Lakers vs Nuggets Both in Playoff Race

Kobe Bryant can score a lot or a little for the Los Angeles Lakers, as long as the team continues to win.

The Lakers hope to put some distance between themselves and the Denver Nuggets in the playoff standings when the teams meet in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Bryant reasserted himself as the league's top scorer, overtaking Denver's Carmelo Anthony with a binge of points over the last couple of weeks.

Oddsmakers have made Los Angeles -2.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 220 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed

on Los Angeles -4 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Bryant reached 50 points in four straight games and hit that mark five times in his last seven games.

But after the Lakers (39-34) suffered back-to-back losses to Memphis and Houston last week, Bryant toned down his shooting as Los Angeles beat Sacramento 126-103 on Sunday, improving to 2-2 on a five-game homestand.

Bryant scored just 19 points, his lowest total since getting only 18 against Detroit on Feb. 8, but he dished out a season-high 13 assists in the Lakers' easy victory.

"I like seeing my teammates being in a rhythm. I like seeing their confidence. I like seeing them smile," Bryant said. "I don't like to see them second-guessing themselves on their shots or hanging their heads.

"So tonight was a big game for them to try to get their confidence back and their swagger back a little bit."

The Lakers shot a season-high 61.7 percent to win for the sixth time in eight games. Bryant took only 14 shots, two days after taking 44 in the overtime loss to the Rockets.

"The game was made a lot easier because we were making our shots, so the floor opens up," Bryant said after his ninth double-double of the season. "It becomes extremely difficult to cover us and we pass the ball so well."

Los Angeles is sixth in the Western Conference, 2 1/2 games ahead of seventh-place Denver (36-36). The Nuggets are wrapping up a three-game road trip after beating Seattle 114-103 on Sunday, snapping a three-game losing streak.

"I don't like standings, especially where we're at," said Anthony, who scored 32 points. "We're just trying to knock these games out."

Anthony has scored 32 points in back-to-back games, but has seen his scoring average decrease to 29.1 points per game. Bryant is averaging 31.0 points.

Anthony also got plenty of help from his teammates in Sunday's win. Allen Iverson scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half and the Nuggets shot 55.4 percent.

"We were somewhat in control of that game and I thought we fought with pride," Denver coach George Karl said. "I feel we are close to breaking out and really playing well."

Karl may miss Tuesday's contest and Wednesday's home game against Sacramento to be with his son Coby, who underwent surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes on Monday in Boise, Idaho. Coby Karl finished his collegiate career at Boise State this season third on the school's all-time scoring list.

The Lakers and Nuggets meet again next Monday in Denver. The teams split the first two meetings, with each winning at home.

Bryant had only eight points in the Lakers' win on Jan. 5, his lowest output in a full game since also scoring eight against Sacramento on April 11, 2004. He scored two points against Cleveland on Jan. 13, 2005, but left that game with a severely sprained ankle after playing only six minutes.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Celtics improving Finals odds The Boston Celtics are showing signs that they want to be in the hunt to win the NBA Finals next season. Do oddsmakers feel the Celtics are...
Thumbnail Warriors re-sign Curry, Iguodala The Golden State Warriors are committed to keeping their championship team together. The team re-signed a number of players last week to improve their odds to...
Thumbnail Paul George joins the Thunder The Oklahoma City Thunderwon the Paul Georgesweepstakes last week. How has this impacted the team’s ability to win the NBA...
Thumbnail Rockets improve Finals odds After making a big splash this week, are the Houston Rockets making a push to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?

NBA Headlines

  • WASHINGTON (AP) A person familiar with the deal says that All-Star point guard John Wall has agreed to a $170 million, four-year contract extension with the Washington Wizards that will start with...
  • SALT LAKE CITY (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Utah Jazz have reached agreements with Justin Zanik and David Morway to join the front office.
    Zanik returns to the Jazz ...
  • CLEVELAND (AP) A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Cavaliers are promoting assistant general manager Koby Altman to be their full-time GM.
    Altman has been serving as the cl...
  • A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Pau Gasol has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs.
    The 7-foot Spaniard and the Spurs ca...
  • MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month's NBA draft.
    Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
    Brooks was ...

NBA Team Pages