Kobe, Lakers bolster lead

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DENVER --- Once again, the Denver Nuggets couldn't keep their emotions or Kobe Bryant in check.

Bryant scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Lakers took a 3-0 lead in their first-round series, routing the flustered Nuggets 102-84 on Saturday.

Game 4 is Monday night, and the Nuggets are going to have to get more out of their All-Star duo of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson if they hope to take the series back to the Staples Center.

Anthony and Iverson were miserable from the floor, shooting a combined 10-for-38 and finishing with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Bryant was quiet, too, at least in the first half, when he scored eight points on 3-for-8 shooting.

He scored nine quick points in the third quarter, however, to put the Lakers ahead 64-51 and quiet the Pepsi Center crowd that loves to hate him.

Bryant has always played well in Colorado, where fans have persistently heckled him ever since he was charged with sexual assault at a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains in 2003, even after the criminal case was dismissed and a civil suit settled.

An airball slowed Bryant's surge just when it looked like he was going to repeat his 19-point, 41/2-minute surge in Game 2, but the Nuggets trailed 69-51 after Lamar Odom's two free throws.

Anthony drew a technical foul --Denver's seventh in the series -- after he was stripped on his way to the basket, leading to a breakaway by Bryant that stretched the Lakers' lead to 78-61 with 2:33 left in the third.

Los Angeles took an 83-64 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back.

Luke Walton added 15 points off the bench for Los Angeles, and Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher each scored 14.

MAGIC 106, RAPTORS 94

In Toronto, Rashard Lewis had 27 points and 13 rebounds, Dwight Howard added 19 points and 16 boards, and Orlando topped Toronto to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round series.

Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth. Hedo Turkoglu had 18 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Magic.

Chris Bosh set a career playoff-high with 39 points and added 15 rebounds for the Raptors, who face elimination in Game 5 on Monday night at Orlando. T.J. Ford had 12 points and 13 assists for the Raptors.

JACK DEMPSEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS


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