The Denver Nuggets ramped up the pressure on the struggling Lakers after a late rally by Kobe Bryant was not enough to prevent them slipping to their fourth defeat in five games.
NBA: Bryant efforts not enough to save Lakers from another defeat
The Denver Nuggets dropped the stumbling Los Angeles Lakers further into the doldrums with a 112-105 win, despite some fourth-quarter fireworks from Kobe Bryant.
Ty Lawson scored 21 points and 10 assists and Danilo Gallinari hit five of his 20 in the final seconds to kill the Lakers' rally and send them to a third successive defeat.
Mike D'Antoni, the Lakers coach, admitted his side's slump increased the pressure on the team after losing four of their last five games.
"So be it," D'Antoni said. "That's the way it is and we've got to overcome it ... We can't shrug our shoulders or hang our heads. We've got to go out and fight as a unit."
Bryant did his best to rescue Los Angeles again by scoring 18 of his 29 points in the final quarter but the Lakers fell just short in front of a frustrated home crowd.
Los Angeles trailed by 10 midway through the fourth, although they fought back as Bryant twice made three-pointers to pull them within three in the final minute.
Gallinari drained a three of his own to halt the comeback with 13 seconds remaining and Denver (20-16) made four straight free throws to ice the game for their third win in four.
But Bryant said the Lakers had too many defensive lapses and too many mistakes, including 18 turnovers.
"We've just got to try to focus on the next one," Bryant said. "We've got to execute better ... we've got to buckle down and try to minimise mistakes."
Oklahoma City's All-Star duo Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook did the business once again as the Thunder beat the Toronto Raptors 104-92.
Westbrook had 23 points and seven assists, while Durant scored 22 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists to help the Thunder improve to a league-best 26-7.
Alan Anderson paced the Raptors with 27 points from the bench.
Kemba Walker had 20 points and seven assists as the Charlotte Bobcats pulled away in overtime to beat the Detroit Pistons 108-101.
It was Walker who forced the extra period with a layup to tie the game at 96-96 at the end of regulation for the Bobcats, who outscored the Pistons 12-5 in OT and have now won two out of three after losing 18 straight.
Zach Randolph had 21 points and eight rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Phoenix Suns 92-81 and the Denver Nuggets saw off the Los Angeles Lakers 112-105.
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