Even after nearly a quarter-century on NBA benches, Denver coach George Karl can't remember the last time he was this nervous for a big game.

With a third straight victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night, his Nuggets would become just the ninth team to escape a three-games-to-one series deficit.

Game 7 is on Karl's 61st birthday, too.

While the Nuggets are rolling, the Lakers are reeling. Denver blew out Los Angeles in Game 6 after taking a huge lead in Game 5.

Ty Lawson scored 32 points, fellow spark-plug Corey Brewer added 18 and the free-wheeling, too-young-to-scare Nuggets forced a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series with a dominating 113-96 win Thursday night.

"This is the biggest game he's ever played in and Saturday will be even bigger," Karl said of Lawson, whose 32 points were a career-playoff high.

At least the third-seeded Lakers will be at home at the Staples Center. They also might get help from Metta World Peace, who will return from suspension to lead the physical play necessary to slow the Nuggets.

James the MVP

Heat forward LeBron James is the NBA's MVP for a third time, putting him alongside some of the game's all-time greats. A person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press that James will be announced Saturday as this year's winner of the league's top individual honor, and that he'll be formally presented with the trophy by commissioner David Stern on Sunday afternoon before Miami hosts Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Waiting for the next one

The Oklahoma City Thunder finally know when they'll get to resume the NBA playoffs. Their next opponent is still up in the air.

The Thunder will have had eight full days off when they start the Western Conference semifinals on Monday night against either the Denver Nuggets or the Los Angeles Lakers.

In NBA history, teams with eight days between playoff rounds have won their next series eight of 14 times, according to research by Stats LLC.

Too late

Friday night's Memphis-Los Angeles Clippers game ended too late for this edition.

- Associated Press