Pau Gasol established playoff highs with 36 points and eight assists and also hauled down 16 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers turned back Denver 128-114 in the opening game of their first-round series.
It's the first playoff victory for Gasol, who was acquired from Memphis on February 1st after six-and-a-half seasons with the Grizzlies. Gasol was 0-and-12 in three previous postseasons.
Kobe Bryant added 32 points with 18 coming in the final eight minutes. Lamar Odom chipped in with 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.
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.
The Lakers will host Game 2 Wednesday night before the best-of-seven series moves to Denver.