Nuggets not a one-man show
DENVER - Carmelo Anthony had a better supporting cast than Kobe Bryant on a night he really needed it.
With Anthony sick and injured, his ensemble pitched in and lifted the Denver Nuggets to a 120-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday that evened the Western Conference finals at 2-2.
"All of them stepped up," Anthony said.
They had to with their star hobbled by a sprained ankle and a stomach virus, something he picked up just before game time and that forced him to receive IV treatment at halftime.
Anthony, who's averaging 27.1 points in the postseason, struggled to find his rhythm, going 3 for 16 from the field and finishing with 15 points.
No matter, though. J.R. Smith had his back. So did Chauncey Billups.
Both finished with 24 points and hit clutch shots in the fourth to lift the Nuggets' spirits as they head into Game 5 tonight in LA.
"We know the importance of that game," Billups said.
The Nuggets' bench got back into the act Monday, outscoring their counterparts, 42-24.
"It's satisfying," Anthony said. "It's very satisfying to win a game knowing I wasn't 100 percent."
Bryant didn't have quite the same support.
Still, he tried to carry the Lakers down the stretch, scoring 13 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter.
"They just whooped us, period," Bryant acknowledged. "They whooped us on the glass. They whooped us to loose balls."
LA coach Phil Jackson was fined $25,000 for criticising the referees after the game.