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Nuggets vs. Lakers: Highlights, Twitter Reaction and Analysis for Game 1

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to his three pointer with Andrew Bynum #17 against the Dallas Mavericks on way to a 112-108 win during overtime at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIApril 29, 2012

With a 103-88 win over the Denver Nuggets in the first game of their first-round series, the Los Angeles Lakers are off to a good start and should be feeling great about their performance.

It wasn't always easy, but the Lakers were the far better team for most of the game, received huge performances out of some key players, and, of course, Kobe Bryant scored a ton of points.

Denver just didn't have the firepower to hang with the Lakers, from a scoring perspective, and they weren't big enough down low to compete with the likes of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

As if that weren't enough, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill gave the Lake Show great contributions off the bench. That proved to be too much for the Nuggets to handle.

All in all, the Lakers have to be feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the second game.

 

Tweets of the Night

Magic Johnson started the conversation off with a question that's on many minds. Are the Lakers good enough to win a championship this year?

Condescending Wonka has some thoughts on everybody's favorite team:

Haters are gonna hate, but Stephen A. Smith thinks Andrew Bynum's game was deserving of praise today, and I have to agree:

As you can tell, suspended Laker Metta World Peace was really into the game, wherever he was:

Here's a very interesting tweet I'd like to leave you with from a handle called @Rasjid. What are your thoughts on this?

 

Must-See Highlights

The only thing worse than getting blocked by one guy is getting blocked by two. The Lakers provided the must-see highlight of this game with this awesome double-block by Gasol and Bynum:

The Nuggets didn't have much to be happy about this game, so let's throw them a bone here and take a look at this pretty play from Kenneth Faried:

 

Grades For Key Lakers Players

Kobe Bryant: A

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29:  Andre Miller #24 of the Denver Nuggets is fouled by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at Staples Cent
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Per usual, Kobe finds a way to come up big in the playoffs. It's just what he does, and he's great at it. Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting.

 

Andrew Bynum: A+

Bynum didn't play a huge role offensively, but the game he had on defense and on the boards was more than enough for the Lakers. He was tremendous in the paint today, swatting away 10 shots and snagging 13 rebounds. Oh, and he did add 10 points to that line, which would be a triple-double if you're keeping score at home.

 

Grades For Key Nuggets Players

Danilo Gallinari: B

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 09:  Rudy Fernandez #5, Danilo Gallinari #8, Ty Lawson #3, Kosta Koufos #41 and Al Harrington #7 of the Denver Nuggets prepare to face the New Orleans Hornets at the Pepsi Center on January 9, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Hornets def
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

I have to give credit to Gallinari for making the effort and doing his best to keep his team in the game, but in the end, his 19 points weren't enough to get the job done. 


Kosta Koufos: F

This wasn't a great game for Koufos, but who can blame him? He had to go against the likes of Bynum and Gasol all game, and success just wasn't in the cards for the big man. He wasn't able to score a single point, and he only grabbed five rebounds. Those are pretty pathetic numbers for your center in the playoffs.

 

Game MVP: Andrew Bynum

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after the game with the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on March 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 97-94.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

He didn't put up incredible offensive numbers, but he was dominant down low. Anytime you put together a triple-double in the playoffs, you deserve the game MVP honor, in my opinion.

 

What's Next

The Lakers just have to keep doing what they are doing right now, and it will lead to success. They need Bynum and Gasol to play huge roles down low, and they need Kobe to be his normal, dominant self offensively.

The Nuggets, on the other hand, have to go back to the drawing board. They need to figure out a way to be effective in the paint against this L.A. defense, while somehow forcing the Lakers to solely rely on Kobe, stifling their offense.

Game 2 should be extremely interesting.

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