Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/27/12
DENVER -- Kobe Bryant got his points, but the young Denver Nuggets got the win. Corey Brewer tied a career high with 27 points, Kenneth Faried had 21 points and 15 rebounds, and the Nuggets overcame another big night from Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 126-114 Wednesday night. Bryant scored 40 points, extending his streak of scoring 30 or more points to 10 games. Even so, the Lakers' five-game winning streak ended. "Tonight it seemed like we were just a step slow, seemed like we were stuck in mud," Bryant said. "We played old. They played with a lot of energy, a lot of youth, got up and down. It just seemed we were in a lower gear." The Nuggets looked as if they were turbocharged, even though they had just 14 fast-break points. They ran constantly and pushed the pace, a strategy that helped them break out of their 3-point shooting woes. A week after setting an NBA record for futility by missing all 22 of their 3-point attempts against the Portland Trail Blazers, they hit 11 of 15 in the second half against the Lakers. "It was just a matter of time," Brewer said. "We stayed confident. We missed a lot of shots that went in and out the last few weeks." The Nuggets had six players in double digits, but Brewer set the pace, going 6-for-7 from 3-point range, all in the second half. Andre Iguodala finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Ty Lawson had 17 points, 14 assists and no turnovers in 34 minutes. "We were just knocking down shots, and our big men were getting wide-open dunks," Lawson said. "They helped me out with that." Faried, a 6-foot-8 forward, displayed boundless energy and fearless play. He secured his 12th double-double of the year midway through the second quarter. Despite giving up 3 inches to Dwight Howard and 4 inches to Pau Gasol, Faried played near the rim and outworked them for offensive rebounds. The frustration boiled over when Howard delivered a hard foul on Faried with 5:02 left in the third quarter. Howard was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected. "He saw my eyes. I wasn't going to back down, I wasn't going to try to float it, I was going to try to dunk on him," Faried said. "He saw it, that's why he put his hand directly in my face. That's when I say, 'Dang, I wish I would have jumped higher.'" Faried hit one free throw that sparked the Nuggets on a 7-0 run that gave them an 84-72 lead. "I was going for the ball and he kept going up, so obviously when you miss the ball and you hit a part of somebody else's body ... it's going to look extremely bad," Howard said. "I was surprised it was a Flagrant 2. I could see it being a flagrant foul because it was a pretty hard foul, but for me to get ejected from the game, I don't think it was called for." Bryant tried to keep it close with 11 third-quarter points, but a layup by Iguodala and Brewer's running 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Denver a 96-87 edge heading to the fourth. The lead quickly grew to 15 on Andre Miller's driving layup and 3-pointers by Brewer and Iguodala, but the Lakers stuck around. Bryant was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws, then answered a 3 by Danilo Gallinari with one of his own as Los Angeles pulled within 113-106. After Lakers forward Metta World Peace missed a layup that would have made it a five-point game, Gallinari drained another 3. Faried hit a layup with 3:15 left to make it 118-106, and the Nuggets held on from there. NOTES: Bryant has a 10-game streak of 30-plus-point games for the third time in his career. Michael Jordan and Bryant are the only players in NBA history with three such stretches. Bryant's longest streak of consecutive 30-point games is 16 games, Jan. 29-Feb. 28, 2003. ... Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni isn't worried about limiting Steve Nash's minutes. He said he would give the point guard a day off from practice rather than trim his minutes to 34 or 35. "I'm pretty liberal about giving him a day off ... and make sure he's ready to go," D'Antoni said. "Is it better to practice him for an hour and a half or give him three minutes on the floor? I go the other way. I think it's more important he plays." ... Nuggets guard/forward Jordan Hamilton was fined $25,000 for a verbal altercation with a fan on Tuesday, the league announced. Hamilton said something to a fan late in the fourth quarter of Denver's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. ... Lakers forward Antawn Jamison, who had 33 points and 12 rebounds in the team's first game against Denver, has not played in four straight games.
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