NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, May 1st
(All times eastern)
(6) Denver Nuggets (0-1) at (3) Los Angeles Lakers (1-0), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets will have to find a way to deal with
Lakers big man Andrew Bynum if they plan on competing in the Western
Bynum put on a brilliant defensive performance in Game 1 of the series on
Sunday, matching Hakeem Olajuwon and Mark Eaton for the most blocks in an NBA
playoff game and posting the first Lakers postseason triple-double in 21 years
as Los Angeles thumped the Nuggets, 103-88.
With Game 2 set for Staples Center on Tuesday, the Nuggets will try to up the
tempo in order to ease the 7-footer's impact on the game.
Bynum netted 10 points to go along 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 1991 NBA Finals against the Chicago
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," first-year Lakers head coach Mike Brown said.
Kobe Bryant scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half on 11-of-24
shooting, while Devin Ebanks filled in admirably for the suspended Metta World
Peace, scoring 12 points to go with five boards.
World Peace, of course, was suspended for seven games after he unleashed a
violent elbow to the head of Thunder top reserve James Harden last Sunday. The
former Ron Artest will not be eligible to play again for the Lakers until and
if the team reaches a seventh postseason game.
"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 in Game 1 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, however.
"They took a good punch at us, we have to learn from it and come back," Denver
head coach George Karl said.
Perhaps understanding his team is overmatched, Karl began working the
officials on Monday, claiming the Lakers played "about 30 illegal defense
possessions" against his team in Game 1, allowing Bynum to park in the paint
and pick off shots.
Brown took the gamesmanship in stride.
"He's a veteran coach," the Lakers' mentor said of Karl. "He's been in the
playoffs a long time. He's just got to try to work the officials in different
ways, and that's what he's doing. I applaud him for that. George is maybe
doing the right thing."
The news hasn't been all good for LA, however. Reports surfaced that backup
big Jordan Hill, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1, has been
officially charged with assault over an alleged confrontation with his
girlfriend before joining the Lakers.
Despite a a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday in Houston, Hill, who had
10 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1, claimed he doesn't expect to miss any
practice time or games.
"He has talked to Mitch (Kupchak, the Lakers' general manager)," Brown said.
"But it's not that we're worried about his mental focus. We just told him that
we're behind him."
These two teams are meeting in the playoffs for the third time in the past
five years (2008, 2009). In fact, the Nuggets and LA have met on five
different occasions (1979, 1985, 1987, 2008, 2009) with the Lakers advancing
each time, most recently defeating Denver 4-2 in the 2009 Western Conference
finals en route to the franchise's last NBA title.
The Lakers also won the 2011-12 season series with the Nuggets 3-1 after
dropping last season's series (1-2) as well as the 2009-10 series (1-3).
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will take place on Friday in Denver.
05/01 10:36:10 ET
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