Nuggets rout Lakers to force game seven

The Denver Nuggets routed an ailing Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers 113-96 to stay alive in their NBA Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Facing elimination for the second straight game, the Nuggets wasted no time in setting a tone, racing to a 13-0 lead.

Denver led by as many as 28 points as they tied the series at three games apiece with the decisive game seven set for Saturday in Los Angeles.

The winners will face the Oklahoma City Thunder, who swept defending NBA champions Dallas in four games.

The Nuggets are trying to become just the ninth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.

The last team to do so was Phoenix -- against the Lakers in the first round in 2006.

"Game Seven -- L.A., let's go!" said Ty Lawson, who made five of his six attempts from three-point range en route to a career playoff high of 32 points for Denver.

"There's no way I thought what happened tonight was going to happen," Denver coach George Karl said of Lawson's performance. "This is the biggest game he's played in his career -- and Saturday will be bigger."

Corey Brewer came off the bench to score 18 points for the Nuggets and Kenneth Faried continued his strong rookie showing with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nuggets scored the first nine points of the second half, a run that included two free-throws by Faried after he was hit on the back of the head by Bryant on a breakaway -- a move that earned Bryant a flagrant foul call.

Bryant said he was trying to "swipe" the ball away before Faried leapt into the air.

"It definitely wasn't intentional," he said.

Not long after making his free-throws, Faried made a jump-hook then blocked a layup attempt by Lakers seven-footer Andrew Bynum.

"Obviously, it was disappointing to watch," Lakers coach Mike Brown said.

Lakers superstar Bryant had missed the team's pre-game shoot-around with a stomach ailment. He started the game and scored 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting.

He got little support, however, as his teammates combined to shoot just 22-of-60.

Bynum grabbed 16 rebounds but scored just 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Pau Gasol made just one of 10 shots and scored three points.

"Kobe being dehydrated and sick as a dog, coming out and trying to will us to a win, it's disappointing watching him give that type of effort ... and we don't get it from everybody," Brown said.

"Our second- and third-best players are Drew and Pau, and the reality of it is both those guys have to play better in order for us to win.

"We're going to have a tough time winning if we get that same type of production not just offensively but on the defensive end of the floor too."