Bryant seemed to push his illness to the side while he was on the court. When a timeout was called with 3:16 left, he had brought the Lakers back to within seven points at 45-38. The Lakers as a team were playing well in almost no category, but they were still in the game. At that point, Bryant had 19 points. No other Laker had more than five, and the inside game seemed almost like an afterthought.
Andrew Bynum scored only three points in the half, his first basket a hook with 5:38 to play in the second quarter. He did have 10 rebounds. Pau Gasol had not made his presence known. He scored two points in the first half on one-for-five shooting.
But with the Lakers shooting only 42% and featuring virtually no game inside, they still trailed by only nine.
Bryant made seven of 13 shots for his 19 points.
Ty Lawson led Denver, also with 19 points, while Danilo Gallinari added 10 for the Nuggets, who were shooting 51%.
Denver 30, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)
Would the good Andrew Bynum show up or the bad Andrew Bynum? Would Kobe Bryant, who missed the shoot-around earlier because of a stomach virus and had an IV to hydrate himself before the game, be good to go or limited? Would Pau Gasol demonstrate any playoff intensity?