Bryant haul helps Lakers hold off Denver rally

Bryant haul helps Lakers hold off Denver rally

Bryant haul helps Lakers hold off Denver rally

Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar guard Kobe Bryant (24) had 38 points in his team’s Game 2 win over the Nuggets. REUTERS photo

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 38 points as the Los Angeles Lakers held off a late fightback by the Denver Nuggets to win 104-100 on May 1 and take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference quarter-final series.

The Lakers, who had overpowered their opponents 103-88 in the series opener, briefly led by 19 points with All-Star Bryant in sizzling form before the Nuggets clawed their way back to trail by just four with a little under two minutes left.

However, point guard Ramon Sessions gave the home team some welcome breathing space with a floating jump shot to put Los Angeles 100-94 ahead and they held on to maintain control in the best-of-seven series.

Sessions finished with 14 points while the two seven-footers, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, weighed in with 27 and 13 points respectively.

Guard Ty Lawson led the way for the fast-paced but relatively inexperienced Nuggets with 25 points and forward Kenneth Faried contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The series shifts to the high altitude of Denver for Game Three on Friday and Game Four on Sunday.
“I wish the fight we showed tonight would have happened in Game One,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “Because of that, we’re down 2-0. If we would have fought like this in Game One, maybe we would have found a way to win Game Two.”

Lawson paid tribute to Bryant.

“He was hitting tough shots,” he said of Bryant, who was 12-of-20 from the field. “We played better defense but he was on fire. Sometimes you can’t do anything about it when he’s hitting shots like that.”

While Bynum was repeatedly double-teamed by Denver after recording a triple-double in Game One, Bryant took advantage of the extra space available to him in offense.

“It’s tough when you play against us because there are legitimately three guys on the post that you have to double-team,” he said, referring also to Bynum and Gasol. “For Andrew, he’s continuing to get better at it and making great reads which is going to help us tremendously. He expects greatness out of himself.”