Bynum Scores 30 as Lakers Beat Nuggets to Clinch Playoff Spot

Andrew Bynum scored 30 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Denver Nuggets 103-97 and clinch a playoff spot atop the Western Conference Pacific Division.

The Lakers are third in the conference, 5½ games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nuggets (32-27) are 11 games behind the Thunder and tied for seventh place with the Houston Rockets, who lost 112-108 last night to the Phoenix Suns.

Matt Barnes had 24 points and Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers (38-22), who are playing without Kobe Bryant.

Andre Miller scored 20 points and Al Harrington added 18 for the Nuggets at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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