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DENVER 90, LAKERS 79

Lakers go low in Mile High City.

Nuggets hold them to their worst scoring game of the year as six-game winning streak ends.

February 28, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

DENVER — So much for that Chicago Bulls record.

The reality of an 11th loss was one of many issues the Lakers wouldn't mind punting to the nearest snow-dusted mountain peak.

None of them could make any shots, none of them could stop "the Birdman," and all of them were stuck with a 90-79 loss Friday to the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center.

It somehow went from bad to worse, the Lakers following up one of their worst first halves of the season with a similarly punchless second half.

A lot of shots went up, but very few went in for the Lakers, who were 5.1 seconds away from the worst shooting night in team history, saved only by Jordan Farmar's breakaway layup.

The Lakers had won nine consecutive games against the Nuggets, including an easy first-round sweep in last season's playoffs, but that was knocked aside forcefully.

The Lakers (48-11) obviously won't be catching the Bulls' record-setting 72-10 regular season in 1995-96.

What happened?

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson smiled thinly when asked those two words.

"I'm supposed to tell you what happened and you watched that garbage for 48 minutes?" he said. "That was a garbage game, no doubt about it. I wish we could repay the fans some money for that game. Neither team played very well, but they played better than us."

The Lakers somehow managed to come off a season-high-tying 132 points Thursday against Phoenix with a season-low 79 a day later.

They shot a dreadful 29.8%, barely beating the 29.4% they shot against Utah in November 2004, the worst effort in the 48-year existence of the Lakers in Los Angeles.

In fact, they were on record-setting pace, shooting only 29%, until Farmar's uncontested layup.

"A horrible shooting effort tonight for us," said Kobe Bryant, who had 29 points on 10-for-31 shooting. "Blame Sun."

Rookie Sun Yue apparently got lost when sent out by some players to fetch several bags of fast food after the Lakers' 132-106 victory over Phoenix.

The team waited on the charter plane at LAX until Sun finally returned and didn't arrive at the team hotel in Denver until 4 a.m. Friday.

"Sun took too long getting our In-N-Out Burgers last night after the game," Bryant said, adding a dose of humor to an otherwise humorless night. "I don't know where . . . he went. He could have went to the one in Compton for all I know."

There was a lot of blame to spread.

Lamar Odom had 19 rebounds but made only five of 17 shots and scored 12 points. Luke Walton and Derek Fisher each made two of seven shots.

The Lakers' reserves were outscored by those of the Nuggets, 47-7, and made only three of 19 shots.

"They're in there with their tail between their legs," Jackson said of the reserves, motioning to the locker room. "They wanted to come out and perform tonight and they really had a terrible performance."

The Lakers trailed at halftime, 46-40, and finished with only 14 assists, tying a season low.

The Nuggets (39-20), meanwhile, continue to be one of the surprise teams of the season, parked only one game behind San Antonio for second place in the Western Conference.

Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith each had 22 points for the Nuggets, who didn't burn up the nets either, shooting 41.7%

But Chris "the Birdman" Andersen was a force on defense, blocking seven shots and taking 12 rebounds.

The good news for the Lakers, once they get past Friday's stumble, is another game against the bedraggled Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

On the other hand, Shaquille O'Neal had 45 points on 20-for-25 shooting Friday in a 133-113 victory over Toronto.

"Did he really?" Bryant said, smiling. "Go ahead, big fella. That means he ain't going to have [anything] in the tank on Sunday, so I'm cool with that."

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Cold night

The Lakers had by far their lowest scoring game of the season Friday. Here are their bottom five for 2008-09.

Friday... at Denver 90, Lakers 79

Dec. 19... at Miami 89, Lakers 87

Dec. 25...at Lakers 92, Boston 83

Nov. 12...Lakers 93, at N. Orleans 86

Nov. 14...Detroit 106, at Lakers 95

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