ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Carmelo Anthony scored 13 of his 32 points in the third quarter and reserve forward Linas Kleiza got 16 of his 19 points in the fourth, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 126-108 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Andre Miller had 14 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who played without injured Marcus Camby and Julius Hodge. Kenyon Martin and Earl Boykins, both of whom had dental surgery on Wednesday, combined for 22 points.
Anthony, who had a wisdom tooth pulled last weekend, outscored the Lakers 9-0 during a 1:49 span of the third to extend Denver's six-point lead to 93-78 with 1:26 left in the quarter.
Anthony sat out the entire fourth quarter, and the Lakers got as close as 109-99 with 7½ minutes to play. Jordan Farmar converted his consecutive steals into a breakaway dunk and a breakaway layup, but the Nuggets responded with a 27-8 run that included three 3-pointers by Kleiza and a pair of free throws. His last 3 gave Denver a 126-107 cushion with 1:07 to play.
The defending Northwest Division champions conclude their preseason slate Friday night up the freeway against the Los Angeles Clippers -- the same team they begin their regular-season schedule against next Thursday night at Staples Center.
Andrew Bynum scored 23 points for the Lakers, who finished their exhibition schedule 4-4. No decision has been made as to whether Kobe Bryant, recovering from surgery on his right knee in July, will be able to play in next Tuesday night's season opener against the Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles.
Bryant, last season's NBA scoring champion, was on the court working out before the game. He took some perimeter shots, but his jumping was restricted. He also did a series of starts and stops and some lateral drills, but appeared to be in severe pain.
"I don't know if I can get that specific, but what Kobe's expressed to me is that he still has problems striding out - just getting out and running," assistant coach Kurt Rambis said.
"If Kobe feels that this is all the time he needs and if he responds well to the stress and is able to handle the rigors of playing an NBA game, then he can make that decision. But whether or not it comes to that, I have no idea. He knows his body so well, but we as an organization are not going to gamble on trying to bring him back too early."
Rambis has been calling the shots during the preseason while head coach Phil Jackson recuperates from hip replacement surgery on Oct. 3. Jackson is expected to be back on the bench on opening night.
|Denver (3-3) «||34||29||34||29||126|
|L.A. Lakers (4-4)||40||19||23||26||108|
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