Lakers-Nuggets: Kobe Bryant Drops 18 in Fourth, Leads Los Angeles to Victory

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IMay 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers points as he stands with J.R. Smith #1 of the Denver Nuggets in the second 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)

If you did not watch the Lakers vs. Nuggets game this evening, you really missed an exciting matchup.

From the aggressive and energetic Nuggets style of play, to the Championship caliber chemistry and talent of the Lakers; Game One really proved that even though Denver lost, they are legit contenders heading into Game Two.

From the start of the game Denver came out firing on all cylinders, stealing the ball twice during the first three minutes of the game, and ending the first quarter with a score of 31-21.

Carmelo Anthony put on a superstar performance, scoring 20 points at the end of the half and ending the game with a team-high 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting. Melo went four-for-five from beyond the three-point arc, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out four assists.

The Nuggets as a team shot 48.6 percent from the field and a remarkable 42.1 percent from the three-point line.

Denver had to play this great if they wanted any chance of defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though they put on a stellar performance, it still was not enough to end the game victorious.

L.A. shot a phenomenal 44 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-25 FG) and 83.3 percent from the charity stripe (20-24 FT).

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Even though they clearly did not play as well as the Nuggets during the first half of the game, the Lakers headed into the third quarter up by one point (off of Derek Fisher's end of the half three-pointer).

Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony battled throughout this entire intense matchup and made this game that much better to watch.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Lakers were down by two points. Denver managed to increase their lead to as much as seven before L.A. kicked into their "championship attack" mode.

Bryant put on one hell of a fourth quarter performance, scoring 18 points and literally bringing his team to victory. He ended the game with a game-high 40 points off of 13-for-28 shooting.

With the series now in favor of Los Angeles, Denver will have to come out with even more explosiveness and offensive production if they want any chance at making it to the NBA Finals this season.

What an awesome Game One!


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