Kobe Bryant returns with 13 points in 21 minutes of exhibition win over Nuggets

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sails past Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo while driving the lane.

Lenny Ignelzi/AP


Kobe Bryant had 13 points and five assists while playing 21 minutes as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 98-95 in a preseason game Monday night.

Bryant — back after missing 76 games last season, including the final 57 because of a fractured left knee — shot 5 for 12 from the field.

Steve Nash, another Lakers veteran rebounding from injuries, had 11 points and five assists in 20 minutes. Jordan Clarkson led Los Angeles with 14 points.

Ty Lawson scored 14 points to lead Denver.

Bryant missed two of his first three shots, including his first attempt, a 15-footer that just grazed the net. However, he moved easily and had little trouble creating separation from defenders on his shot.

The Nuggets led 54-51 at halftime.