The Denver Nuggets had everything stacked against them last night at the Pepsi Center. As they do just about every season, the Los Angeles Lakers came to town as the NBA’s leading team. The Nuggets were without two of their best defenders, Kenyon Martin and Chris “Birdman” Andersen, and they were coming off a historic loss at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. But the Nuggets overcame all of that, downing the Lakers 118-112 in Denver’s best game of the season so far. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Nuggets, posting 32 points and 13 rebounds, two shy of Kobe Bryant’s game-high 34 points (via box score).

But it was bench players like Ty Lawson who sparked the Nuggets in the fourth quarter after the Lakers opened up a nine-point lead, notes The Denver Post. Gary Forbes, Al Harrington, and JR Smith, also bench players, each chipped in, helping carry the weight and earning the win (via Denver Stiffs).

Despite the loss, Bryant became the youngest player to reach the 26,000-point mark at just 32 years and 80 days old, passing up legend Wilt Chamberlain, who was 32 years and 114 days old when he accomplished the same (via ESPN).