INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar delivered a flying headlock to Danny Schayes in Tuesday night's Western Conference championship series, but in the end the Nuggets applied the stranglehold.
Alex English poured in 40 points to lead Denver to a 136-114 rout of the Lakers and even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
The series moves to Denver for the third and fourth games Friday night and Sunday. The winner of the series advances to the NBA Championship series against the Boston-Philadelphia winner in a series now led by the Celtics 2-0.
The Lakers have won eight straight games in Denver with their last defeat coming by one point in 1982.
The physical game turned into a near-brawl with 6:18 remaining when Schayes and the Lakers' Magic Johnson got into a shoving match. Abdul-Jabbar, who had exchanged words with Schayes two minutes earlier and was given a technical foul for it, jumped onto Schayes' back, got him in a headlock and wrestled him to the floor as players from both benches poured onto the court.
Order was restored, but Abdul-Jabbar, who had hit only 4-of-16 field goal attempts, was ejected with his team trailing 113-97.
'We were playing basketball. They were the ones throwing elbows and tackling us,' said Denver coach Doug Moe.
Johnson saw it a bit differently.
'If you're gonna' get hit and accept it, you're gonna' get hit again and hit again,' he said. 'You've got to put a stop to it. Schayes hit me in the eye with an elbow and I decided to put a stop to it. Then the whole thing broke loose.'
The loss was the Lakers' first at the Forum in their last 24 games and snapped the team's longest-ever home streak. Denver was the only team in the NBA to beat the Lakers twice at home during the regular season, but Los Angeles won the first game of the playoff series by 17 points.
'They won easy in the first game and they thought they were going to win easy tonight,' Moe said. 'I came in here thinking we had a chance to win. We didn't win 52 games for nothing. We're not chopped liver.
'They're still the overwhelming favorite, and they may come back and beat us by 50. But we don't give a damn. We've got nothing to lose.'
Dan Issel added 22 points for Denver while Calvin Natt and Elston Turner, starting in place of the injured Lafayette Lever, added 18 each.
The Lakers were led by Byron Scott's 22 points. James Worthy had 17, Michael Cooper had 16 and Mike McGee added 15. Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar finished with 13 points each.
Los Angeles trailed only 89-86 entering the final period, but the Nuggets, led by English, used a potent fastbreak to score several uncontested field goals and quickly built their lead to 102-91 with a 12-5 burst in the first four minutes of the quarter.
The fourth-quarter fight between Schayes and Abdul-Jabbar seemed to deflate an already punchless Laker team and the Nuggets rolled up the score, building the lead to 128-101 with 2:24 remaining.