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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lakers take Game 1

LOS ANGELES (AP) Andrew Bynum leaned over, his hands on his knees, his chest heaving from his first minutes of game action in nearly a month.

Other than being out of breath, Bynum displayed little rust in teaming with Pau Gasol to dominate the middle in the Los Angeles Lakers' 87-79 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in their playoff series opener Sunday.

Bynum ignited the Staples Center crowd with a monster one-handed dunk over a defenseless Nenad Krstic in the second quarter that pushed the Lakers' lead to 17.

"It kind of got me going," Bynum said. "It hyped the team up. That's the kind of player I can be — exciting."

Gasol scored 19 points, Bynum added 13 and Kobe Bryant had 21 points on 6-of-19 shooting after missing four of the final five regular season games to rest his swollen right knee and broken right index finger.

"I just have less margin for error with the finger," he said. "You just got to make adjustments, change your stroke up a little bit."

History is on the Lakers' side against the NBA's youngest team, with an average age of 25 years and 42 days. When coach Phil Jackson wins Game 1 of any series, his teams are 45-0.

"We eked the game out," Jackson said. "In the second half, we played not up to what we want to play. The energy wasn't what it could be."

Magic 98, Bobcats 89

In Orlando, Jameer Nelson scored 24 of his 32 points in the first half, and the Magic nearly blew a 22-point lead before beating Charlotte in Game 1.

Rashard Lewis added 19 points, and Dwight Howard had nine blocks but was limited offensively and in foul trouble for most of the second half.

Gerald Wallace had 25 points, and Stephen Jackson played through a hyperextended left knee to finish with 18 points in the Bobcats' first playoff game in franchise history.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Orlando.

Charlotte swarmed and slapped Howard on every opportunity near the rim to frustrate the Magic's All-Star center. Howard had five points and seven rebounds, and was 1-for-6 on free throws.

Mavericks 100, Spurs 94

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki opened the playoffs in a high gear, making 12 of 14 shots and scoring 36 points to lead the Mavericks over San Antonio.

The Spurs did a good job of slowing Nowitzki in the first round last year, usually by swarming him with two and sometimes three defenders. They went with only one most of this game and paid the price.

Caron Butler scored 22 points and Brendan Haywood added 10 in their playoff debut for Dallas. Both were part of a major trade in February that turned a good Mavericks team into a much better one. They came into the playoffs having won eight of 10 and five straight.

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all looked in prime playoff form — but didn't get much help. Duncan had 27 points and eight rebounds, Ginobili scored 26 and Parker had 18 points and four assists. George Hill started at point guard, but was scoreless with two turnovers in 18 minutes.

Trail Blazers 105, Suns 100

In Phoenix, Andre Miller scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and tied his career playoff high with 31 points as short-handed Portland stole homecourt advantage from Phoenix with a victory over the Suns on Sunday night.

Methodical Portland was a tough matchup for the Suns all season and it was no different in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, despite the absence of the Blazers' scoring leader, Brandon Roy.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and Nicolas Batum 18 for Portland. Jerryd Bayless also had 18 for the Blazers.



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