On a sunny, 80-degree-weather Sunday afternoon that most of us in Southern California refer to as “Sunday Funday,” Andrew Bynum took full advantage and hosted a block party for the Denver Nuggets. Except there were no barbeque grills, pools, or cold beers; at least not in the game, anyway.
Bynum notched a rare triple-double (we’ll get more into this during “The Breakdown”) by putting up a stunning line of 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the first round of the post-season.
He had plenty of help, however.
The Lakers jumped out to a 27-14 lead in the first quarter, led by Steve Blake’s hot shooting; Blake was 3-of-4 from behind the three point line en route to nine points in the first quarter. Kobe Bryant, struggling to find his shot, dished out all three assists to Blake while Andrew Bynum grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots in the period.
The second quarter was all about Devin Ebanks, who had eight points in the second 12-minute period. However, the Nuggets were able to slightly cut into the lead as the Lakers led 50-40 by halftime. Andrew Bynum was on pace for his triple-double at the time with six points, nine rebounds, and four blocks.
The Lakers started out the third quarter hot, even building up a 19-point lead at one time. However, the Nuggets managed to cut the lead to 11 with three minutes left in the quarter. The Lakers ended the quarter leading 77-64 behind Kobe Bryant’s nine points and Ramon Sessions’ seven points in the period. Bynum had continued his impressive defensive performance with four blocks in the quarter.
In the fourth, Kobe finally got going, scoring 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and Bynum cemented his triple-double in the last few minutes of the game. In the meantime, Pau Gasol had quietly notched a near triple-double of his own as the Lakers kept the foot on the pedal and outscored the Nuggets 26-23 to win 103-88.
One down, fifteen to go.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers in scoring with 31 points, and also had five rebounds and four assists. Ramon Sessions provided offense as well with 14 points (on 2-3 shooting from three) and five rebounds while Pau Gasol nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks. Devin Ebanks scored all 12 of his points in the first half, and also grabbed five rebounds; he was a highly efficient 5-for-6 from the field. Andrew Bynum had the most impressive line, though, with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 huge blocks. Jordan Hill provided a solid 10 points, 10 rebounds (four offensive), and two blocks off the bench while Steve Blake had nine points (all in the first quarter) and four assists. Matt Barnes–who had been playing extremely well before injuring his ankle last Sunday–scored just two points but grabbed six boards and had four steals in 29 minutes of play.
As for the Nuggets, Danilo Gallinari was the high-point man with 19, and also had four rebounds. Andrew Miller had a nice game with 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Corey Brewer finished with 11 points as Al Harrington put up 10 points and grabbed five rebounds. Arron Aflalo added nine points and three assists while Ty Lawson dropped in seven points. Timofey Mozgov had six points and four rebounds, and Javale McGee grabbed six rebounds but scored just two points. Kosta Koufos was scoreless in 12 minutes of play, but grabbed five rebounds.
Now, let’s break down the victory.
Next Page: The Breakdown