Bryant, Bynum star for Lakers in Game 1 win over Nuggets

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LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, Andrew Bynum posted the Lakers’ first playoff triple-double in 21 years with an NBA postseason record-tying 10 blocked shots, and Los Angeles thoroughly controlled the tempo in a playoff-opening 103-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

Denver Nuggets power forward Al Harrington, left, and Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum battle for a rebound during the first half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game, Sunday, April 29, 2012, in Los Angeles.   MARK J. TERRILL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
MARK J. TERRILL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Denver Nuggets power forward Al Harrington, left, and Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum battle for a rebound during the first half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game, Sunday, April 29, 2012, in Los Angeles.

Bynum, the Lakers’ All-Star center coming off his best regular season, also had 10 points and 13 rebounds while incredibly blocking 11 percent of the Nuggets’ 90 shots.

While Bynum had the Lakers’ first playoff triple-double since Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA Finals, fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol added 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the playoff-tested Lakers.

Bynum blocked eight shots in the first three quarters before surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s franchise-record nine blocks in the fourth.

SPURS 106, JAZZ 91

In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 28 points and the Spurs won their first playoff opener in four years, beating Utah in Game 1 of their first-round series.

Tim Duncan added 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Spurs dodge another early playoff letdown.

Paul Millsap led Utah, which hung with San Antonio until the third quarter, with 20 points.

The Spurs have won 11 in a row.

Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio.

BULLS: General manager Gar Forman backed coach Tom Thibodeau on Sunday, saying he had no problem with the decision to stick with Derrick Rose late in the playoff opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“There’s absolutely no issue there,” Forman said.

There is, however, a big hole in the lineup after the Bulls lost their point guard to a season-ending injury.

The league’s reigning MVP, Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee with about 1:20 left in Saturday’s 103-91 victory – a huge blow for a team eyeing its first championship since the Michael Jordan era.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Chicago.


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