DENVER — The Lakers played the first half tonight exactly like a team that checked into its hotel at 4 a.m., after playing Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. They missed shots from here, there and everywhere. They also reached for the ball while on defense, rather than sliding their feet. Those are sure signs of tired legs.
Kobe Bryant scored 15 of the Lakers’ 40 points in the first half. J.R. Smith led the Nuggets with 11. The Lakers shot 31.1 percent while scoring their fewest points in a half this season. they also had nine turnovers. The Nuggets shot 45.9 percent and also had nine turnovers.