NBA playoffs: Lakers feel fortunate following Game 1 win
By Beth Harris
Associated PressLOS ANGELES ó Nobody was feeling luckier than Kobe Bryant a day after rescuing the Los Angeles Lakers from certain defeat against the Denver Nuggets in their Western Conference finals opener.
“We just kind of got away with one,” he said, grinning. “It happens sometimes.”
Bryant scored 40 points, including six free throws in the final 30 seconds Tuesday night, to give the Lakers a 105-103 victory after being outplayed most of the game.
Call it stealing one at home.
“It was one of those gutty performances that you have to have throughout the postseason,” Bryant said after practice Wednesday. “We had everything working against us ó mistakes, loose balls, bobbling balls out of bounds. It just seemed like one of those nights, but we managed to pull through it.”
Bryant was forced into playing both ends of the floor after Trevor Ariza couldn’t stop Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, who owned a lackluster history against the Lakers until he exploded for 39 points.Game 2 is tonight at Staples Center. The Nuggets have lost 11 consecutive playoff games to the Lakers.
“We played 461/2 solid minutes, just the last minute or so got away from us,” Denver’s Kenyon Martin said. “But we can take a lot of things from it that we did well. We just need to eliminate some of the little mistakes and go from there. That’s the beauty of it, there’s another game tomorrow.”