Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/7/12

DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets didn't want Kobe Bryant to beat them with his scoring.

Instead, he did it with his passing.

Bryant scored a game-high 22 points and fed Steve Blake for a backbreaking 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Nuggets 92-88 in Game 4 on Sunday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series.

"He's done it for us in the past," Bryant said of Blake. "His first game with us, he hit a winner against Houston. Those moments don't scare him."

Andrew Bynum added 19 points and Jordan Hill had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who can close out the series in Game 5 in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Danilo Gallinari led Denver with 20 points, and Andre Miller had 15 off the bench for the Nuggets, who are facing elimination in the first round for the eighth time in the last nine years.

"Losing always gets old. Losing is not fun," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I'm not unhappy with my team, I'm not happy with where we're at, but we still have a series to play. I don't think it's an impossible challenge."

The Nuggets are near elimination because of the Lakers' supporting cast. With the game on the line, Blake and Ramon Sessions hit big shots.

With the game tied at 86 the Nuggets forced Pau Gasol to give up the ball. He fed Sessions in the corner, and Sessions drained a 3-pointer with 48 seconds remaining to make it 89-86.

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

Miller was called for offensive goaltending, and Blake then hit his 3-pointer to put the Lakers ahead 92-86.

"I was ready. I wasn't surprised at all," Blake said of the pass from Bryant. "Those guys are so good at drawing double teams, and he trusts us. It worked out for us."

Gasol had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Blake finished with 10 points.

Ty Lawson, who missed a wide-open 3-pointer when the Nuggets trailed by two with 1:43 left, had 11 points.

The Nuggets will need a better effort to bring the series back to Denver.

"There's still a lot of basketball to play," Gallinari said. "Besides Game 1, we had a chance to win all of the games. We know we can win games against them."

The Lakers slowed down JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried, Denver's energy guys who combined for 28 points and 30 rebounds Friday. In Game 4, they were held to a total of 14 points and 11 rebounds.

"The biggest thing is box them out," Lakers coach Mike Brown said. "They run very well, they're going to beat our bigs down the floor, so our smalls are going to have to help out or Faried and McGee are getting dunks. We just said if they throw the ball in the post, guard them. Make them shoot jumpers, don't back up and let them get to the rim."

The Nuggets led by five early in the third quarter before the Lakers went on a 10-2 run to take a 61-58 lead. Corey Brewer hit a desperation 3-pointer to beat the shot clock to tie it, and the teams stayed within three points of each other the rest of the period.

Bryant, who was 7-for-23 from the field in Game 3, made 10 of 25 shots in Game 4. He contributed eight rebounds and six assists Sunday.

NOTES: The game was interrupted with about a minute left in the first half when a fan walked onto the court while Denver had the ball. She was escorted off the floor. ... Nuggets forward Al Harrington played with a mask on his face to protect his broken nose suffered Friday night. He took it off after he played about six minutes. He finished with nine points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. ... Karl said before the game he would keep center Timofey Mozgov in the starting lineup because he's superstitious. Mozgov played well in Game 3 and the Nuggets won. In Game 4, Mozgov had six points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jimmy Butler rips Marcus Smart in post-Game 4 interview: ‘He’s not about that life’

New NHL record set as 18 first round games require overtime

Fred Hoiberg rips officials, says Isaiah Thomas allowed to carry ball

Derrick Rose hangs out with Bulls owner at playoff game

WATCH: Robin Lopez unties, then reties Jae Crowder’s shoe in strange sequence

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tyronn Lue drops hilarious quote about LeBron James’ first-round success

Clarke MacArthur scores Senators’ series-winning goal after miraculous return to ice

Adam Schefter reminds everyone Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded

Russell Westbrook confronts reporter for question about Thunder bench

WATCH: Rockets bench laughs as Andre Roberson misses free throw

Steve Kerr does not rule out missing remainder of playoffs

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB (and that's just the injuries)

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker