(Sports Network) - The unbeaten Los Angles Lakers hope to improve to 9-0 for just the second time in their storied history on Thursday when they invade the Rocky Mountains to meet the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.
The two-time defending NBA champions weren't all that impressive in their last outing on Tuesday but did manage to record a 99-94 win over the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves when Kobe Bryant scored 33 points on 12-of-28 shooting, and Pau Gasol added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
"Shooters take shots and you kind of live with the consequences and it worked out for us," Bryant said.
Lamar Odom and Ron Artest scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Lakers, who are three wins shy of matching the best start in franchise history, an 11-0 mark set in the 1997-98 campaign. The team bested its one other 8-0 start in 1987-88.
Denver, meanwhile, is coming off a 1-2 road trip, finished with an embarrassing 144-113 setback at the hands of Indiana on Tuesday. Mike Dunleavy scored 24 of Indiana's franchise-record 54 third-quarter points in that one during the Pacers' rout.
Ty Lawson had a team-best 19 points, while Carmelo Anthony and Nene each added 13 for the Nuggets, who have dropped their last two games on the trip. Anthony had scored at least 20 points in seven straight games coming in.
"They hit every shot," Nuggets head coach George Karl said about the third quarter. "It was fun to watch. I tip my hat off to them. Truth is, it was a lack of defense and spectacular shooting from the Pacers. Hopefully we will use this to respond well to the Lakers."
The Lakers and Nuggets met in the Western Conference finals two seasons ago, with LA winning in six games. Denver rebounded to win three of four meetings in the season series a year ago.