Lakers lead Nuggets, 32-25, after first quarter
Everyone was wondering if the Lakers and Andrew Bynum could come out as strong in Game 2 as they did in Game 1 of this best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series. Well, the answer was yes.
Bynum won the tip. The ball was brought downcourt and Bynum slammed it home. In fact Bynum had six of the Lakers first 12 points. Pau Gasol was also effective with four of the points, meaning that 10 of the Lakers’ first 12 points were by the big men.
Kobe Bryant also didn’t wait as long as he did in Game 1 to score, scoring about three minutes into the quarter.
The only downside was Devin Ebanks picked up two fouls in three minutes and Matt Barnes had to come in the game.
Bryant picked up his second basket with 7:49 to play as the Nuggets started to get back into the game. With the score 14-5, the Nuggets went on an 8-0 run until Bryant got his third basket of the game giving the Lakers a 16-13 lead. Barnes came back with a basket and Ramon Sessions benefitted from goaltending and the Lakers were up 20-13.
Al Harrington made a three-pointers for the Nuggets and the Laker lead was back to four. After a couple of missed shots, Arron Afflalo and Bynum exchanged baskets to keep the margin at four.
The momentum of the fast start started to fade and the Lakers had to be wondering if this game would be as easy as the opener.
With 2:45 to play in the quarte,r Bryant and Bynum were the only starters left on the court. Harrington cut it two with a turnaround basket but Bryant answered and made a three-point play giving the Lakers a 25-20 lead.
Harrington came back with a three-pointer of his own and Bryant once again answered with a basket for his 11th point. Corey Brewer cut the lead to two but Bynum got it back to four with two free throws. And Bryant finished it off with a three and suddenly the lead was seven.
Perhaps the most telling stat of the quarter was that the Nuggets were outrebounding the Lakers, 14-8.
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