Bryant rejoined the Lakers after having a procedure on his knee performed overseas. He received an ovation when he walked on to the floor in sweats during warm-ups and sat on the bench during the game. Bryant, who is also recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, was not made available to the media but reported progress in an in-house television interview.
Blake made one of two free throws with six seconds remaining and Denver missed two shots on the final possession. Chris Kaman had 12 points and seven rebounds while Jordan Hill had 12 rebounds.
JaVale McGhee led Denver with 14 points.