Kobe Bryant and Lakers miss-behave in overtime loss to Denver Nuggets

Kobe Bryant and Lakers miss-behave in overtime loss to Denver Nuggets
Kobe Bryant is harassed by Denver forward Wilson Chandler as guard Arron Afflalo looks on during the second half of the Lakers' 101-94 overtime loss to the Nuggets. (Gus Ruelas / Associated Press)

Kobe Bryant recently said he could "find beauty" in the Lakers' attempts to turn around their season.

He probably shouldn't look too closely at Sunday's game.


Neither should the Denver Nuggets after an awful shooting night for both teams, but they won in overtime, 101-94.

It was a quirky game for the Lakers, who heard "M-V-P" chants for Robert Sacre, ran out of power forwards and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Bryant played evenly and efficiently until missing eight of 11 shots in the fourth, including a miss from 19 feet with 0.9 seconds left that could have broken an 86-86 tie at Staples Center.

The Nuggets won because they shot slightly less terribly than the Lakers, 37.8% to 37.1%.

"Yeah, something like that," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said with a regretful smile.

The Lakers (3-11) would surely like to have this one back. Probably their whole season, too.

They lacked big men from the start, Carlos Boozer out because of a strained left shoulder that couldn't be traced to any actual play. The Lakers called him day-to-day and inserted Ed Davis into the starting crew.

But then Davis fouled out early in the fourth quarter with four points and five rebounds. Already without Ryan Kelly (torn hamstring) and Julius Randle (broken leg), the Lakers pressed Wesley Johnson into duty at power forward. He's 6 feet 7, the latest sign of desperate times for a franchise that won 27 games last season and was on pace for about 17 this season.

The overtime woes included two missed free throws by Jeremy Lin and two missed shots by Bryant in the last 52 seconds — a five-footer and a three-point attempt.

Bryant started well enough, making five of nine in the first half. Curiously, he blamed himself for taking only one shot in the third quarter as the Lakers erupted for 36 points. Bryant had five points in the quarter as the Lakers built a 75-72 lead going into the fourth.

"I feel I kind of took myself out of my rhythm a little bit," Braynt said. "In the third quarter, I might have been a little too passive, kind of let the game get away from me a little bit. I tried to gain it back a little bit. It's a tough balance."

Bryant made one of three shots in overtime and finished with 27 points on 10-for-24 shooting. Nick Young was way off the mark, making only two of 12 shots and scoring seven points.

In a lighter moment, there was a short-lived M-V-P chant for Sacre as he shot free throws in the third quarter. He had 13 points at the time and finished that way, two shy of his career high.

Ty Lawson had 18 points and 16 assists for the Nuggets (6-7), who had rough shooting nights from Arron Afflalo (five for 17) and reserve guards Randy Foye and Nate Robinson (combined 0 for 9).

The Lakers again crushed themselves at the three-point line, a central theme so far. They were three of 24 from three-point range (12.5%), with Lin missing all four of his attempts and Young missing four of five.

"It's not like we've never been here before," said Lin, who finished with 17 points and five assists. "We've been here where we have great efforts and we just haven't found the way to close out games."

Scott probably said it best: "It was an ugly game. But if you win, it's not that ugly."

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.