May 19, 2009
NBA: LA Lakers 105, Denver 103
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points Tuesday to rally the Los Angeles Lakers to a 105-103 win over Denver in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Two of Bryant's 18 fourth-quarter points came on free throws with 5.8 seconds to play that put the game just out of the reach of the Nuggets, who led by two points at the start of the fourth quarter and by as many as 13 over the course of the game.
Game 2 will be played Thursday at Staples Center.
Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 39 points and Chauncy Billups had 18. Anthony, who shot 14-of-20 in the game, scored on a layup with 3:28 to play that gave Denver a 94-89 lead, but they were the last points he would score.
Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol both scored 13 for the Lakers. Gasol also pulled down 14 rebounds.