Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers-Nuggets: Trevor Ariza Steals Game One for Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot over Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets in the first half of Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
RD LockhartContributor IMay 25, 2009

Carmelo Anthony poured in his heart, both lungs, and his knees hurling in a heroic 39 points and making four huge three-pointers in a humbling defeat, as the No. 1 seeded Los Angeles Lakers held home court 107-105 before the usual star-studded packed Staples Center

As always, the Lakers took the early lead in a series that promises to live up to the hype.

Nugget-buster Kobe Bryant dropped in four dimes.  But the play of the night belonged to an oft victim, Trevor Ariza (six points, five rebounds,  two assists), who proved to be the victor his team needed most.

Ariza, a four-year veteran out of UCLA, had the dubious task of trying to match up against the fierce onslaught from 'Melo, who wouldn't be denied. Still with 30.5 seconds  to go Trevor wasn't holding his head down.

After two clutch free throws from Kobe Bryant gave L. A. a slim lead 101-99, Ariza seized on the horrible inbound pass from Denver's Anthony Carter—going over and through the outstretched arms of Mr. Big shot himself, Chauncey Billups—then wisely dribbling out the clock a few precious seconds before finding Bryant, who was fouled and hit the final of his 40.

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