LOS ANGELES (AP) — A vintage second half by Kobe Bryant wasn’t nearly enough to counteract a steady night of excellence from the Denver Nuggets.
D.J. Augustin scored 20 points and Jusuf Nurkic added a career-high 18 in the Nuggets’ 116-105 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Bryant hit four 3-pointers and scored 28 points in his final meeting with Denver, producing his highest-scoring performance in nearly eight weeks during his farewell season.
Nuggets coach Mike Malone saw it coming, but his club weathered a Bryant-led rally that trimmed an 18-point lead to four. Denver survived largely thanks to a bench that scored 71 points, led by Augustin and his five 3-pointers.
“I got nervous in the third quarter because with Kobe, anything is possible,” Malone said. “This game will miss him. He’s one of those generational players that come along once every 25, 30 years.”
Will Barton added 16 points in a balanced effort by the Nuggets, who have won three of four. They have beaten the Lakers six straight times at Staples Center.
Augustin had his fourth 20-point performance since joining Denver last…