Howard's 20-20 lifts Lakers over Nuggets
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Dwight Howard poured in 28 points and ripped down 20 rebounds, as the Los Angeles Lakers pounded the Denver Nuggets, 122-103, on Friday at Staples Center.
Antawn Jamison netted a game-high 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Jodie Meeks hit 7-of-8 from beyond the arc en route to 21 points for the Lakers, who bounced back from a loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
Kobe Bryant finished with 14 points and eight assists and Metta World Peace added 10 points as the Lakers hit 17-of-33 from three-point range on the night.
Danilo Gallinari scored a team-high 19 points, and Andre Iguodala added 14 points for the Nuggets, who have lost three straight on the heels of a four- game winning streak. Jordan Hamilton contributed 13 points in the loss.
The game went back and forth early as an alley-oop slam by Kenneth Faried tied things at 16-all with 6:31 on the first-quarter clock. Los Angeles then went on a 14-4 run, capped by a Jamison layup, to open a 30-20 lead with less than three minutes to play in the session.
Denver got the final three points of the quarter, but trailed 34-27 after one stanza. Howard was dominant in the post in the frame, netting 16 points on 7- of-9 shooting with five boards.
Meeks nailed a trio of 3-balls within the first three-plus minutes of the second quarter, helping the Lakers build a 49-37 lead and a hook shot by Pau Gasol gave the home side a 14-point advantage with 6:21 left before the break.
Denver battled back with seven straight points to cut the deficit to 57-50, but the Lakers kept the Nuggets at bay and held a comfortable 71-57 advantage at halftime.
Meeks finished 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in the quarter for 15 points, while Howard missed most of the frame while he received treatment for a laceration on his eyelid.
A floater by Faried with 7:06 to go in the third quarter cut the Denver deficit to seven, but a 12-2 run by the Lakers gave the home team a 90-73 cushion. Jamison capped the frame with a layup with 0.1 on the clock as the Lakers led 97-82 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Denver never got close in the fourth quarter as a Jamison triple with 6:51 to go gave the Lakers their largest lead of the night at 113-92.
Howard capped the evening with his second career 3-point field goal with 9.8 on the clock. Prior to that make, Howard had been 1-for-33 on 3-point attempts.
Los Angeles improved to 3-3 under coach Mike D'Antoni ... Meeks tied his career-high in 3-pointers in one game ... Los Angeles shot an efficient 54 percent from the floor, while the Nuggets shot 46.5 percent ... Both teams struggled from the free throw line as LA went 11-of-17 from the stripe and Denver finished 15-of-22 from the line ... Denver turned the ball over 16 times, which led to 24 LA points.