Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers needed seven games to eliminate the Denver Nuggets from the playoffs last season.
Getting a victory in their first meeting since will likely require a much better shooting performance, especially from the free throw line.
Bryant and the Lakers will try to rebound from the team's worst effort of the season Friday night against the Nuggets.
Los Angeles (7-8) dumped Denver (8-8) out of the opening round of last spring's postseason, winning 96-87 in Game 7 at Staples Center as Bryant averaged 29.1 points in the series.
The superstar guard isn't far off that pace this season, leading the NBA with 27.7 points per game. He's averaging 31.8 over the past four games, but the Lakers have dropped three of them to fall to 2-3 under coach Mike D'Antoni.
They failed to capitalize on another big night by Bryant in Wednesday's 79-77 home loss to Indiana, giving up the decisive basket with 0.1 seconds to play. Bryant overcame the flu to pour in 40 points, ...