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NBA playoffs: Nuggets win over lakers, 120-101

By Arnie Stapleton
Associated Press
DENVER ó The Denver Nuggets evened the Western Conference finals Monday night, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 120-101 in Game 4 despite a hobbled Carmelo Anthony.
Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith scored 24 points and Kenyon Martin posted a double-double as the Nuggets posted their eighth blowout of the postseason but first against Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant, who is averaging 37 points in the series, scored 34, including 14 in the fourth quarter.
He put a scare into the Nuggets and their fans until Smith hit back-to-back dagger 3-pointers for a 113-96 cushion.
Anthony finished with 15 points, and Martin had 13 points and 15 boards.
The game featured four technical fouls and 84 free throws, including 49 by Denver.
Anthony’s shooting slump continued as he went 3-for-16 and missed his first 10 shots. Making matters worse, he turned his right ankle in the first half. At the break, he needed fluids and had his ankle retaped, then returned.
Bryant and Pau Gasol (21 points) kept the Lakers within striking distance. The Lakers cut a 16-point deficit to 102-92 on four Bryant free throws with 3:49 left thanks to technicals on Martin and Anthony.
The Nuggets relied on a balanced attack with Anthony ailing ó seven players scored in double digits ó and while they still weren’t very good from the floor (44 percent), they did work the ball around for better looks, attacked the lane more and got to the line. This accomplished exactly what all those misfirings couldn’t in Game 3 ó energize the Pepsi Center crowd.
The Nuggets, who haven’t lost back-to-back home games all season, were coming off their first loss in the Mile High City since March 9. They shot 7-for-24 from 3-point range on Monday night.

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