LOS ANGELES, May 20 – Kobe Bryant scored 40 points to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 105-103 victory over Denver on Tuesday in game one of the National Basketball Association Western Conference finals.Bryant’s tally included six free throws in the last 30 seconds as the Lakers triumphed despite trailing much of the contest.
Spain’s Pau Gasol added 13 points with 14 rebounds while Derek Fisher chipped in 13 points for the Lakers, who erased a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points, Chauncey Billups added 18 and Kenyon Martin had 15 for the Nuggets, who hadn’t played since finishing off the Dallas Mavericks in five games last Wednesday.
The Lakers were taken to seven games by the Houston Rockets, finally advancing on Sunday.
"We just had to push through," Bryant said of the relatively quick turnaround.
"We didn’t come out with the kind of energy we wanted. Guys were fatigued, a little tired … It’s a good win."
The Lakers host game two of the best-of-seven series on Thursday.