Nuggets down Lakers in game 3

NUGGETS 99, LAKERS 84: Ty Lawson scored 25 points and host Denver built a 24-point first-half lead en route to beating Los Angeles.

JaVale McGee came off the bench to supply 16 points and 15 rebounds as the Nuggets cut the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday night in Denver.

Kenneth Faried also had a double-double with 12 points and 15 boards as the Nuggets pulled away after the Los Angeles Lakers had cut the deficit to four points in the third quarter.

Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant scored 22 points and Andrew Bynum added all 18 of his points in the second half to go along with 12 rebounds.

Denver’s bench outscored the Los Angeles reserves 39-9 and helped stretch the lead back to 11 points early in the fourth quarter.

Bynum, held scoreless in the first half, finally came alive in the third quarter. The behemoth center scored 12 points, including a pair of three-point plays, as the Lakers cut a 16-point halftime lead to four before Denver opened it to 72-65 entering the fourth.

With Lawson setting a frenetic early pace, Denver blitzed the Lakers with a 20-2 run, including the final 11 points of the opening quarter to take a 30-14 lead.

Corey Brewer and Al Harrington buried 3-pointers as the Nuggets scored the first eight points of the second quarter to complete a 19-0 spurt for a 38-14 lead.

The Lakers finally started to slow the tempo and responded with a 14-2 run to cut the 24-point deficit in half before the Nuggets nudged it back to 55-39 at halftime.

McGee had eight points and nine rebounds while Faried grabbed 10 boards in the first half to help Denver control the glass 31-18.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Harrington suffered a fractured nose after he was elbowed by Bynum in the final minute of the third quarter. … Bryant’s 7-for-23 performance continued his shooting struggles in Denver. He was 13 of 51 in two regular-season games at the Pepsi Center. … Danilo Gallinari’s basket with 8:07 to play in the first quarter put the Nuggets ahead 8-7 and represented Denver’s first lead of the series. … McGee had his third double-double since he was acquired at the trade deadline. Two have come against the Lakers