Bynum helps Lakers thump Nuggets in Game 1Apr 30, 2012 - 12:59 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Andrew Bynum matched Hakeem Olajuwon and Mark Eaton for the most blocks in an NBA playoff game and posted the first Lakers triple-double in 21 years as Los Angeles thumped the Denver Nuggets, 103-88, in the opener of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Bynum netted 10 points to go with 13 rebounds and 10 blocks, becoming the first Laker to register a postseason triple-double since Magic Johnson accomplished the feat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls.
The record-setting block for Bynum came with 3:02 to play in the game. Timofey Mozgov attempted a left-handed hook in the paint, but Bynum was right there to emphatically swat it away.
"The difference in the game was Andrew Bynum. He was phenomenal tonight, he was an absolute beast," Lakers head coach Mike Brown said.
Kobe Bryant scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half on 11-of-24 shooting, while Brown made his Lakers playoff coaching debut.
Devin Ebanks filled in admirably for the suspended Metta World Peace, scoring 12 points to go with five boards. World Peace will miss the first six games of the series for a violent elbow to the head of Thunder top reserve James Harden last Sunday.
"Guys came out and played a 48-minute game, very few breakdowns in our gameplan. Our guys stepped up and played a solid game at both ends of the floor," Brown said.
Danilo Gallinari poured in 19 points to lead the Nuggets, who won six of their last seven games to close the regular season. Denver's leading scorer, Ty Lawson, was limited to just seven points.
"They took a good punch at us, we have to learn from it and come back," Denver head coach George Karl said.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will take place on Tuesday at Staples Center.
These two teams are meeting for the third time in the past five years (2008, 2009), but like their two previous playoff matchups, this contest was one- sided right from the opening tip.
The Lakers nearly doubled up the Nuggets in the opening frame. Steve Blake nailed three three-pointers and two Bryant free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining gave Los Angeles a 27-14 advantage after a quarter of play.
After Gallinari's reverse dunk cut the deficit to 39-34 with just under four minutes left in the second, Los Angeles closed the half on an 11-6 surge to take a 50-40 lead into the locker room.
"In the first half our offense was building no confidence. They had too much control with a lot of aspects of the game," Karl said.
A 7-2 spurt at the midpoint of the third helped the Lakers build a 19-point bulge. Ramon Sessions received a fortuitous bounce on a left-corner triple and Bryant sliced and diced through the Nuggets defense before getting his short shot to fall, giving Los Angeles a commanding 71-52 advantage.
Los Angeles took a 77-64 edge into the final period and led by as many as 21 in fourth.
Denver, which led the NBA in scoring with 104.1 points per game, shot just 35.6 percent from the field.
The Lakers swept the Nuggets in four games in the 2008 Western Conference quarterfinals and defeated them in six games in the 2009 Conference Finals...These two squads also met in the playoffs in 1979, 1985 and 1987, with the Lakers advancing each time...Los Angeles won the regular-season series 3-1...Utah's Eaton recorded 10 blocks against the Houston Rockets on Apr. 26, 1985, while Olajuwon swatted 10 shots against the Lakers on Apr. 29, 1990.
- DENVER: 88
LOS ANGELES: 103
Apr 29 5:54 PM
- DENVER: 64
LOS ANGELES: 77
End of 3rd
Apr 29 5:21 PM
- DENVER: 14
LOS ANGELES: 27
End of 1st
Apr 29 4:03 PM
- DENVER: 0
LOS ANGELES: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 29 3:33 PM
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