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Lakers Defeat Nuggets In Playoff Opener, Andrew Bynum Shuts Down Denver Attack

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The Los Angeles Lakers opened up their quest for Banner 17 last night, in a defensive clinic led by No. 17, Andrew Bynum. With 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, Bynum became the first Lakers player to record a triple-double in the Playoffs since 1991. Throughout the game, Drew disrupted Nuggets' players from driving down the lane, forcing them to kick the ball out for a contested, rushed shot.

His 10 blocks placed him in a three-way tie for the NBA record in a game, alongside Mark Eaton and the great Hakeem Olajuwon. Along the way, Bynum broke the Lakers franchise record for blocks in a game, 9, previously held by Kareem. As C.A Clark wrote:

Just one game. That's how long it took the Los Angeles Lakers to show they mean business this postseason. Or, at least, that's how long it took Andrew Bynum to show that he can mean business, and meaning business for Bynum means trouble for the rest of the league. In compiling only the 2nd playoff triple double of points, blocks, and rebounds ever, the precocious Lakers big man showed that defensive dominance is still very much one of the tricks in his bag.

As a team, the Lakers had 15 blocked shots and held the Nuggets to 36% shooting, with notable "Lakers Killer" Ty Lawson going just 3-11 for seven points.

Kobe added 31, doing most of his damage in the 2nd Half as young Laker Devin Ebanks chose to do his damage in the 1st. Solid contributions came from everyone on the Lakers bench, as Jordan Hill picked up a double-double and Pau Gasol was only two rebounds and two assists from a triple-double himself. Pau Gasol added his thoughts and the key to the Lakers this post-season:

We’re consistent defensively. The opportunities are going to be there for us and we’re going to be very effective. Offensively, we have enough to match up against any team but defense is what makes the biggest difference with our team. We just have to be mentally ready for every game to give this kind of effort.

Elsewhere Around the League, the Spurs march on, Rondo is ejected as the Celtics fall to the Hawks, and the Clippers come back from 24 down to stun the Grizz, but lose Caron Butler to injury.