After an impressive 33-point blowout of the Charlotte Bobcats (106-73) at the Staples Center on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers were faced with their toughest test thus far this season by hitting the road for six games away from the City of Angels with the Grammys taking over the Staples Center. This game was crucial for many reasons as it would test the Lakers on the road once again against arguably one of the best teams in the league in the surging Denver Nuggets.
Fortunately, the Lakers were able to come into the Mile High City and get third straight win and third win on the road this season, 93-89. Even though the Nuggets were coming off a huge win over the Los Angeles Clippers in L.A. a day earlier , Denver never seemed to get going against Los Angeles on Friday night with some poor shooting from Danilo Galinari (1-for-9, 6 points), Aaron Afflalo (3-for-7, 7 points) and Rudy Fernandez (1-for-7, 2 points).
Al Harrington and Andre Miller (mentioned in recent Lakers trade rumor) were the only players on the Nuggets on Friday that made an impact against the Lakers in this matchup with a combined 40 points off the bench. The Lakeshow on the other hand had four starters in double figures and yet another solid performance from rookie Andrew Goudelock (Mini-Mamba) with 13 points (6-for-10) off the bench.
Despite Kobe Bryant struggling shooting the basketball on Friday night at the Pepsi Center going 7-for-23 from the field for 20 points, the Black Mamba did dish out a game-high nine assists and grabbed six rebounds. The real story in Denver was the performance of Pau Gasol and recently named All-Star starter Andrew Bynum. The up-and-coming center led the Lakers in scoring with 22 points while ripping down 10 boards and blocking three shots. Gasol’s biggest contribution against the Nuggets was on the glass with a game-high 17 rebounds to go along with 13 points.
Needless to say, this was a big win for the Los Angeles Lakers to start this six-game road trip and a sign of the big men coming together and finally learning how to play with each other in Mike Brown’s system. With this win the Lakers improve their record to 14-9 and will have little time to recuperate as they will travel to Salt Lake City to take on the much improved Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Next Lakers Game: Los Angeles Lakers @ Utah Jazz Sat. Feb. 4, 2012
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