The Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing end to their 2011 NBA Playoff hopes when they got swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals. Vowing to avenge their loss last year, the Lakers entered Sunday's matchup (April 29) with the focus and attention they should have given their trip to the playoffs in 2011.
Their opponent for the opening round is the Denver Nuggets. During the regular season the Lakers were able to take 3-of-4 from Denver and the Lakers continued their domination in Game 1 of the opening series. While the Nuggets led the league in scoring during the regular season with 104.12 points-per-game, they were only able to muster 88 points against the Lakers. That was due in large part to the fact that Andrew Bynum was able to block 11 percent of the shots the Nuggets put up.
Bynum finished with a triple double that included 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots. Bynum not only tied an NBA record for blocks in a playoff game, he also had the Lakers' first playoff triple double in 21 years.
I really love the way Bynum has played all throughout this season. He has been there for the Lakers every step of the way and has certainly played, in my opinion, the best year of basketball in his professional career. It has in large part to do with the fact that Bynum has been healthy this entire year. Aside from serving a four-game suspension to begin the season, Bynum missed two other games - playing in 60 of 66 contests in the lockout shortened season.
As I discussed in my series preview article the keys to the Lakers' game would be the tempo, the play of Ramon Sessions in his first NBA Playoff appearance, and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. So far in this series - even though it is just one game - the Lakers looked to be in control of the tempo and each key player has done their part. As my good friend Brian F. would say, "Nice win Lakers; onto the next one!"
If Bynum plays this way throughout the NBA Playoffs, the rest of the league had better take note of the Lakers. Los Angeles is searching for its third championship in four seasons and I would imagine that if the Lakers fire on all cylinders, there may be little else that teams can do to slow them down; let alone stop them.
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
NBA.com. Lakers vs. Nuggets Game 1 Recap. NBA 2012
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