Antawn Jamison

By the time Dwight Howard stepped back and oh-so-coolly hit just the second 3-pointer of his entire career in the closing seconds, it didn’t even seem weird to the Los Angeles Lakers.

With so many unlikely numbers in improbable places on that bulging scoresheet, what was one last long-distance shot for a team that finally discovered its elusive rhythm?

Antawn Jamison scored 33 points while leading an outstanding game by the Lakers’ reserves, and Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds before hitting Los Angeles’ 17th 3-pointer to close a 122-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Jodie Meeks scored 21 points on a career high-tying seven 3-pointers for the Lakers, who improved to 3-3 under Mike D’Antoni while playing at the furious tempo favored by their new coach…

Kobe Bryant had 14 points and eight assists for the Lakers, who moved the ball to the tune of 33 assists while making 54 percent of their shots. They also tied the club record for 3-pointers in a regulation game, getting five from Jamison in the first 30-point game by a Lakers reserve since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 1998.

Jamison, the high-scoring veteran who signed with Los Angeles for a shot at a title, found the shooting stroke he has lacked for much of the season so far, going 13 for 19 and grabbing 12 rebounds while taking more shots than Bryant or Howard…

Los Angeles led 71-57 at halftime, making 60 percent of its shots in an impressive stretch of offensive basketball.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press