The Denver Nuggets played the Los Angeles Lakers close on Saturday evening, but they emerged on the wrong end of a 96-87 loss in Game 7 of the 2012 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. The Nuggets have failed to advance out of the first round of the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons.
The Nuggets failed to break the 20-point barrier in the second and fourth quarters, putting up 18 and 19 points, respectively. Unlike previous games in this series, the Nuggets won the third quarter, 26-21. Ty Lawson and Al Harrington each scored 24 points, tied for the team lead, but Arron Afflalo was the only other scorer to reach double-digit points with 15. The team shot 39.3 percent from the field.
The Lakers received big games all around. Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks. Metta World Peace returned from his seven-game suspension to score 15 points, grab five rebounds, steal the ball four times and make two blocks. Andrew Bynum joined in with 16 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks. Kobe Bryant had a quiet game, of sorts, with 17 points and eight assists. Steve Blake was strong off the bench with 19 points, hitting 5-of-6 threes.
The Lakers will play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round of the playoffs.