Kobe Bryant had 35 points and 10 assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers back to the NBA finals with a 119-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night.
Bryant got plenty of scoring help from Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom as the Lakers shot 57.3 percent from the field to avoid having to play a Game 7 back at the Staples Center.
They will finally get some much-needed rest after playing every other day for a grueling two weeks.
These Lakers, who are headed to their record 30th NBA finals and are seeking their 15th title, are a more grizzled group -- but also more bruised and battered -- than the one that fell to Boston in the finals last year.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)