Lamar Odom stepped up with 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead the LA Lakers to defeat the Denver Nuggets 95-89 last night at the Staples Center. In both 2008 and 2009, Los Angeles found themselves responsible for sending the Nuggets back home in the playoffs. Denver has since become highly motivated to prevent the recent trend, winning in their first two regular season matchups and boasting to have the NBA Champions all figured out. Even with franchise player Kobe Bryant collecting just 14 points, Los Angeles featured four other players in double digit numbers to find their rhythm and earn their 45th win of the year.
“Toward the end of the season, you need games like this to start firing you up toward a playoff type of consistency,” said Nuggets coach George Karl. “I think with teams that have won championships and have been there more consistently, there’s more confidence to be able to turn the switch on.”
Denver kept the lead through most of the contest until the Lakers came together for a 12-2 run at the start of the fourth block. Pau Gasol supplied the dagger with 2:26 left with a driving layup assisted by Bryant. The Nuggets couldn’t produce from there, marking a six point advantage in favor of LA at the sound of the final buzzer. The Nuggets are set to arrive in Phoenix tonight to take on the Suns before the Lakers host the Indiana Pacers the following day.