Andrew Bynum had a big first half with 16 points and six rebounds. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Game 2 wasn’t quite as easy for the Lakers as the opener, but they seemed capable of gearing it up whenever the Nuggets started to make things uncomfortable.
The second half started evenly with Arron Afflalo and Danilo Gallinari scoring for the Nuggets and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol scoring for the Lakers. Bryant was able to pad the cushion with his 11th basket and 25thpoint. After a Nugget turnover, Gasol scored and the Lakers had a 6-0 run going before Denver called timeout with 8:57 to play. The Lakers were leading by 11, 63-52.
The timeout didn’t do a lot of good to stop the Lakers as Andrew Bynum scored, followed by Bryant’s 27th point. He was well on his way to his 83rd 30-plus point playoff game. But the Lakers weren’t done as Bynum scored on a third putback try and Devin Ebanks weighed in with his own two. But the 12-0 run came to an end when Ty Lawson scored for the Nuggets making it a 71-54 game. It was the first of a few by Lawson.
After a Lakers miss, Lawson came down and converted a shot and a free throw to start the Nuggets' own 5-0 run. Lawson made that a 7-0 run and suddenly had 15 points. The Lakers called timeout as their 19-point lead dwindled down to 12 with 4:46 to play in the quarter.
So, who do the Lakers go to for a momentum shift? Bryant of course, who drove up his point total to 29. But Corey Brewer answered followed by Al Harrington and the lead was nine points. After Bryant missed from underneath, the Nuggets drove it quickly down and Brewer cut into the lead before Bynum got one back.
But the Nuggets were making progress as Timofey Mosgov and Brewer each scored and the lead was five. Bynum then picked up his 24th point to extend the lead to seven before Mosgov missed both free throws, and the Lakers were looking to close out the quarter strong.
Bryant picked up a quick basket but Lawson answered. Bryant was fouled the next time down the court and made both free throws to give him 33 for the game. The Nuggets scored the final basket of the quarter with Brewer going underneath and the Staples Center crowd was wondering if the seven-point lead would hold up.
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