Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers have finally hit their stride, but, after five consecutive wins, the team seemed to run out of gas against the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers fell to Denver 126-114 0n Wednesday, just a day after Los Angeles outlasted the New York Knicks in a tight Christmas Day contest. Against the Nuggets, the Lakers struggled on perimeter defense, allowing the Denver to hit 12-for-22 from three-point range. Even a 40-point outing from Kobe Bryant wasn’t enough for the Lakers on Wednesday.
The Lakers played the final 17 minutes of the game without Dwight Howard, who was ejected in the third quarter after he jammed his hand in Kenneth Faried’s face, causing him to tumble to the floor.
Howard said it was the “first time ever” he was ejected for a play like that, ESPN noted.
“Hopefully it stops (with the ejection),” Howard answered when asked if he thought he’d be suspended. “You shouldn’t get penalized for fouling somebody hard. My intentions was not to hurt anybody. Just a hard foul. Like I said, I’ve been fouled harder and nothing has happened. You can’t put me on a different scale because I’m a strong guy. A foul is a foul.”
Howard can expect a ruling either way by Friday, the Los Angeles Times noted.
After starting 1-4 and firing head coach Mike Brown, the Lakers appear to be finally putting the pieces together. Steve Nash returned from an injury that sidelined nearly the entire season, and new coach Mike D’Antoni had the team looking like the sharp title contender many believed them to be coming into the season.