Andrew Bynum had 29 points and 13 rebounds in his season debut following a four-game suspension that carried over from the playoffs as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 92-89 on Saturday.
Bynum shot 13-for-18, helping the Lakers win their third straight following the team’s first 0-2 start since 2002-2003. The center was suspended without pay for the first four games of the season because of a flagrant foul against Dallas’ J.J. Barea in Game 4 of the Western Conference semi-finals last season. The original ban was five games, but was reduced on Dec. 23 as a result of a shortened schedule caused by the NBA lockout.
Kobe Bryant, bogged down by foul trouble, had 17 points along with nine assists and 10 rebounds. The Lakers overcame two-for-24 shooting from three-point range.
Reserve forward Al Harrington had 21 points for the Nuggets, who have lost 25 of their last 29 road games against the Lakers.
PISTONS 96, PACERS 88
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Jonas Jerebko had 20 points and 12 rebounds as Detroit ended Lawrence Frank’s 20-game losing streak by beating Indiana.
Jerebko, who missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles’ tendon in the preseason, narrowly missed his career bests of 22 points and 13 boards.
Frank hadn’t won a game since April 13, 2009, when his New Jersey Nets beat the Charlotte Bobcats. The Nets lost their final game that season and Frank was fired after New Jersey got off to a 0-16 start the next fall. He also lost his first three games with the Pistons since replacing John Kuester during the offseason.
ROCKETS 95, HAWKS 84
In Houston, Kevin Martin scored 27 points and Kyle Lowry matched a career high with 18 assists as Houston led from start to finish in a victory over Atlanta.
Luis Scola added 21 points, Jordan Hill grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds and Chase Budinger scored 17 points for the Rockets, who looked fresh despite playing their third game in three nights.
Joe Johnson and Al Horford scored 15 points apiece for Atlanta.
Former Rocket Tracy McGrady scored 13 points on six-for-11 shooting. He first entered the game with 3:57 left in the first quarter and most fans greeted him with boos.
THUNDER 107, SUNS 97
In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 18 points and Daequan Cook hit four three-pointers in quick succession to help Oklahoma City pull away in the first half as the Thunder led wire to wire in a victory over Phoenix.
Two nights after hitting a buzzer-beating game-winner against Dallas, Kevin Durant had only 12 points in his bid to become the first player since Michael Jordan a quarter-century earlier to score at least 30 in the first five games of a season.
Hakim Warrick and rookie Markieff Morris had 15 points apiece for the Suns, who shot just 40 percent.
KNICKS 114, KINGS 92
In Sacramento, Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points, Tyson Chandler had 18 of his 22 in the second half as New York assumed control early in beating Sacramento.
The Knicks didn’t miss starting forward Amar’e Stoudemire, their leading rebounder and second-leading scorer who sat out with a sprained left ankle. They got an unexpected lift from replacement Josh Harrellson, a rookie from Kentucky who made his first NBA start and had career highs of 14 points and 12 rebounds, and hit four three-pointers.
Landry Fields had 21 points and Chandler added seven rebounds for the Knicks, who had struggled offensively in losing their previous two games, but had a season-high point total against the Kings. Toney Douglas had 17 points and eight assists.