Nuggets 115, Lakers 111

DENVER (AP) - Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points, including three free throws in the final 9 seconds Monday night to help the Denver Nuggets hold off the fading Los Angeles Lakers 115-111 for their season-high sixth straight win.

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points, nine below his league-leading average, and missed 21 of his 30 shots, including a 3-pointer that would have tied it with 2.7 seconds left.

Marcus Camby cradled the rebound and drew the foul. He missed his first free throw but sank his second and Anthony swiped the long inbounds to seal Denver's win.

Allen Iverson added 24 points for the Nuggets, who tightened their grip on the sixth spot in the West, moving 11/2 games ahead of the Lakers, who have lost six of their last eight.

The Lakers (40-38) haven't beaten a team with a winning record since defeating Utah on Feb. 26. No other Phil Jackson-coached team has ever lost this many games in a season. They went 45-37 last year.

Luke Walton scored 19 for Los Angeles and Lamar Odom added 18. Andrew Bynum scored 16 points in 19 minutes and sparked the Lakers' comeback from a 65-58 halftime deficit.

Bryant made just 1-of-5 from behind the arc and although he made four of his five free throws, his one miss came with 1:01 left and the Lakers trailing by two.

With Denver ahead 111-109, Sasha Vujacic kicked the ball with 9.7 seconds remaining on the game clock and four on the shot clock, causing a reset and forcing the Lakers to foul Anthony, who missed one of two free throws, leaving Denver clinging to a three-point lead.

Anthony fouled Bryant with 8.3 seconds left before he could set up for a game-tying 3-pointer and Bryant sank both foul shots.

Anthony was fouled on the inbounds and also sank both of his shots, giving Denver a 114-111 lead with 7 seconds left.

Linas Kleiza scored 17 for Denver and Eduardo Najera added 14 in his second game back from a bruised left leg.

The Lakers trailed 92-82 heading into the fourth quarter but went ahead 105-104 on Brian Cook's 3-pointer with 4:20 left, capping a 13-2 spurt that included a slam and a fadeaway by Bryant. The run was sparked by Los Angeles' zone defense, which it didn't use until the second half.

The Lakers cut a 15-point first-half deficit to 72-70 thanks to eight third-quarter points by Bynum, but he picked up his fourth and fifth fouls 35 seconds apart midway through the period and the Nuggets used a 13-2 run sparked by seven points from 'Melo to regain control at 85-72.

Bryant, the NBA's leading scorer after a super surge over the last six weeks, was ice cold in the first half, shooting just 4-of-12 for nine points. His first basket came with 2:59 left in the first quarter.

Notes: Denver's winning streak includes a 111-105 road win over the Lakers last week. ... Lakers C Kwame Brown, who aggravated a sprained left ankle in a collision with Camby on Tuesday night, didn't make the trip and missed his fourth straight game.


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