Ron Artest vs. Nuggets - 11.11.10

Ron Artest goes up for two against Nuggets.

The Lakers blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead, played sloppy down the stretch, and watched Carmelo Anthony pour in 32 points as the Nuggets knocked the Lakers from the ranks of the undefeated, 118-112 in Denver on Thursday night.

It was a game the Lakers were in control of most of the night, leading by as many as 14 midway through the third quarter.   They held a 95-85 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game when the Nuggets went on a 16-0 run to take a 101-98 lead.  The Lakers took their last lead at 105-103 on a layup by Shannon Brown , but were thoroughly outplayed down the stretch, settling for too many 3-pointers, as the Nuggets pulled away late for an impressive come-from-behind win.

Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 34 points, but hit only 11-32 shots from the field.  He missed several open jump shots down the stretch as well.  Pau Gasol had 17 points and a season-high 20 rebounds, but was clearly frustrated by the Nuggets’ smaller lineup employed by coach George Karl for large parts of the game.   Ron Artest had a solid game with 18 points.

The real bright spot for the Lakers was the play of Shannon Brown, who scored 19 points off the bench and made several big shots and plays in the fourth quarter to keep them close.  But it wasn’t enough, as the Lakers fell to 8-1 on the season.

Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 32 points (on 14-25 shooting) and 13 rebounds.  His play was the difference down the stretch as he hit big basket after big basket to help get the win.  Nene had 18 points.

But it was the play of the Nuggets’ bench that got the them the lead in the fourth.  Ty Lawson got the to the rim at will, scoring 17 points with 5 assists, and J.R. Smith, who has struggled this year so far, found his range from beyond the arc and scored 13 points.

The Lakers will try to bounce back on Sunday as they take on Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on Sunday.  The Lakers beat the Suns 114-106 in the second game of the season in Phoenix.

Link: Lakers @ Nuggets Box Score