Denver rocked and rolled their way back into the Western Conference finals, dusting off the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers 120-101 in Pepsi Center on Monday night, to tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
J.R. Smith (24 pts, 2 rebs, 4 asts) banged on his chest and rattled in jumpers like a wild man.
Chris "Birdman" Andersen (6pts, 14 rebs, 2 blocks) scooped up rebounds and swatted away L.A. drives in the paint.
Nene (14 pts, 13 rebs) and Kenyon Martin (13 pts, 15 rebs, 2 blocks) helped secure the Nuggets dominance on the boards.
Visibly dejected, Bryant said after the game, "They whooped us period."
Playing with their backs against the wall, the Nuggets came out with high energy, positive emotions and fed off the roar of the home crowd. They were more aggressive than the Lakers from start to finish.
"If we were tired, you know, it was noticeable tonight," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "Their energy was better that's perhaps the only thing I can say, but that is not a very good excuse."
Kobe Bryant (34 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts) and Pau Gasol (21 pts, 10 rebs, 4 asts) carried the Lakers offensively.
Trevor Ariza lost his game contributing just three points in over 25 minutes of game action.
However, the rest of the team specifically bench players Brown, Vujacic, Farmar and Walton never found their rhythms.
"Basketball is a game where the aggressor gets the advantage," said a perturbed Jackson during his post-game press conference. "We didn't know what was a foul and what wasn't a foul out there tonight."
The Nuggets went to the foul line 49 times made 37 for a 76 percent average from the stripe.
After the game Jackson was quick to remind reporters that the Lakers had done what they wanted by winning a game on the road.
"I'm not gonna make a big deal out of it," Jackson said. "But, what we've done is we've won the road game and brought the home court back to L.A."
The series now becomes a best-of-three starting with Game Five in L.A. in Staples Center on Wednesday night.
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