a 94-90 Nuggets lead with 1:28 to play. The Lakers could not recover from that.Denver (6-7), which has won four consecutive games, got 19 points from Wilson Chandler, 18 from Ty Lawson and 15 from Arron Afflalo.Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles with 27 points, shooting 10 of 24 from the field. Jeremy Lin scored 17 and Robert Sacre had 13 points off the bench.Sacre, who also had three rebounds and three steals, echoed Scott’s sentiments.“Absolutely,” he said. “We harp on defense in practice and just little things like that and when you lose a game like this, it’s tough. It hurts.” Los Angeles had a chance to win in regulation. With the score tied 86-86, the Lakers took the ball out with 15.1 seconds to play out of a timeout. But Bryant could not connect on a tough shot from the corner.“I could have gotten a better one,” Bryant said, “but that was the shot I practiced my entire career.” Denver, which has won four consecutive games, called timeout with 0.5 seconds left. But the Nuggets were called for traveling on the sideline out-of-bounds play.The Lakers then took it out. Nick Young received the ball about 40 feet out and his prayer was not answered.The Lakers trailed 41-39 at halftime, but led 75-72 after three quarters. The teams both went cold in the fourth and combined for just 25 points. The Lakers were just 2 of 7 from the field in overtime. The Lakers (3-11) were without forward Carlos Boozer, who was out with a sore left shoulder.Bryant was shooting 6 of 10 from the field through three quarters, then shot just 3 of 11 in the fourth when the Lakers scored only 11 points. After the loss at Dallas on Friday, Bryant said he had heavy legs. Scott said they still could be a bit tired.“Might be, might be a little bit,” Scott said. “It’s a good time for him the next two days to get some rest, get rejuvenated.”The Lakers host Memphis on Wednesday.Young, who scored just seven points on 2-of-12 shooting, intimated the team needs to take some of the burden off Bryant.“At times, we fall into relying on No. 24 a lot,” Young said. “We got to believe in ourselves. I believe in everybody on this team. Kobe is going to be Kobe. But we have to find a way to put the ball in the hole with everybody else.“Guys are used to going to Kobe for the last four or five minutes and let him make plays. Kobe is going to be Kobe and has been in these situations for a while. It’s time for us to step up more.”Bryant believes the team is improving.“We are playing much better,” said Bryant, who shot 1 of 3 in overtime. “Today kind of felt a little flat. We had spurts when we really had some high energy and got out on transition as of late. It’s not like the Dallas game where they hit everything they threw up.”As bummed out as the Lakers were, the Nuggets were that stoked.“We came out and we played hard,” said Chandler, who shot just 6 of 15, but was 5 of 11 from 3-point range. “We scored when we needed to. We made a big 3 at the end and I thought our team did a great job on the glass.”Denver outrebounded the Lakers 57-50.Timofey Mozgov contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds to the Denver cause. Jordan Hill had 11 points and 14 rebounds for Los Angeles.center_img The Lakers were coming off a 34-point loss at Dallas in which the Mavericks shot a whopping 62.2 percent from the field. It put a bit of a damper on a 2-1 road trip that began with impressive victories over Atlanta and Houston.“Do we have to get better on defense? Of course, we do,” first-year coach Byron Scott said ahead of the Lakers’ game Sunday night against the visiting Denver Nuggets.The Lakers were much better defensively, head and shoulders above the Dallas game, as they held the Nuggets to just 37.8-percent shooting. That still wasn’t good enough because the Lakers shot only 37.1 percent and Denver came away with a 101-94 victory over Los Angeles in overtime before a disappointed Staples Center crowd.“Yeah, yeah, definitely tougher to take,” Scott said of losing after such a solid defensive showing. “Definitely, because the effort was there. Things that we talked about yesterday, it was all there. I thought our guys played hard tonight, did a lot of good things on the defensive end.”last_img