Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/29/12

LOS ANGELES -- Andrew Bynum said after finishing the Lakers' final pre-playoff practice Saturday: "We're well aware we need to come out and make a statement in the first game."

Bynum wanted the Lakers to re-establish themselves as a threat to win what would be a third NBA championship in four years by dominating the Denver Nuggets, and that's just what happened Sunday at Staples Center.

The Lakers' defense was smothering, and it was Bynum who anchored the paint and turned high-percentage Denver shots into disappointing results for the NBA's highest-scoring team in the regular season.

The Lakers won, 103-88, and Bynum piled up 10 blocks - tying the NBA record held by Mark Eaton and Hakeem Olajuwon for a playoff game. Bynum added 10 points and 13 rebounds for a triple-double, his career first and the Lakers' first in the postseason since Magic Johnson's in the 1991 NBA Finals.

The Nuggets scored 104.1 points on 47.6 percent shooting in the regular season, when they roared to eight victories in their final 10 games to claim the Western Conference's No. 6 seed and draw the No. 3 Lakers.

On Sunday, Denver shot 35.6 percent from the field and trailed by as many as 21 points.

Leading scorer Ty Lawson was kept at bay by the Lakers, going scoreless with just one assist and two turnovers in the first half, which ended with the Lakers ahead, 50-40. Lawson finished with seven points on 3-of-11 shooting and just two assists.

The Lakers hit the half-century mark by halftime even though Kobe Bryant was cold with just eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. His lack of scoring production was offset by reserve guard Steve Blake drilling three 3-pointers in the first quarter and second-year small forward Devin Ebanks leading the team with 12 first-half points.

Bryant predictably heated up in the second half to end up with a game-high 31 points, although he shot 11-of- 24 from the field to get there.

The Nuggets didn't necessarily think they were going to stop the Lakers' offense in this series, but they hoped to overcome it by increasing the tempo of the game for more easy baskets.

The Lakers were dead-set on not allowing that to happen, and they outscored Denver, 5-0, in fast-break points in a first quarter that almost entirely went Los Angeles' way.

For the game, Denver outscored the Lakers in fast-break points but not by nearly enough: 19-11. Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 19 points in a losing effort.

Game 2 is at Staples Center on Tuesday night.

NOTES: The Lakers' Matt Barnes played despite his sprained right ankle, although second-year small forward Devin Ebanks started for the Lakers in place of suspended Metta World Peace. After Sunday, World Peace is still suspended for five more Lakers games, playoff or regular-season. ... Lakers assistant coach John Kuester was back with the team after missing the final regular-season games because of the death of his mother. Lakers coaching consultant Ettore Messina helped prepare the Lakers' offense for the playoffs while Kuester was away. ... Denver's playoff depth is hurt by season-ending injuries to Wilson Chandler and Rudy Fernandez. Bench leader Al Harrington contributed to Denver's slow start by missing all three of his first-quarter shots. The Lakers led, 27-14, after one period. ... The Lakers outscored Denver in points in the paint, 64-44.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reggie Jackson's trolling in an NBA of long-tailed narratives

Top storylines for college football's Rivalry Week

Gabby Douglas says she was also abused by Larry Nassar

MLB punishes Braves, bans former GM for life

Report: Paxton Lynch will start for Broncos in Week 12

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ray Allen claims he was victim of catfishing scheme

Joe Morgan to voters: ‘Steroid users don’t belong here’

Jones confident he will get his way with Goodell contract

Clippers' Doc Rivers firmly on the hot seat

Report: Raiders fire DC Ken Norton Jr.

Cam Newton shares 2008 police photo to share message of hope

NFL Week 12 predictions

College football Week 13 predictions

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

Winners and losers from NBA's first month

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 12 predictions

NFL MVP Watch: Carson Wentz stands tall among the pack

The 'Greatest show on flat Earth' quiz

Young Maple Leafs maturing their way to the NHL elite

The Eagles are soaring but to what heights?

2017 Week 13 college football players to watch

The 'Wheelin' and Thielen in Minnesota' quiz

What each NFL team should be grateful for this Thanksgiving

NFL Week 11 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker