Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol led a balanced Lakers attack with 19 points and 13 rebounds, as Los Angeles picked up a 107-97 win over the Denver Nuggets.
Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 18 points in the pivotal third quarter, and also totaled seven assists and six rebounds for the winners. Ron Artest ended with 19 points, while Lamar Odom chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds. Andrew Bynum scored 17 and nearly got into a scuffle with Denver center Nene midway through the fourth quarter.
The Lakers, who bounced back from a nine-point loss at Dallas on Wednesday, snapped a four-game skid in Denver.
Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and Arron Afflalo 22 for the Nuggets, who had won four in a row at the Pepsi Center.
Down 52-49 at the half, the Lakers came alive by shooting 15-of-23 from the field in the third quarter, led by Bryant's 6-of-10 effort. Bynum's jumper capped six straight LA points for a 62-57 difference. Odom's layup expanded LA's lead to 72-64 with 4:04 left in the period. The Lakers later pushed the margin to 11 points, at 78-67, when Bryant threw a pass for an alley-oop jam to Gasol. It was 82-72 going to the fourth.
Denver's defense continued to wilt, as Odom's dunk 69 seconds into the last quarter provided an 86-72 difference. The Nuggets never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
With 5:50 left, Bynum went to the basket and was fouled by Nene. The two big men came together under the hoop chest-to-chest, but were quickly separated to cool off the escalating tempers.
Denver led 25-22 after one quarter, but the Lakers scored the first seven of the second, moving to a 29-25 lead on a Steve Blake three-pointer. The see-saw battle continued later in the stanza, and Afflalo's three-pointer in the final minute gave the Nuggets the edge into halftime.
Bryant has 26,914 points, which is 32 shy of Hakeem Olajuwon for eighth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list...Chauncey Billups scored 16 and Ty Lawson 15 for Denver...The Lakers held a 47-27 rebounding advantage.