Kobe gets 40, Lakers rout Suns in opener - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Kobe gets 40, Lakers rout Suns in opener

Posted: Updated:
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant dribbles around Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals Monday, May 17, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant dribbles around Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals Monday, May 17, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant dribbled toward the Lakers' bench, luring Channing Frye and Jason Richardson along with him. Bryant leaned back and launched a feather-soft jumper over Phoenix's double team, neatly beating the first-quarter buzzer.

That's about when the Suns should have noted the bright yellow brace on Bryant's right knee is the color of a caution sign.

Even with a balky knee and a litany of additional woes, Bryant still is among the most dangerous postseason scorers in NBA history — and he had no problem giving Los Angeles an early leg up in the Western Conference finals.

Bryant scored 40 points, Lamar Odom added 19 points and 19 rebounds, and the Lakers opened the series with ruthless offensive efficiency in a 128-107 victory on Monday night.

"Just being aggressive, playing my game," Bryant said. "Got shots, took them. Got lanes to the basket, took them."

Pau Gasol had 21 points for the top-seeded Lakers, who won their seventh straight playoff game and snapped the Suns' six-game streak with a phenomenal second half, highlighted by Bryant's 21-point third quarter. He barely stepped on the Lakers' practice court during the past week to rest his ailing knee, ankle, finger and back — all minor impediments to a major talent.

"I practice so much during the season," Bryant said. "In the offseason, I work a lot. To take a week off, I'm not going to lose all the work I put in prior to that."

The defending NBA champions beat the third-seeded Suns at their own uptempo game when necessary, fluidly running the court to set up baskets for Bryant in his sixth straight 30-point game. Bryant then rested for most of the fourth quarter in the 11th 40-point game of his playoff career.

"They played great, one of the best games I've seen them play in the playoffs this season," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Kobe kind of controlled the whole game. I thought we could have withstood the game that he had ... but when he's making his jumper like that, there's not a whole lot you can do about it."

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Steve Nash had 13 points and 13 assists for the Suns, who hadn't lost since April 24. Robin Lopez started at center and scored 14 points in his playoff debut, but Phoenix couldn't keep up with the champs' height and 58-percent shooting in the Suns' first conference finals appearance since 2006.

The Suns also ran into the same height problems faced by Utah and Oklahoma City earlier in the Lakers' playoff run. Los Angeles committed just nine turnovers in Game 1 — its third straight single-digit turnover game — while outrebounding the smaller Suns 42-34.

"They're probably going to continue to be taller than us as the series goes on, so we've got to ... make everything as tough as possible," said Nash, whose injured eye didn't bother him. "We played hard, but we didn't make enough shots, and we had a few too many breakdowns."

Both teams swept their second-round series to earn their third postseason date in five years, but the Lakers didn't allow a week off to affect their remarkable execution. They scored easily and often, even with center Andrew Bynum managing just four points while playing shakily on his own sore knee.

After a 62-point first half for the Lakers, Bryant alternated jumpers and strong drives while Los Angeles pulled away, making a 13-2 run in the third quarter. His 13-for-23 shooting performance included three 3-pointers and 11 free throws with just one miss.

"Kobe carried a lot of the offense tonight, no doubt," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I will say he was going to shoulder the game. He was going to take it on. He's been very optimistic through the whole week. He felt like he had the amount of rest and shooting he had to have. He was attentive and involved (in practice)."

The Suns sent Bryant, Odom and the Lakers home for the summer in 2006 and 2007, and Los Angeles' veterans acknowledged a measure of revenge in their minds — as long as they're healthy enough to do it.

Jackson revealed before the game that Bryant's right knee was drained "a while ago," moving it to the top of the injury list for last season's NBA finals MVP. But Bryant showed no ill effects, and he even bounced back up after hitting his head on Richardson's knee during a drive in the first quarter.

"He's the best scorer in the league," said Odom, who set a career playoff high for rebounds in his most assertive game of the current postseason. "Drives, fadeaways with his back to the basket, inside-outside, with his left hand. Time off is exactly what he needed."

NOTES: Bryant last scored 40 points in the postseason during the opener of last year's NBA finals against Orlando. ... Lakers G Sasha Vujacic appeared in his first game of the postseason after missing the first two rounds with a sprained ankle. ... Bryant and Grant Hill got technical fouls for arguing with officials 57 seconds apart in the third quarter. ... Larry David watched the game from the same eight-seat courtside section where his fictional alter ego infamously tripped Shaquille O'Neal during a first-season episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Ted Williams' Mexican-American heritage explored in PBS film

    Ted Williams' Mexican-American heritage explored in PBS film

    Thursday, July 19 2018 12:24 PM EDT2018-07-19 16:24:33 GMT
    FILE - In this April 18, 1960, file photo, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox knocks the ball out of the park for a home run in the second inning against the Washington Senators. (AP Photo/File)FILE - In this April 18, 1960, file photo, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox knocks the ball out of the park for a home run in the second inning against the Washington Senators. (AP Photo/File)

    Ted Williams is the last major league baseball player to hit over .400. The Boston Red Sox slugger captivated millions with his dazzling swing and towering homers throughout the 1940s and 1950s in competition with New York Yankees hero Joe DiMaggio.

     

    Ted Williams is the last major league baseball player to hit over .400. The Boston Red Sox slugger captivated millions with his dazzling swing and towering homers throughout the 1940s and 1950s in competition with New York Yankees hero Joe DiMaggio.

     
  • Padres trade All-star closer Brad Hand for top Indians prospect

    Padres trade All-star closer Brad Hand for top Indians prospect

    Thursday, July 19 2018 12:13 PM EDT2018-07-19 16:13:22 GMT

    The Padres shipped off All-Star Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians in a deal Thursday morning that will bring catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia to America’s Finest City.

     

    The Padres shipped off All-Star Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians in a deal Thursday morning that will bring catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia to America’s Finest City.

     
  • MLB: Hader must take sensitivity training after tweets

    MLB: Hader must take sensitivity training after tweets

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-07-18 17:23:29 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 9:02 AM EDT2018-07-19 13:02:31 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader (71) throws during the eighth inning at the Major League Baseball All-star Game, Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader (71) throws during the eighth inning at the Major League Baseball All-star Game, Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Washington.
    Major League Baseball says Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to go through sensitivity training after racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced during the All-Star Game. 
    Major League Baseball says Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to go through sensitivity training after racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced during the All-Star Game. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.