The days off down the stretch of the regular season apparently did Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant a world of good as he scored 31 points on Sunday leading the Lakers past the Denver Nuggets by a score of 103-88 in the opening game of their first round playoff series. The Lakers sent a message to the rest of the Association in this contest; that they expect to be included with the Thunder and the Spurs, as teams that have a good chance of representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
Los Angeles was clicking on all cylinders at the Staples Center on Sunday as the squad shot 50% (43-86) with six players scoring in double-figures. The Nuggets were held to just 35.6% (32-90) in the contest with forward Danilo Gallinari leading his team with 19 points in the loss.
Denver left their offense in the locker room in the first quarter as they could only muster 14 points in 12 minutes and the Lakers held a 27-14 advantage at the conclusion of the period . Denver truly was never able to dig themselves out of the hole they were in at the end of the first and the Lakers would end up winning the game with relative ease.
Bryant scored 31 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal while Ramon Sessions added 14 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds. Pau Gasol knocked down 13 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks Devin Ebanks had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Andrew Bynum racked up a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, 10 blocks and 1 steal while Jordan Hill came off the bench with a double-double as he had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Gallinari scored 19 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal while veteran Andre Miller came off the bench with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal. Corey Brewer came off the bench with 11 points while Al Harrington and Kenneth Faried each added 10 points. Los Angeles leads the series 1-0 with game two scheduled for Tuesday.