On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like a team very capable of winning an NBA championship. And they will soon get their chance. Playing in Denver, the Lakers dominated from start to finish and pounded the Nuggets by a final score of 119-92.
Sticking the dagger into Denver’s hearts was none other than Kobe Bryant. The Lakers superstar finished the game with 35 points, ten assists and six rebounds in 42 minutes of play. He connected on 12-of-20 shots from the field and all nine of his free throws.
Helping out Bryant on the night were bigmen Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Both bigs finished with 20 points, with Gasol pulling down 12 and Odom grabbing eight. Trevor Ariza, who got off to a fast start, totaled 17 point on the night.
For Denver, the struggles were on both ends of the court. They couldn’t slow the Lakers and they had trouble scoring on the other end. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 25 points, but he hit only 6-of-17 from the floor. Chauncey Billups also struggled from the field, hitting 2-of-7 shots. Off the bench, J.R. Smith was arguably Denver’s best player. The young Nugget had 24 points in 32 minutes.
While the Nuggets now grab their fishing gear, the Lakers will sit back to see whether the Orlando Magic or the Cleveland Cavaliers advance to the 2009 NBA Finals from the Eastern Conference.