DENVER - NOVEMBER 11: Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives past Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Pepsi Center on November 11 2010 in Denver Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Lakers Finally Lose, Nuggets Use Late Run To Knock Off The Champs

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The Lakers Finally Lose, Nuggets Use Late Run To Knock Off The Champs

Kobe Bryant scored 34 points and Pau Gasol had 17 points to go with 20 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to get past Denver, and the NBA's last undefeated team is perfect no more.

With the Nuggets down 105-103, a three-pointer by J.R. Smith sparked an 11-0 fourth-quarter run that did in the Lakers for good. And as for the Nuggets? SB Nation's Denver Stiffs explains, "The victory proved a lot of things, many of which Nuggets fans are already knew but the rest of the NBA world is probably waking up to on Friday morning.  First, the 144-113 drubbing by the Pacers on Tuesday night was an aberration, the result of playing four-games-in-five-nights and having played hard in every game to that point.

Second, an undersized Nuggets team is at its best when running opponents out of the building...especially at home.  And third, the Nuggets have as good a chance - if not better - than any in the Western Conference to contend with the Lakers. In fact, these Nuggets may be the only Western Conference team that doesn't fear the boys in purple and gold, and you just know the Lakers were thanking their lucky stars in the 2010 playoffs when Utah bested Denver in Round 1."

Indeed, for whatever reason, the Nuggets never fear the evil empire from L.A., and despite a strong start from the Lakers, they kept it close enough so that the fourth quarter run was good enough to carry them.

As the Lakers, Dexter Fishmore at Silver Screen and Roll isn't thrilled with how things shook out down the stretch:

Losses that involve blown leads are always especially irksome, and tonight the Lakers managed to waste a cushion that reached 14 points in the third quarter. An offense that had been lighting up Denver with crisp ball movement, offensive boards and timely three-point shooting lost focus and direction down the stretch. An 11-0 Denver run, their third double-digit run of the game, put the Nuggets up nine with 2:13 left. Kobe Bryant then scored five straight to spark hopes that the Lakers would somehow steal the win, but the final possessions were a carnival of poor decision-making and wild shot attempts. The team that played smarter in crunch time was rewarded with the W.

But, you know, they're still the Lakers, the NBA's one, true Superteam.

And if nothing else, L.A. fans can take solace in this dunk:

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