DENVER — Pau Gasol and Ron Artest scored nine points each for the Lakers in the first half tonight. Gasol also had nine rebounds. Artest might have scored more, but went to the bench after picking up his second foul with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first quarter and did not return to the game. Luke Walton replaced him and did a fine job of Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, who had 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting in the half. Arron Afflalo, a former UCLA standout, led the Nuggets with 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting.