Billups helps Nuggets beat NBA champion Lakers

LOS ANGELES: Chauncey Billups scored a career-high 39 points to power the Denver Nuggets to a 126-113 win over Los Angeles, snapping the Lakers eight-game winning streak at Staples Center arena.

Billups' 21 points in the third quarter were the most against the Lakers in one period since Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain exploded for 23 in February 1966.

Billups' also had nine three-pointers and eight assists for Denver, who beat the Lakers despite missing their best player Carmelo Anthony. Anthony was out for the seventh straight game with an ankle sprain.

Billups shot 12-of-20 and went six-of-eight from the free-throw line.

"In this league once anybody gets going it is tough to stop them," Billups said. "It wasn't all me but everytime I went up I felt it was good."

Like Anthony, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has ankle problems of his own but decided to play. He scored 33 points but couldn't get them past the Nuggets who they beat in last year's NBA semi-finals.

Billups said they tailored their game plan to stopping Bryant.

"In the begining he had a lot of easy baskets," Billups said. "We made that adjustment at half time and made it a little tougher on him."

Billups, who will replace injured Chris Paul in the NBA all-star game, fuelled the Nuggets rally in the third as they battled back from a nine-point Lakers lead.

He nailed back-to-back three pointers to give the Nuggets a 84-83 lead.

JR Smith finished with 27 points and Ty Lawson had 13 and Kenyon Martin 11 as a half dozen Nuggets finished in double figures.

The win allowed the Nuggets to reach .500 on the road.

They shot 57 percent from the floor, 68 percent from long-range and 71 percent at the free throw line. The NBA champion Lakers shot 45 percent from the floor.