Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/19

Game 1: Friday, December 19th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 7th
Game 3: Wednesday, January 14th
Game 4: Wednesday, February 25th

Lakers 91

(21-11, 6-9 away)

Nuggets 113


    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, January 7, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 27 21 27 1691
    DEN 31 32 34 16113

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 6 Stl

    Den: E. Boykins 22 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast

    LA Lakers (21-10) at Denver (20-15) 9:00 pm EST

    DENVER ( news services) -- Kobe Bryant will make his first visit to Denver's Pepsi Center this season for a matchup with the Nuggets tonight.

    While Bryant will be on the floor in a potentially hostile environment, teammate Shaquille O'Neal likely will not. O'Neal, out the last two games with a calf injury, is not expected to play. The nagging injury has sidelined O'Neal for a total of four games this season.

    When asked how he was feeling, a frustrated O'Neal told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday: "No better," he said. "And I'm getting tired of these & knick-knack injuries."

    It has certainly been a trying season off the court for Bryant, who has been charged with sexual assault for his liaison with the female employee of an Eagle County, Colo., resort over the summer. The superstar guard has made numerous court appearances in Colorado during the season but is playing in Denver for the first time.

    Bryant may be booed every time he touches the ball. He did not endear himself to Nuggets fans on Dec. 19, when he buried a jumper from the top of the key as time expired to give the Lakers to a dramatic 101-99 triumph. Rookie Carmelo Anthony had tied the game with two free throws with 2.5 seconds left.

    That game came after Bryant spent most of the day in a courthouse in Eagle.

    Adding to Bryant's problems in this hostile environment are the struggles of the injury-plagued Lakers, who have lost a season-high three straight games.

    Los Angeles has dropped five of its last six games after falling to 0-3 on a four-game road trip with a 106-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

    Bryant scored 20 points and Brian Cook and Kareem Rush added 16 apiece for the Lakers, who shot just 40 percent (36-of-90) from the floor, including 2-of-12 from 3-point range.

    Los Angeles has struggled to score without O'Neal and forward Karl Malone. Malone is on the injured list for the first time in his 19-year career with a sprained knee.

    The Lakers have lost five consecutive road games to fall to 6-8 away from home this season.

    Denver has dropped consecutive home games for the first time this season after a 98-74 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.

    Marcus Camby collected 13 points and 13 rebounds and Voshon Lenard scored 12 points for the Nuggets, who have lost four of their last five games overall.