Lakers hit 17 3-pointers, win 122-103 over Denver
LOS ANGELES (AP) By the time Dwight Howard stepped back and oh-so-coolly hit just the second 3-pointer of his entire career in the closing seconds, it didn't even seem weird to the Los Angeles Lakers.
With so many unlikely numbers in improbable places on that bulging scoresheet, what was one last long-distance shot for a team that finally discovered its elusive rhythm?
Antawn Jamison scored 33 points while leading an outstanding game by the Lakers' reserves, and Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds before hitting Los Angeles' 17th 3-pointer to close a 122-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Jodie Meeks scored 21 points on a career high-tying seven 3-pointers for the Lakers, who improved to 3-3 under Mike D'Antoni while playing at the furious tempo favored by their new coach.
After managing just 77 points against Indiana three nights earlier in their third loss in four games, the Lakers' dazzling offensive display suggested D'Antoni is making progress after all.
"It's the way we want to play," D'Antoni said. "We've got a lot of talent out there, and it's got to mesh, and the ball has got to move. ... So many guys had good games. I just thought the ball was moving better - just a lot of good things happening."
Kobe Bryant had 14 points and eight assists for the Lakers, who moved the ball to the tune of 33 assists while making 54 percent of their shots. They also tied the club record for 3-pointers in a regulation game, getting five from Jamison in the first 30-point game by a Lakers reserve since Shaquille O'Neal did it in 1998.
Jamison, the high-scoring veteran who signed with Los Angeles for a shot at a title, found the shooting stroke he has lacked for much of the season so far, going 13 for 19 and grabbing 12 rebounds while taking more shots than Bryant or Howard.
"Give me some minutes, and I can make something happen," Jamison said. "I was just able to feed off those guys looking for me. Once I do that, I get into a rhythm, and from there, they don't know what to do."
The Lakers' bench has been unimpressive for two straight seasons, but Jamison and Meeks shot exceptionally well against Denver, while Chris Duhon had a strong playmaking game with eight assists and five points.
After the Lakers' reserves managed just five points in that ugly loss to the Pacers, they produced 61 points against Denver.
Meeks and Jamison talked before the game about their meager production this season, noting neither had played a particularly strong game at home.
"I had some big games in college, but not too many games where I only missed two shots," said Meeks, who went 7 for 9 overall and missed just one of his eight 3-point attempts. "I think everybody is more confident now. We're at .500, so we've got to get over .500 and keep rolling."
Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points and Andre Iguodala added 14 for the Nuggets, who lost three times on their three-game trip.
"After we saw what happened to them in that Indiana game, as coaches, we said: `Wow, now we've got to play them after they played so poorly against Indiana,'" Denver coach George Karl said. "I thought we fought up to a degree, but when they got it back up to 20, our gas tank was pretty empty."
Los Angeles led 71-57 at halftime, making 60 percent of its shots in an impressive stretch of offensive basketball.
Howard controlled the first quarter with 16 points and five rebounds, while Meeks put on a shooting clinic in the second quarter, draining his first five 3-point attempts to match his highest-scoring game in his first season with Los Angeles.
"You know they're an up-tempo team, so we had to come out with energy, but we just didn't match their energy," said Andre Miller, who had 10 points. "Their bench had a good game and did what they were supposed to do. They hit a lot of 3-pointers and just took off from there."
Jamison and Meeks led a strong start to the fourth quarter while three Lakers starters rested. Jamison hit the Lakers' 16th 3-pointer with 6:51 to play, and the Lakers rolled to the win capped by Howard's improbable 3.
"He shoots as many 3's after practice as a lot of us, and he's confident," Jamison said. "You know Dwight. He's going to take it."
The clubs met for the first time since the Lakers eliminated Denver in the first round of last season's playoffs despite a lively effort by the Nuggets, who fought off elimination twice before Los Angeles won a thrilling Game 7 at home.
NOTES: Jamison and Meeks were the first Lakers reserves to score 20 points apiece since Bryant and Nick Van Exel did it in April 1998. ... The Lakers finish their final multigame homestand before Christmas against Orlando on Sunday night. Los Angeles will have played 12 of its first 17 games at Staples Center, plowing through more than a quarter of their entire home schedule in the season's opening five weeks, before playing nine of its next 12 on the road. ... Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Piven and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and Chad Smith attended the game.
Updated December 1, 2012
Dr. Tony Schena joined the show to give insight into what lies ahead for Rob Gronkowski. He said a tough road is in front of the Patriots tight end.
We discuss the improbable win over the Browns and the loss of Rob Gronkowski with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday.
Ninkovich sits in with Mut and Merloni to look back at yesterday’s comeback win against the Browns. Rob also explains the range of emotions the team experienced after Rob Gronkowski suffered a potentially season ending injury.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Buster joins Mut and Merloni live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Buster explains that the market for Stephen Drew has cooled off considerably and executives around the league believe he will return to Boston.
Hazen talks with Mut and Merloni about the on-going offseason process. Mike explains how the Red Sox dove in to free agency immediately after the team’s World Series win. He also explains how the team creates opportunities for young players that are ready to make the jump to the Major League level.
Cherington sits in with Mut and Lou to talk about the Red Sox heading into 2014. Ben breaks down the signing of Edward Mujica and what’s on the table at this year’s meetings.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys went over a list of the most annoying people to see on your flight.
The guys opened the show discussing the great reception Doc Rivers got last night at The Garden. They said it was not surprising and well deserved.
Boston College running back Andre Williams joined the show and discussed his record setting season. He said that he will work on his acceptance speech on the flight down to New York.
Jackie MacMullan joins the show to discuss the return of Doc Rivers to Boston and what really happened during the offseason that led to Doc's departure.
Brick joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Shawn Thornton's on ice actions last week against the Penguins and what type of suspension he may be facing.
Mut and Merloni react to Doc Rivers' emotional return to Boston and they discuss the way he left the Celtics.
We discuss the vote that abolished the collision at the plate play in MLB, and bring in Tim Kurkjian of ESPN to further explain.
We check in with Tom Caron of NESN and get his take on the winter meetings and the moves (or lack thereof) the Sox have made at the winter meetings in Orlando.
We check in with Rob Bradford live from the Winter Meetings in Orlando.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
We answer what you ask... and by we mean Salk, Holley and special guest Jenny Dell of NESN!
Answering questions, its what we do.
Live from the Winter meetings, questions will be answered.
Kurkjian joins Mut and Merloni at the Winter Meetings to talk about the Red Sox plans on the market. Tim believes the Red Sox are not satisfied with their situation in center and are looking to add a veteran outfielder to the mix.More from this show
Millar sits in with the guys on location in Orlando at MLB's Winter Meetings. He covers all the bases with Mut and Lou on all the Red Sox free agent possibilities and potential trades.More from this show
Buster joins Mut and Merloni live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Buster explains that the market for Stephen Drew has cooled off considerably and executives around the league believe he will return to Boston.More from this show
We discuss the comers and goers for the Red Sox and the rest of MLB with former GM Steve Phillips, now of MLB Radio on Sirius XM.More from this show
We discuss the improbable win over the Browns and the loss of Rob Gronkowski with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday.More from this show