DENVER (CBS4) – As the NBA continues to honor the life of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, CBS4 looked back at the eight most memorable performances he had against the Denver Nuggets.
February 10, 1999 – Kobe’s first 20-point game in Denver
Kobe scored 21 points, had 10 rebounds and five assists in the Lakers 103-98 win over the Nuggets. Denver would finish the year 14-36 in the strike shortened season.
February 12, 2003 – Kobe Scores 51 points in 31 minutes
In the year before Carmelo Anthony arrived to Denver, Kobe put on an impressive shooting display. He scored 20 of the Lakers 26 points in the first quarter, had 36 points at halftime and finished with 51 points in the third quarter. The Lakers led by 33-points going into the fourth quarter as the Lakers routed the Nuggets 113-102.
April 23, 2008 – Game 2 – Kobe almost outscores A.I. and Melo
Even with Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony on the roster, the Nuggets had no answer for Kobe. He scored 49 points (18-27 FG), dished out 10 assists and hit five 3-pointers as the Lakers dominated the Nuggets 122-107. He almost outscored both Iverson and Carmelo who combined for 50 points.
The Lakers would sweep the Nuggets in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
May 19, 2009 – Game 1 Western Conference Finals
The Denver Nuggets went into the Staples Center looking to grab the first game of the Western Conference Finals but two things prevented that from happening. Anthony Carter had his inbound pass stolen by Trevor Ariza with under 30 seconds left and Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter.
May 23, 2009 – Game 3 Western Conference Finals
With the Western Conference Finals tied at 1, the series shifted to the Pepsi Center where the Nuggets hadn’t lost in the postseason. That was until Kobe scored 41 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists as the Lakers outscored the Nuggets 32-18 in the fourth quarter, en route to a 103-97 victory.
This game is best remembered for the big three pointer Kobe hit on J.R. Smith late in the game.
Kobe Bryant Clutch shot over Jr Smith – LAL vs DEN Game 3 Playoffs
— Lakers Empire (@LakersEmpire) April 17, 2018
May 29, 2009 – Game 6 – Western Conference Finals
Continuing with the theme of Bryant’s heroics in the 2009 Western Conference Finals, he torched the Nuggets for 35 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as the Lakers won 119-92 and the series 4-2.
May 8, 2012 – Game 5 Western Conference Quarterfinals
It’s the only time on this list the Nuggets beat the Lakers in the playoffs, and it still was a nail bitter. Denver down 3-1 in Game 5, came out on fire and led by 15 with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter. Kobe almost brought the Lakers back single handedly, scoring 14 of his 43 points in the final quarter. He almost tied the game on a three-pointer that just hit the back of the rim.
The Lakers would go on and win the series in 7 games. Former Nuggets head coach George Karl tells a story of how Kobe got a mental advantage over Ty Lawson in that series.
In the 2012 NBA playoffs the Lakers defeated the Nuggets in seven games.
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) January 28, 2020
December 22, 2015 – Kobe’s last 30-point game in the Mile High City
Vintage Kobe showed up to the Pepsi Center in one of his final games in Denver. Bryant scored 31-points, including 11 in the fourth quarter as the Lakers won 111-107. On March 26, 2016, Bryant scored 28 points in his last game in Denver. Current Nuggets Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic and Will Barton also played in that game.