"You have to almost over-exaggerate getting back on defense," Bryant said. "Literally, nobody can go to the offensive boards."
Sure enough, the Lakers had zero rebounds off the offensive glass in the first half and just eight all night.
"I think it was their speed," Bryant said. "Their speed was something that was tough for us to adjust to all night long. They continually pushed the ball down our throats. Shots go up and those guys are already leaking out, to go along with the speed. They got a lot of easy buckets because of it."
Bryant needed 23 shots to score his 29 points and he often found those shots getting swatted away by JaVale McGee, including one that led to a basket by Lawson as the Nuggets took a 67-54 halftime lead. A flustered Bryant picked up a technical foul on his way to the locker room.
Bryant said his NBA-leading 14th technical of the season was a misunderstanding and he's confident the league will rescind it. A one-game suspension is in order when a player reaches 16 technical fouls.
"I'm not concerned," Bryant said.
Andre Iguodala (14 points, 12 assists) and Kenneth Faried (12 points, 10 rebounds) posted double-doubles for Denver.
Dwight Howard added 15 points and 14 boards for L.A. but missed 11 of his last 12 free throws after sinking his first two.
"That was the highlight," D'Antoni cracked. "It happens. I'm not going to dwell on it much, just because nobody steps up there and wants to miss it. We just need to clean up the other stuff.
"I was more disappointed in the turnovers in the first quarter and not having that little extra burst to try to get back. We couldn't even get three guys back. It was like 5-on-2. They had all five guys down and we had one back or two back. To me, we just weren't quite ready for their speed."
Notes: The Nuggets are 24-3 at the Pepsi Center, including a 126-114 win over the Lakers on Dec. 26. ... The Lakers had won 11 of 14. ... There were three technical fouls called in the first 4½ minutes. ... Lawson extended his career-best streak of 20-point games to seven. ... Denver's 33 fast-break points are a season-high, the Lakers' 3 fast-break points a season-low.
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