Andrew Bynum scored 29 points in his first game of the season after serving a suspension as the Los Angeles Lakers came from behind to beat the Denver Nuggets 92-89 on Saturday. The centre's lay-up sent the Lakers ahead 91-89 with 1min 52sec to play as they powered past Denver's five-point, fourth-quarter lead in LA.
Bynum had been suspended for the first four games of the shortened NBA season because of a flagrant foul against Dallas in the Western Conference play-offs last season. He had originally been suspended for five games but that was reduced because of the shortened schedule.
The big man also had 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
"They're looking for me a lot and I'm a focal point early in the offence," Bynum said. But the out-of-shape centre paid a price in the early part of the game.
"I was winded like crazy today," he admitted.
"First game … I couldn't breathe in the first six minutes."
But even if he was winded, his domination inside was too much for the Nuggets to handle.
"His power around the basket, we haven't seen it yet," the Denver coach, George Karl, said.
"We'll have to make some adjustments on him, there's no question."
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol each added 17 points for the Lakers, who had started the season 0-2 but have now won three successive games.
Al Harrington led the Nuggets with 21 points. His team had an 85-80 lead after Harrington's three-pointer with five minutes to play. But the Lakers pulled even at 89-89 on Bryant's two free throws after Derek Fisher's hustle to save the ball after missing a three-pointer.
Meanwhile, Denver were drawing blanks. "We get three lay-ups and a couple of free throws in the last three minutes of the game and we miss all of them," Karl said. "We gave them too much hope, from Bynum and that loose ball from Fisher, and we never got that defensive confidence because we didn't rebound the ball."