April 30, 2012 in Sports

Bynum posts triple-double, sparks Lakers

Associated Press photo

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, right, swatted away a playoff record-tying 10 shots against the Nuggets.
(Full-size photo)

NBA: Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, Andrew Bynum posted the Lakers’ first playoff triple-double in 21 years with an NBA postseason record-tying 10 blocked shots, and Los Angeles thoroughly controlled the tempo in a playoff-opening 103-88 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

Bynum, the Lakers’ All-Star center coming off his best regular season, also had 10 points and 13 rebounds while incredibly blocking 11 percent of the Nuggets’ 90 shots.

While Bynum had the Lakers’ first playoff triple-double since Magic Johnson in the 1991 NBA finals, fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol added 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the playoff-tested Lakers, who never trailed while forcing the NBA’s highest-scoring team to play Los Angeles’ preferred half-court style.

Bynum blocked eight shots in the first three quarters before surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s franchise-record nine blocks in the fourth. He swatted Timofey Mozgov’s shot for No. 10 in the closing minutes to equal the NBA record set by Utah’s Mark Eaton on April 26, 1985, and matched by Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon on April 29, 1990.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

• Clippers rally from 27 down to stun Memphis: Chris Paul hit a pair of free throws with 23.7 seconds left, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from 27 down to beat the host Memphis Grizzlies 99-98 in the opening game of this Western Conference series.

Rudy Gay missed a 15-footer with 0.9 seconds left after the Grizzlies squandered a lead they held for the first 47 minutes.

The Clippers lost Caron Butler to a broken left hand. But Nick Young scored 19 points off the bench, including three 3-pointers in the midst of the Clippers’ 26-1 run.

Paul finished with 14 points, and Blake Griffin had 17. Butler had 12 before leaving the game.

Gay finished with 19 for Memphis. Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo had 17, and Marc Gasol had 14.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

• Red-hot Spurs end Game 1 drought: Tony Parker scored 28 points and the host San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz to win their playoff opener for the first time in four years.

San Antonio hadn’t won a Game 1 in its last six postseason series – including the one that began a shocking first-round ouster last year.

The Spurs have won 11 in a row.

Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio.

• Rondo ejected as Hawks top Celtics: Josh Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, leading the Atlanta Hawks to a home win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the final minute turning ugly when Celtics star Rajon Rondo was ejected for bumping an official.

The Hawks, who led by as many as 19 in the first half, were clinging to a four-point lead when Rondo lost his cool with 41 seconds remaining – and may have cost himself a chance to play Game 2 on Tuesday night.

• Lin hopeful for Game 4 return: Jeremy Lin, sidelined since having surgery on his left knee April 2, said it’s possible he’ll be able to play later in the Knicks’ first-round playoff series against the Heat, perhaps in Game 4, which would be about a week ahead of schedule.

Briere, Flyers edge Devils in overtime

NHL: Danny Briere scored the winning goal 4:36 into overtime to lead the Flyers to a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils in Philadelphia to open the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Briere had his second chance at the winner count minutes after his earlier attempt was overturned on review because he kicked it into the net. He also scored in the second period.

He wasted no time making it up for the OT missed opportunity. He fired a slapper past Martin Brodeur for his seventh goal of the playoffs. Brodeur was screened in front by Philadelphia forward James van Riemsdyk.

Game 2 is Tuesday.

• Coyotes avoid OT in win over Predators: Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Antoine Vermette and Martin Hanzal each had a goal and an assist, and the Phoenix Coyotes avoided their usual overtime theatrics, beating the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Glendale, Ariz., to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

The Coyotes did not go into overtime for only the second time in eight playoff games.

The best-of-7 series shifts to Nashville for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Nadal posts seventh Barcelona Open title

Tennis: Rafael Nadal became the first player in the Open Era to win two tournaments seven times after beating David Ferrer 7-6 (1), 7-5 in the Barcelona Open final in Barcelona, Spain.

The second-ranked Nadal’s 21st straight victory on clay followed up his eighth straight win in Monte Carlo, as Nadal won the 10th all-Spanish ATP final for a 48th career win.

The sixth-ranked Ferrer lost his fourth Barcelona Open final to Nadal, who saved 12 of 15 break points for a 34th straight victory at Barcelona.

Only Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have beaten Nadal in a clay court final.

• Sharapova finally tops Azarenka: Second-ranked Maria Sharapova cruised past top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 in Stuttgart, Germany, to win the Porsche Grand Prix for her first title of the year.

Sharapova lost the finals of the Australian Open and Indian Wells this year to Azarenka, and the Russian had never beaten her rival from Belarus in four finals.

Wiggins wins six-day Tour de Romandie

Cycling: Bradley Wiggins won the six-day Tour de Romandie after taking the race-ending individual time-trial stage.

Wiggins overcame early mechanical trouble to finish in 28 minutes, 56 seconds for the 10.25-mile circuit around the ski resort in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

The British rider was one second faster than Andrew Talansky of the United States, who climbed to second overall, trailing Wiggins by 12 seconds.

American Malignaggi stops Senchenko

Boxing: American Paul Malignaggi stopped previously undefeated Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko in the ninth round to take the WBA welterweight title in Donetsk, Ukraine.

The referee stepped in to halt the fight at 1:10 in the ninth after Malignaggi pounded the left side of Senchenko’s face until his eye closed.

The 31-year-old Malignaggi, the former IBF junior welterweight champion, improved to 31-4 with his seventh career knockout.

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