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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers 96, Denver 87

May 13, 2012 at 1:34 AM

LOS ANGELES, May 13 (UPI) -- Steve Blake keyed a fourth-quarter run Saturday that boosted the Los Angeles Lakers to a 96-87 win over Denver and first-round playoff series triumph.

Blake (19 points off the bench) netted two of his five 3-pointers during a 16-5 spurt that carried the Lakers to the victory in Game 7 of their hard-fought series against the Nuggets, who had battled back from a 3-games-to-1 deficit.

Pau Gasol led Los Angeles with 23 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots. Kobe Bryant contributed 17 points and eight assists.

The Lakers now go on to face Oklahoma City in next week's Western Conference semifinals.

Ty Lawson went 11-of-19 from the field en route to 24 points for the Nuggets, who fell in the first round of the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.

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