The Nuggets got solid performances from reserves Smith and Chris Andersen, who tied a career high with seven blocks, pulled down 12 rebounds and chipped in 11 points.
The Lakers has their second-worst shooting night since the franchise moved to Southern California from Minneapolis
- 29.8 percent. They were on pace for their worst night ever when Jordan Farmar's breakaway layup with 5.1 seconds left allowed them to beat the old low-water mark of 29.4 percent set against Utah in 2004.
Bryant scored 29 points but he needed 31 shots to do it, sinking 10 of them.
The Lakers had won six straight.
Carmelo Anthony had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, and Chauncey Billups scored 22. But it was the reserves that ended Los Angeles' hex
- the Lakers had won five straight regular-season games plus a four-game sweep in the playoffs last year when the Nuggets became the first 50-win team to get shut out in the postseason.
Four nights after suffering a 38-point blowout by Boston at the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets hung tough with the Lakers, leading 46-40 at halftime and 66-63 after three quarters before pulling away.
Andersen led the way, pulling down a key rebound and rejecting a shot at one end and making two nifty layups at the other to help the Nuggets stretch their lead to 74-63.
Denver center Nene returned from a two-game absence with a bruised right knee. He didn't start but he did enter the game sooner than the Nuggets had hoped because Johan Petro picked up his third foul less than 3 minutes into the game.
The Nuggets had missed Nene's toughness in the paint, getting crushed by Boston and edging a short-handed Hawks team by a point on Wednesday night.