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Lakers Vs. Nuggets, NBA Playoffs: Matt Barnes (Ankle Sprain) Cleared To Play Game 1 Sunday

The Los Angeles Lakers will begin their 2012 NBA playoff run on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, opening their first round series against the Denver Nuggets at home in a nationally televised game on ABC. The Lakers received some good news on Saturday, the eve of their first game, as Matt Barnes has been cleared to play, per Mike Trudell of NBA.com.

Barnes sat out the regular season finale Thursday with a sprained left ankle, and didn't even make the trip to Sacramento. But he will play on Sunday, which is good news for a Lakers team that will be without the suspended Metta World Peace at small forward for the next six games.

Barnes averaged 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.9 minutes per game this season, while shooting 45.2% from the field and 33.3% from three-point range. Barnes played in 63 of the Lakers' 66 games and started 16 times. The Lakers were 9-7 in games started by Barnes.

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