LOS ANGELES -- A day before Andrew Bynum produced one of the most eye-popping defensive performances in NBA playoff history, he spoke up to his Lakers teammates about the importance of getting off to a good start in their championship quest.
With an NBA record-tying 10 blocked shots, the 7-foot All-Star center put the Lakers on the good foot -- and the Denver Nuggets on their heels.
Kobe Bryant scored 31 points, Bynum posted the Lakers' first playoff triple-double in 21 years, and Los Angeles thoroughly controlled the tempo in a playoff-opening 103-88 victory Sunday.
Despite a few well-chronicled fluctuations in his motivation and discipline this year, the seventh-year pro had perfect focus in Game One, capping his utter dominance in the paint with his record-tying block of Timofey Mozgov with 3:02 to play. Bynum also had 10 points and 13 rebounds before checking out to an ovation.
"It's the only way really possible for me to get a triple-double -- through blocked shots," Bynum said of his first career triple-double. "If I play good D, we'll win games. I think I'm just going to be as aggressively as I can defensively to contest their shots. You've got to win Game One. Statistics are against the teams that lose Game One, especially on the home court."
Game Two is Tuesday night.
Around the rim
*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 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.
*Josh Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, leading the Atlanta Hawks to an 83-74 victory over Boston in Game One of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the final minute turning ugly when Celtics star Rajon Rondo was ejected for bumping an official. Rondo scored 20 points and dished out 11 assists, but none of it mattered when he lost his cool. A suspension may be coming for Tuesday's Game Two.
*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 One of their first-round series. Tim Duncan added 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Spurs dodge another early playoff letdown.