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Lawson lifts Nuggets past Lakers


Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, center, takes a shot between Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, left, and Martell Webster during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Washington. AP/Nick Wass

DENVER, Colorado — Ty Lawson scored 22 points and had eight assists as the Denver Nuggets scored 78 points in the paint en route to a 119-108 thrashing of the mistake-prone Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

Wilson Chandler scored 23 points to lead Denver, who have won three of their past four National Basketball League games. Chandler was filling in for injured Danilo Gallinari.

The Nuggets had a huge 78-50 point advantage in the paint and also dominated on the free-throw line. The Lakers missed 17 of 31 free throws and turned the ball over 15 times.

Lakers forward Dwight Howard went just three-of-14 from the line.

Lawson has been red-hot lately and has scored 20 or more points in seven consecutive games. Heading into Monday’s contest he was averaging 26.2 points in his previous half dozen games.

Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 29 points and had nine assists and six rebounds for the Lakers, who had their three-game win streak snapped. Bryant has averaged over 28 points in his last five games.

Howard finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

Denver seized command in the first half and never looked back. The Nuggets went on a 14-4 run late in the first quarter to take a 35-29 lead.

Kenneth Faried scored five of seven points in one stretch in the second as the Nuggets took a 52-37 lead and then led 67-54 at halftime.

The Lakers never got within less than seven points in the fourth quarter.

After visiting Denver, the Lakers return to Staples Center arena for back-to-back games versus Minnesota and Atlanta.


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