Kobe nets 38 as Lakers fend off Nuggets for 2-0 series lead
Los Angeles, CA, United States (AHN Sports) – After struggling against the Nuggets in the regular season, Kobe Bryant has dominated through two games of the series, including a 38-point outing in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 104-100 Western Conference quarterfinal Game 2 win over Denver Tuesday night at Staples Center.
It was the 83rd 30-plus point playoff game for Bryant, who trails only Michael Jordan (109) on the NBA all-time list.
Andrew Bynum added a personal playoff career-high 27 points to go with nine boards and Pau Gasol had 13 and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who never trailed in the two despite some shaky moments in Game 2.
Ramon Sessions, who had been struggling to find the right balance between playing aggressive and playing at a proper pace, chipped in 14 points for the victors.
Though he had never been to the postseason in four previous season while with Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland, the Lakers point guard Sessions stepped up in the pivotal fourth period, scoring 10 of his points on four-of-eight shooting.
Ty Lawson, limited to just seven points in Game 1, poured in a team-high 25 points and led a late charge for the sixth-seeded Nuggets, who slashed Los Angeles’ 19-point lead in the third frame to four with 3 minutes to play at 95-91.
In the final 1:14, Sessions scored four points before Bryant sealed the win by making two free throws with 9.4 seconds left.
Denver lost despite winning rebounding battle 52-48 and beating the Lakers in second-chance points, 26-19.
The Nuggets also outscored the Lakers 60-52 in the paint as they decided to focus all their defenses on Bynum, a move that enabled the five-time NBA champion and 14-time All Star Bryant to shoot 15-of-29 for the night.
The Lakers, who are 42-1 all-time when leading 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, are expected to ride on that statistic Friday when they visit Denver for Game 3.