Final

Los Angeles wins series 4-3 (Game 4 of 7)

Los Angeles wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, April 29th
Nuggets88Final
Lakers103
Game 2: Tuesday, May 1st
Nuggets100Final
Lakers104
Game 3: Friday, May 4th
Lakers84Final
Nuggets99
Game 4: Sunday, May 6th
Lakers92Final
Nuggets88
Game 5: Tuesday, May 8th
Nuggets102Final
Lakers99
Game 6: Thursday, May 10th
Lakers96Final
Nuggets113
Game 7: Saturday, May 12th
Nuggets87Final
Lakers96

Lakers 92

(41-25, 15-18 away)

Nuggets 88

(38-28, 20-13 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    9:30 PM ET, May 6, 2012

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 26 19 25 2292
    DEN 28 23 20 1788

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 22 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Den: D. Gallinari 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Supporting cast helps Lakers get past Nuggets and within one win of advancing

    Associated Press

    DENVER -- Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum put up their usual big numbers. Their supporting cast came up even bigger, sealing the Los Angeles Lakers' 92-88 victory over Denver on Sunday night that put the Nuggets on the brink of elimination.

    Bryant had 22 points and Bynum added 19 to help the Lakers overcome a six-point halftime deficit and take a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series that they can wrap up Tuesday night when the series shifts back to Staples Center for Game 5.

    Sixth-man Jordan Hill had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and recently acquired guard Ramon Sessions and reserve point guard Steve Blake each hit crucial 3-pointers in the final minute as the Lakers broke free.

    Those were the players the Nuggets preferred had the ball in crunch time, and Bryant wasn't at all hesitant to oblige.

    "Sessions has hit big 3s. Even when I was out he hit some big 3s to win games. He did it again tonight. I have confidence in him," Bryant said. "If you're observing the game in the third quarter I hit Sessions for an open shot, Blake for an open shot and (Matt) Barnes for an open shot and they missed all three of them. George (Karl), being observant as he is, saw I was (ticked). I was and didn't think I would trust them at the end of the game to knock down those shots, but they stepped up and knocked them down."

    With the game tied at 86, Danilo Gallinari was covering Bryant when a hard screen from Pau Gasol sent the Italian to the floor grabbing his throat. While Gallinari stayed down, Sessions' 3-pointer from just in front of the Nuggets bench put the Lakers ahead 89-86 with 48 seconds remaining.

    "It was a tough pick, you've got to expect that in the playoffs," Gallinari said. "I've got to be ready and play defense. Unfortunately, they hit a big shot out of that."

    Andre Miller was whistled for basket interference at the other end, and Bryant found Blake for a 3-pointer from the left corner with 18.9 seconds left for a six-point cushion, L.A.'s biggest of the night.

    Blake got a bear hug from Bryant during the 20-second timeout.

    "Those moments don't scare him," Bryant said.

    "It's always good when you get a hug from Kobe. It means you did something right," Blake said. "It was a total team effort for us tonight."

    Sessions, whose acquisition from Cleveland this spring led to the trade of five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher, finished with 12 points, and Blake had 10.

    "They got the two 3s to go down at the end of the game," Karl said, "but conceptually what we're trying to do at the end of the game is not let Kobe, Bynum and Gasol beat you."

    Instead, it was Sessions, Blake and Hill that did the damage.

    Gallinari led the Nuggets with 20 points, and Miller had 15.

    After torching the Lakers for 50 points combined in the previous two games, Ty Lawson was held to 11 points and Nuggets big men Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee weren't nearly as effective on offense or disruptive defensively as they were in Game 2, when they combined for 28 points and 30 rebounds.

    Together, they had 14 points and 11 rebounds Sunday.

    Bynum, who blamed his scoreless first half 48 hours earlier on failing to properly prepare in the pregame, was much more active early on, scoring 11 in the first half, which ended with the Lakers trailing 51-45.

    The game was briefly delayed with 1:10 left in the first half when a female fan started walking across the court while the Nuggets were setting up a play. The woman walked several steps onto the court as Lawson brought the ball past halfcourt. Officials blew the whistle to stop the play and the woman was escorted away by security.

    The woman, identified as 20-year-old Savannah McMillan-Christmas of Denver, was cited for trespassing.

    Al Harrington scored nine points in his return to the Nuggets' lineup. He started out with a clear face mask protecting his nose that was broken Friday night by an inadvertent elbow from Bynum, but he ditched the mask in a matter of minutes.

    Harrington missed his first six shots but then sank four straight, including a 3-pointer that put the Nuggets ahead 76-75 early in the fourth quarter.

    The Nuggets, who have hung tough since getting blown out in the series opener, face a daunting task of winning three straight, including two at the Staples Center, where they never led in Games 1 and 2.

    "Losing always gets old. Losing is not fun. I'm not unhappy with my team, I'm not happy with where we're at, but we still have a series to play," Karl said. "I don't think it's an impossible challenge. I think it's a great challenge for this young team. For me, I've been blessed with having great runs in the playoffs and I think I probably have one or two more left in me in my lifetime. I'd like to see it come this year."

    Game notes


    Miller stole the ball from Barnes and drew a clear-path foul from Barnes five minutes before halftime. ... For the second straight game, McGee's mother, Pamela McGee, who played in the WNBA, was seated courtside near the Nuggets' bench. At one point, her son jumped over Bynum, who was whistled for traveling as he found his path to the basket blocked by his counterpart 7-foot center.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    LAL
    DEN
    Points 92 88
    FGM-FGA 39-86 (.453) 39-86 (.453)
    3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 3-19 (.158)
    FTM-FTA 9-18 (.500) 7-12 (.583)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-48 13-38
    Assists 22 17
    Turnovers 14 10
    Steals 4 9
    Blocks 7 9
    Fast Break Points 7 18
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 7

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Denver
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 22
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Danilo Gallinari Gallinari
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0

    Research Notes

    The Nuggets scored 14 transition points on 6-16 shooting in their Game 4 loss to the Lakers. It was Denver's fewest transition points in a game during the series. The Nuggets averaged 22 transition points in the first three games and led the NBA during the regular season with 23.7 transition points per game.
      [+]
    Steve Blake made all three of his catch-and-shoot field goal attempts in the fourth quarter of Game 4. Blake was left unguarded on all three attempts. Blake is now 5-10 on unguarded catch-and-shoot attempts in the series and 1-6 when he is guarded.
      [+]
    The Lakers scored 28 second-chance points in their Game 4 win over the Nuggets. It was the most second-chance points in a playoff game since the Bulls had 31 last season on May 15 against the Heat and the most for the Lakers since 2003.
      [+]

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