The defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 128-107 in the first game of their seven-games series at the Staples Center before a crowd of 18,997.
" Just being aggressive, playing my game," said Kobe Bryant at the post game press conference. " Got shots, took them. Got lanes to the basket, took them." Bryant who sat out most of the fourth quarter was in "attack" mode especially in the fourth quarter when he torched the Suns for 21 points. Bryant led the Lakers with 40 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
" 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." said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. " They re probably going to continue to be taller than us as they series goes on, so we've got to make everything as tough as possible (for them)" said Suns veteran point guard Steve Nash.
The Lakers took a 62-55 lead into the locker room and never looked back. Bryant, who just missed the Laker record for scoring in a quarter (held by DC's own Elgin Baylor with 23) was able to sit out most of the fourth quarter with the Lakers up by 14 going into the fourth quarter.
" Kobe carried a lot of the offense tonite, no doubt," said Laker head coach Phil Jackson at this press conference. " I will say he was going to shoulder the game. He was going to take it on. He's been optimistic through the whole week. He felt that he had the amount of rest and shooting he had to have.
Lamar Odom came off the bench played 30 minutes dropped 19 points and 19 rebounds in what was his best performance in the playoffs. Paul Gasol chipped in with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assist. Ron Artest scored 14 points, while grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out 5 assist. Jordan Farmer finished with 10 which enabled Bryant to rest in the fourth quarter.
The Suns were led by Ama're Stoudemire's 23 points. The Suns big man only grabbed 3 rebounds as the Laker big men kept him occupied in the paint. Jason Richardson chipped in with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Robin Lopez came back off the injury list and scored 14 points while grabbing 6 rebounds.
If the Lakers continue to get support from Ron Artest, Lamar Odom,and the young guards Farmer and Brown who have been inconsistent at times, the Lakers will be tough out.
The series resumes Wednesday night at the Staples Center .