May 21 - STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES. The Lakers lost 106-103 against the Nuggets and once again in these playoffs they saw their momentum and their home-court advantage disappear. Now the series is tied at 1 and games 3 and 4 will be played in Denver.
Kobe Bryant had 32 points and 5 rebounds, Trevor Ariza scored a career playoff-high 20 points and Pau Gasol had 17 points and 17 rebounds but it was an unusual bad game for Derek Fisher who missed almost everything he attempted including the final shot of the game to end with 3 points on 1-for-9 from the floor. It also was a not so unusual quiet night for Bynum who had 9 points and 2 rebounds in 18 minutes.
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, Billups added 27 and they both helped their team recover after a bad start. The Lakers dominated Denver for most of the first half leading by as many as 14 early in the second quarter, 27-41 with 7:22 left. Anthony scored his team's next 13 points but the Lakers were still dominating the offensive boards and taking advantage of the bad defensive movements of their rival. It was 53-40 with 2:40 to go when everything collapsed for L.A. The Nuggets closed the half with a 14-2 run to get within 55-54.
After a 26-26 third quarter the Lakers entered the fourth leading 81-80 but Linas Kleiza’s 3-pointer early in the period gave the Nuggets an 85-82 lead, their first since the game’s opening minutes. Kleiza was the x-factor for Denver, after going scoreless in 7 minutes in game 1, he scored 16 points that included 4 three-pointers and took 8 rebounds. L.A. recovered the lead with 5:22 left after an 11-2 run, but it was the last time they were up. Kobe's 3-pointer tied it at 99. Then he made a jumper to tie it again at 101 with 45 second left. Kenyon Martin scored with a layup and after jumpball Ariza gained possession but was pushed to the floor by Anthony, no call was made, he lost control of the ball and a couple of free throws later Derek Fisher had a chance to tie it with a three-point attempt from the right corner as time expired but it was well short after he had to correct his shot trying to avoid Nene's hand.
It was incredible to see how Carmelo Anthony touched Kobe's face in a couple of occasions without being called with a foul. Both times Kobe immediately hit a three but Anthony's defense was absurdly illegal and dangerous.