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Parker powers Spurs; Lakers roll

- Associated Press - Sunday, April 29, 2012

SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored 28 points and the San Antonio Spurs won their first playoff opener in four years, beating the Utah Jazz 106-91 in Game 1 of their first-round series Sunday.

Tim Duncan added 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Spurs dodge another early playoff letdown. Despite boasting the No. 1 seed again, San Antonio hadn't won a Game 1 in its past six postseason series — including the one that began a shocking first-round ouster last year.

"I think everybody knows what happened last year," Parker said, referring to San Antonio's ouster by eighth-seeded Memphis. "Everybody's motivated this year, but we don't even talk about it."

Paul Millsap led Utah with 20 points. The Jazz hung close until the third, when the NBA's top 3-point shooting team began burying Utah with three in a two-minute burst to finish the quarter.

The Spurs have won 11 in a row.

Game 2 is Wednesday in San Antonio.

Gordon Hayward scored 17 points and Al Jefferson had 16 for the Jazz. It was Utah's first playoff game without coach Jerry Sloan since 2008, but the younger Jazz couldn't take advantage of their bigger frontcourt.

The Spurs hadn't won a playoff opener since beating Phoenix in double-overtime in 2008.

Center Tiago Splitter sprained his left wrist and didn't return after scoring four points in eight minutes. The severity of the injury wasn't immediately known, but even with arguably the deepest Spurs team in the Duncan era, San Antonio would sorely miss their 7-footer.

Parker shook off a slow start to shoot 10 of 19 from the floor. He also had eight assists in his best playoff game since scoring 43 against Dallas in 2009.

Lakers 103, Nuggets 88

LOS ANGELES — 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 controlled the tempo in a playoff-opening victory over Denver.

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.

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points for the sixth-seeded Nuggets, but the NBA's second-youngest playoff roster struggled to run. Andre Miller had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while helping out Ty Lawson, Denver's leading scorer, who managed just seven points while failing to make a shot in the first three quarters.

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.

Bulls GM backs coach's call to keep Rose in game

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman backed coach Tom Thibodeau on Sunday, saying he had no problem with the decision to stick with Derrick Rose late in the playoff opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"There's absolutely no issue there," Forman said.

There is, however, a big hole in the lineup after the Bulls lost their point guard to a season-ending injury.

The league's reigning MVP, Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee with about 1:20 left in Saturday's 103-91 victory — a huge blow for a team eyeing its first championship since the Michael Jordan era.

Now, the Bulls will try to get by without their superstar, beginning Tuesday with Game 2 in Chicago, and there's no guarantee Rose will be ready for the start of next season.

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