Soon afterward, Nuggets forward Jerami Grant stole the ball and raced down the court with Davis on his left and James on his right. Davis swatted at him before he rose for a shot, but Grant scored anyway, to give the Nuggets a 71-59 lead.
James countered by scoring on three straight possessions, one shot dropping immediately following his first block of the game.
This might have been a moment when James helped the Lakers regain control, but Denver pushed back. Although James got the Lakers to within nine, that was the last time in the third quarter that their deficit was in single digits. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Nuggets led by 18 points. Grant scored 12 points in the third quarter, which earned him double teams in the fourth.
The score was 97-77 with 10:36 left in the game.
That's when the Lakers got serious.
They put together a 19-2 run to cut Denver's lead to three. It was punctuated by six Denver turnovers, including steals by the pesky Rajon Rondo on back-to-back plays. Defense got the Lakers back into the game. With four minutes to go, the Nuggets had only scored nine points in the fourth quarter.
This run, too, the young Nuggets withstood before going on to win.
(Ganguli reported from Los Angeles.)
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