LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29: Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers is defended by Al Harrington of the Denver Nuggets during the second half in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 103-88. 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Denver Nuggets couldn't score in Game 1, couldn't deal with the size of Andrew Bynum and couldn't stop Kobe Bryant. At least things can only get better.
Andrew Bynum has been an offensive force for the Los Angeles Lakers this season like never before in his career, but he let Kobe Bryant take care of things on that end of the floor in Game 1 of their series against the Denver Nuggets. Bynum only attempted seven shots as he saved his energy for the defensive end, where he was dominant. He blocked 10 shots and grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with his 10 points for a triple-double.
As a team, the Lakers had 15 total blocks. The Nuggets only made 32 shots in L.A.'s 103-88 win. Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo, the Nuggets' two leading scorers, combined for just 16 points on 6-22 shooting between them. Al Harrington, the team's biggest scoring threat off the bench, was 4-14 from the floor.
Meanwhile, Bryant used the 'Kobe System' to its full effect in Game 1, scoring 31 points while taking 24 shots from the floor. There wasn't a single way in which the Lakers didn't outplay the Nuggets and there wasn't a single way in which they failed to get exactly what they wanted, on either end of the floor. Los Angeles jumped out to a massive first-quarter lead and only had to play average defense for the rest of the game to hold onto that lead.
Things will get more interesting when the series heads to Denver, but if the Nuggets don't play considerably better on Tuesday, the Lakers will be favored to get a split in Colorado and end this series in less than seven games. The Nuggets simply didn't look like a playoff team in Game 1 and need to get better in every area of their game.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday,10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, Calif.