Los Angeles at Denver

Iverson hits season-high 51 points in losing effort to Lakers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DENVER -- The Los Angeles Lakers' team effort trumped Allen Iverson's big night.

Iverson scored a season-high 51 points but the Lakers had three players, led by Kobe Bryant's 25, score 20-plus points to give the Lakers a 111-107 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Vladimir Radmanovic scored 21 points and Derek Fisher added 20 for the Lakers. Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and eight rebounds and Marcus Camby had 20 rebounds for the Nuggets.

"We absorbed a lot of points from Iverson," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He got our whole team in foul trouble."

Iverson scored 49 points through the first three quarters but was held to a just a layup in the fourth. The Lakers clamped down on the 6-foot guard, forcing the ball out of his hands. The strategy worked. Iverson took only four shots in the last 12 minutes.

"When somebody gets 49 points in the first three quarters obviously its going to draw attention to the other team," said Iverson, whose career high of 60 came against Orlando on Feb. 12, 2005. "When somebody's got 49 points they want to make sure I get the ball out of my hands, and that's what they did. My responsibly is to give it up and my teammates had to make plays."

They couldn't. Anthony was 4-for-10 from the field in the fourth and the rest of the team made 3 of 9.

While Iverson got cold, Bryant heated up. Bryant picked up his fourth foul 38 seconds into the third quarter and sat the rest of the period, but he played the entire fourth, scoring 12 points. With the game tied at 102, he scored six straight points for the Lakers to give them a 108-104 lead with 35.3 seconds left.

Kenyon Martin hit one of two free throws with 23.2 seconds left, but Fisher hit two foul shots to make it 110-105 with 15.8 seconds left. Anthony missed a 3-pointer and Fisher hit a free throw to seal the win.

Bryant also helped stop Iverson in the fourth quarter.

"I'm not one of these players that believes if a guy gets hot there's nothing you can do about it," he said. "I just don't believe that."

For three quarters, the Lakers couldn't stop Iverson. He was 17-for-23 from the field and scored 16 of Denver's 30 points in the third period to help the Nuggets tie the game at 88.

"I just got in a rhythm. I kept attacking," Iverson said. "Everything that I saw open, I attacked, and I was able to knock down shots. When I got the ball, it seemed like every move that I made, it would throw the defender off."

But Iverson, who played the entire game, had trouble finding any room to shoot in the fourth.

"It was fun seeing him play that well, but shooting the ball and being hit and fouled so often, it wears on you," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I think he got fatigued a little bit."

Before he tired, Iverson was electric. He single-handedly kept the Nuggets in the game and overcame the Lakers' 3-point shooting in the first 36 minutes. Los Angeles hit nine 3s entering the fourth, five from Radmanovic.

Iverson scored nine straight points late in the third to give Denver a 79-76 lead and push his point total to 49. The Lakers rallied to take an 80-79 lead, but Iverson drove the lane, and when two Lakers collapsed on him, he kicked the ball to Eduardo Najera, who hit a 3-pointer.

Notes

  • Iverson's 33 first-half points tied his career high in a first half, which he set at Milwaukee on Dec. 18, 2004. His career-high for a half was 36 at Orlando on Nov. 10, 1999.
  • Iverson's 51 points are the most by a Nuggets player since Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf had 51 at Utah on Dec. 7, 1995.
  • The Nuggets' franchise record for points in a game is held by David Thompson, who had 73 against Detroit on April 9, 1978.
  • Bryant left the game with a hurt left shoulder after he took a hard foul with 2.5 seconds left in the first period. "We went to the locker room, took a look at it and realized it wasn't something that was going to be too serious," Bryant said.
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Allen Iverson scores 49 points through three quarters, but finishes with just 51. (Getty Images)
Allen Iverson scores 49 points through three quarters, but finishes with just 51. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
L.A. Lakers (11-8) «29332623111
Denver (11-8) 24343019107
LAL:K. Bryant 25 Pts
LAL:K. Bryant 8 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 5 Ast
DEN:A. Iverson 51 Pts
DEN:M. Camby 20 Reb
DEN:A. Iverson 8 Ast
Players of the Game
DenverLos Angeles

A. Iverson

K. Bryant
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
51282585
Los Angeles
L. Odom, PF347-152-674517
D. Fisher, PG336-117-855420
K. Bryant, SG3110-195-685425
L. Walton, SF254-80-23348
C. Mihm, C222-72-36136
A. Bynum, C261-10-02332
V. Radmanovic, SF247-121-251221
J. Farmar, PG212-60-03236
T. Ariza, SF120-13-44233
S. Vujacic, SG111-41-10213
K. Brown, CDid Not Play
R. Turiaf, PFDid Not Play
J. Crittenton, PGDid Not Play
C. Karl, SGDid Not Play
Totals 40-8421-32432832111
 47.6%65.6% 
Denver
A. Iverson, SG4818-2715-1828451
C. Anthony, SF4410-236-784326
M. Camby, C390-30-220140
K. Martin, PF342-82-68256
A. Carter, PG231-42-21314
E. Najera, PF233-42-273210
J. Smith, SG211-105-61037
L. Kleiza, SF71-10-00023
J. McCoy, PFDid Not Play
C. Atkins, PGDid Not Play
S. Hunter, PFDid Not Play
Nene, PFDid Not Play
V. Wafer, SGDid Not Play
B. Jones, SFDid Not Play
Y. Diawara, SGDid Not Play
Totals 36-8032-43472124107
 45.0%74.4% 
Other Games
Bos 113 Final
Phi 103
Cle 86 Final
Wash 105
Pho 136 Final
Tor 123
Chi 91 Final
Char 82
NY 100 Final
NJ 93
Det 91 Final
NO 76
Mem 92 Final
Hou 105
Dal 95 Final
SA 97
Mil 90 Final
GS 120
LAC 88 Final
Sea 95