Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum blocked 10 Denver Nuggets shots on Sunday afternoon, a mark that tied an NBA playoff record, secured just the second points-rebounds-blocks triple-double in NBA postseason history, and helped the Lakers score a 103-88 victory in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Bynum scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and corralled 13 rebounds to go with the 10 swats, posting the first postseason triple-double by a Laker since June 12, 1991, when Magic Johnson scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished 20 assists in the fifth and final game of the 1991 NBA Finals, won by the Chicago Bulls.
He is just the third player to post double-figure blocks in a playoff game, joining former Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton, who set the record by blocking 10 shots against the Houston Rockets on April 26, 1985, and Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who tied Eaton's mark with 10 blocks against the Lakers on April 29, 1990. Olajuwon, too, posted a triple-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
The 24-year-old Lakers center rejected attempts by Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Al Harrington in the first period, then got Lawson again in the second quarter to enter halftime with four blocks. He sent back two Faried tries in the first five minutes of the third quarter, got Harrington again and blocked an Andre Miller attempt to head into the fourth with eight blocks. His ninth block of the game, on a Danilo Gallinari layup attempt at the 6:11 mark of the fourth, tied a Laker playoff record previously held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Bynum took sole possession of the franchise mark by notching his 10th block with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, sending back an optimistic lefty hook attempt (termed "kind of a hesitant move" by Bynum in a post-game interview) by Denver center Timofey Mozgov to stake his claim to a piece of NBA history.
Andrew Bynum blocks a Ty Lawson shot. (AP)
After the game, Bynum told ABC sideline reporter Lisa Salters that the Laker bench told him "he needed two more [to get the record], and I was just jumping at everything trying to get it."
"You know, it was very big," Bynum said of the accomplishment. "It shows I can do two things out there, offense and defense. Today, I was just being an animal out there on defense and we won by 15. So maybe, you know, note to self: The more I play D, the better we'll be."
Recording 10 or more blocks in a game, while certainly not a regular occurrence, isn't necessarily the rarest accomplishment; it's been done 98 times since the 1985-86 season, according to Basketball-Reference.com's box score research tool. But it's only happened two other times in the playoffs, and while both Eaton and Olajuwon met with defeat in their 10-block playoff games, Bynum's Lakers exit the Staples Center with a 1-0 lead.
The 10-block playoff triple-double is just the latest career milestone in what has been Bynum's most productive season as a pro (and, also, a year at times fraught with controversy). In his seventh season since being drafted out of high school in 2005 and becoming the youngest player ever to appear in an NBA game, Bynum averaged a career-high 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, earned his first All-Star selection and became one of just nine players since '85-'86 to snare 30 rebounds in a single game. Now, he's got one more achievement to add to his resume.
Original video of Bynum's 10-block performance via nbainfos.
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