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Lakers roll to playoff win over Nuggets

Sunday, April 20, 2008

By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Pau Gasol finally discovered how it feels to be on the winning side in a postseason game. The 7-foot Spaniard had a whole lot to do with his first victory.

Gasol established playoff highs with 36 points and eight assists and had 16 rebounds as well Sunday as the Los Angeles Lakers took command early in the third quarter and beat the Denver Nuggets 128-114.

Gasol, a 27-year-old forward/center acquired from Memphis on Feb. 1 after spending 6 1/2 seasons with the Grizzlies, was 0-12 in three previous postseasons.

Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 32 points in the final 8 minutes to keep Los Angeles safely ahead. Lamar Odom had 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists and Luke Walton added 16 points for the Lakers, who entered having won eight of their last nine regular-season games to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Game 2 will be played Wednesday night at Staples Center before the best-of-seven series shifts to Denver for the third and fourth games.

Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Nuggets. Allen Iverson also had 30 points before picking up two technical fouls with 2:10 remaining, calling for immediate ejection. Linas Kleiza scored a career playoff high 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 before fouling out with 3:14 left.

Magic 114, Raptors 100

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Dwight Howard had 25 points and 22 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson scored 24 points to help the Magic beat the Raptors in the opener of their first-round series.

Howard scored six straight points in a 10-0 fourth-quarter run that sealed Orlando's first playoff win since 2003. He also blocked five shots and made 9-of-11 free throws.

Anthony Parker had 24 points and 8 rebounds for Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 21 and Rasho Nesterovic had 16 points and 8 rebounds. Jason Kapono scored 18 off the bench.

The Raptors, who trailed by 20 points after the first quarter, drew within five with 10:24 left in the fourth on two quick 3-pointers by Kapono and a Parker jumper. But Toronto went scoreless for the next 3:16 as Orlando pulled away. 76ers 90, Pistons 86

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Andre Miller scored 20 points and Willie Green had a career playoff-high 17, helping the 76ers stun the Pistons in Game 1 of their first-round series.

The Eastern Conference's second-seeded team was expected beat the seventh-seeded Sixers by double digits and did lead by 15 midway through the third quarter.

But Philadelphia refused to follow the script.

After the Sixers trailed 62-47, Green made two baskets to start a 10-0 run that sparked a comeback.

Miller gave Philadelphia a lead midway through the fourth quarter for the first time since late in the first.

After Chauncey Billups missed three of four free throws and a layup in 2-plus minutes late in the game, he made two from the line to pull the Pistons within one with 45 seconds left.

Detroit's Jason Maxiell drew a charge on the ensuing possession, giving the home team a chance to avoid an upset.

The Pistons set up a play that created an open shot for Tayshaun Prince, but his jumper was short. After Andre Iguodala made one of two free throws with 11 seconds left, Rasheed Wallace missed a shot near the basket that would have tied it at 88.

Iguodala then made two free throws with 7 seconds left to seal the win.

Wallace had 24 points, nine rebounds and matched a franchise playoff record with seven blocks.

Both teams will get two days off before Detroit hosts Game 2 on Wednesday night.



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