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List of Articles by Nicholai R. Roska

NBA PLAYOFFS -- Lakers open postseason with a bang

By Nicholai R. Roska
30 Apr 2012

LOS ANGELES -- Unlike their previous campaigns, when they were heavy favorites to win it all, the LA Lakers are a mere No.3 seed in the Western Conference of this year's NBA playoffs.

But the back--to-back 2009-2010 NBA champions served notice Sunday afternoon that they are definitely a force to reckon with by destroying the visiting Denver Nuggets, 103-88, at the Staples Center.

The Lakers went right to business from the get-go, taking an early 18-10 lead before closing the first quarter with a 27-14 advantage. The Nuggets clawed to within 31-35 following a Timofey Mozgov dunk at the 6:24 mark of the second quarter, but the Lakers fired back with a mini run to seize the half 50-40.

Los Angeles padded its cushion to 64-48 midway through the third stanza and the Nuggets never threatened from that point on.

Kobe Bryant led the purple-and-gold with 31 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Black Mamba sank 11-of-24 field goals and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. He clanked his only two 3-point attempts.

Andrew Bynum had an impressive triple-double -- 10 points, 10 rebounds and 13 blocked shots -- while Pau Gasol added 13 points. eight rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers bigs dominated.

Playing in place of the suspended Ron Artest, forward Devin Ebanks acquitted himself well with 12 points and five rebounds while point guard Ramon Sessions managed his game admirably, scoring 14 points and giving five assists against zero turnovers.

The Lakers shot 50 percent from the field (43-of-86 baskets) and 6-of-17 threes (35.3 percent). They went to the free throw stripe just 15 times and converted 11, but as the way their jumpshots kept falling at a high rate, the Lakers didn't need as many forays to the paint.

Danilo Gallinari finished with 19 points for the No. 6 seed Denver Nuggets, who converted only 32-of-90 field goals (35.6 percent) and 4-of14 3s (28.6 percent).
Andre Mille came off the bench for 12 points while Corey Brewer chipped in 11. (Nicholai Rhiz Roska)

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