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Sports

Easy win has Lakers back in NBA Finals

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 08:42 PM
DENVER -

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are heading back to the NBA Finals after dispatching the pesky Denver Nuggets with a 119-92 victory in Game 6 on Friday night.

Bryant scored 35 points, and got plenty of scoring help from Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom as the Lakers shot 57.3 percent from the field to avoid having to play a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals back at the Staples Center.

They will finally get some much-needed rest after playing every other day for a grueling two weeks.

These Lakers, who are headed to their record 30th NBA Finals and are seeking their 15th title, are a more grizzled group - but also more bruised and battered - than the one that fell to Boston in the finals last year.

Instead of cruising through the West this time, the Lakers survived an arduous seven-game semifinal series against Houston and a physical test against Denver.

The Lakers will face either Orlando or Cleveland in the finals. The Magic lead 3-2 and can clinch the Eastern Conference finals tonight at home in Game 6 and prevent the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James final that has basketball fans and corporate sponsors atwitter.

The finals begin Thursday, at Los Angeles if Orlando wins, and at Cleveland if the Cavaliers prevail.

L.A. LAKERS (119) - Ariza 7-9 0-0 17, Gasol 8-12 4-4 20, Bynum 1-6 0-0 2, Fisher 2-3 0-0 5, Bryant 12-20 9-9 35, Odom 7-12 4-4 20, Farmar 0-2 0-0 0, Vujacic 1-2 4-4 7, Walton 5-7 0-0 10, Brown 0-2 3-3 3. Totals 43-75 24-24 119.

DENVER (92) - Anthony 6-17 12-15 25, Martin 6-13 1-2 13, Nene 3-7 2-2 8, Billups 2-7 5-6 10, Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 10-17 0-0 24, Andersen 1-1 0-0 2, Carter 0-2 0-0 0, Kleiza 2-5 0-0 6, Hart 0-0 0-0 0, Petro 1-1 0-0 2, Balkman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-73 20-25 92.

L.A. Lakers25283036-119Denver20202725-92 3-Point Goals-L.A. Lakers 9-16 (Ariza 3-4, Odom 2-2, Bryant 2-4, Fisher 1-1, Vujacic 1-2, Walton 0-1, Farmar 0-2), Denver 8-19 (Smith 4-9, Kleiza 2-4, Billups 1-3, Anthony 1-3). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-L.A. Lakers 42 (Gasol 12), Denver 36 (Nene 6). Assists-L.A. Lakers 28 (Bryant 10), Denver 14 (Billups 9). Total Fouls-L.A. Lakers 19, Denver 22. Technicals-L.A. Lakers defensive three second, Jones, Denver defensive three second. Flagrant Fouls-Billups. A-20,053 (19,155).

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