May 29, 2009

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers 119, Denver 92

Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles to a complete performance Friday, resulting in a 119-92 thrashing of Denver that vaulted the Lakers into the NBA finals.

After fighting fiercely for five games in the Western Conference finals, Denver melted away in the second half of Game 6 and fell victim to a balanced LA attack led by Bryant's 35 points.

The Nuggets led by a point with 7 minutes to play in the second quarter, but the period ended with Los Angeles going on a 12-3 run that gave the Lakers a 53-40 advantage.

Denver came no closer than 11 points in the third period and had no charge left for the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles awaits the winner of the Eastern Conference finals, where Orlando owns a 3-2 advantage over Cleveland. The Magic will try to finish off the Cavaliers Saturday in Orlando.

Bryant made 12-of-20 shots from the field and all nine of his foul shots while Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom had 20 points each.

Los Angeles made only two more field goal attempts than Denver did, but made 11 more and shot 57 percent for the game.

Denver got 25 points from Carmelo Anthony and 24 from J.R. Smith.

The Lakers are in the NBA Finals for a second straight year. They lost to the Boston Celtics in six games last year.