Kobe Bryant's return was a triumphant one as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 111-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Kobe mixed it up with some fantastic passing to complement a vintage scoring performance, hitting an array of baseline jumpers and leaning on his footwork for a game-high 31 points.
The Lakers found themselves in a 20-point hole against the Nuggets in the first half, allowing 64 points through the first 24 minutes. Will Barton was on an absolute tear off the bench, notching 23 points heading into halftime as the purple and gold looked out of sorts on both ends of the floor.
The second half was a different story for the Lakers, though, who came out swarming on defense and played much better offense. Kobe seamlessly switched between facilitating and scoring, but it was his fourth quarter daggers that will serve as the lasting memory from this one. Bryant's tightly contended jumper to seal the game late could only leave the bench celebrating while Roy Hibbert shrugged it out:
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/d2T7QCBdZq— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) December 23, 2015
Bryant ended the game with five assists and three rebounds to go with his scoring barrage, playing big minutes through the second half as the Lakers desperately clawed their way back into the game. Jordan Clarkson added in 19 points and eight rebounds, while Lou Williams chipped in 17 points of his own. The Lakers outscored Denver 60-43 through the final 24 minutes, and their charge out of halftime was enough to lock in their fifth win of the season.
It was an impressive comeback win and second-half performance, with a little vino for our enjoyment. The Lakers return home to Los Angeles to host the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday in the second half of their back-to-back.