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 LOS ANGELES (AP) -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.
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