Nuggets-Lakers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 30, 2012
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, but he committed 10 turnovers while Los Angeles shot a season-low 31.6 percent from the field and missed 20 of 43 from the line. "It was just a tough game for us, because we didn't make shots," Bryant said. "On top of that, we didn't make free throws. I've got to minimize my mistakes. Ten turnovers is way too many for me, so I have to work on perfecting that and bringing that down. I just felt like I played to the crowd too much." Perhaps hosting Denver can provide a spark for the Lakers. They've won 32 of the past 38 meetings there, including a 25-4 record while averaging 109.7 points during the regular season. Bryant has 29.5 points per contest over the past 25 overall matchups. He could use some help from Dwight Howard, who is averaging 11.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while hitting only 14 of 31 free throws over the last four games. The All-Star center showed signs of ending his funk Wednesday with 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, but he made just 3 of 12 from the foul line. "It's been a tough stretch for us early in the season," Howard said. "We can't lose our faith. We'll find a rhythm and we'll get in a groove, but we can't let what we're going through get us down right now." Howard is averaging 17.1 points and 13.7 boards in 14 career games versus the Nuggets. Denver is trying to salvage a win in the finale of this three-game road trip, but the team may feel it should be looking for a winning record. Video review stopped the Nuggets' celebrations by showing Andre Iguodala's potential game-winning 3-pointer came after the buzzer in Thursday's 106-105 loss at Golden State. Coach George Karl seemed to stop short of declaring a controversy. "If I put a stopwatch on ... it seems like the clock started early for me," Karl said. "There's nothing to argue about. The camera says it's in his hands." Iguodala, who finished with 22 points, leads Denver with 15.7 per game and is shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range. The swingman is averaging 17.3 points in six road meetings with the Lakers despite shooting 3 for 19 from beyond the arc. Danilo Gallinari, who contributed 20 points and nine rebounds Thursday, may be looking to redeem himself in this visit to Staples Center after making just 1 of 9 shots from the floor to finish with three points in Game 7. The forward finished the series averaging 13.4 points on 36.2 percent shooting while making only 4 of 23 from long range.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

Austin Rivers responds to ‘false’ report about Chris Paul issues

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

Kevin Durant laughs off Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul

Terry Francona wearing heart monitor in case of another 'episode'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit

Nationals minor league team will give out ‘Ode to Tommy John’ figurines

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

Chip Kelly defends Kaepernick: He was not a distraction

Steve Smith faces suspension should he unretire

Report: Chris Paul ‘despises’ Doc Rivers, had issues with treatment of son Austin

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

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

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

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