For the second game in a row, the L.A Lakers used their size as an advantage over the Phoenix Suns en route to a Game 2 victory.
With the Suns focusing on Kobe Bryant by doubling up on him after he torched Phoenix for 40 points on Game 1, Bryant came up with 21 points and 13 assists in a follow-up act. Big-man Pau Gasol was the recipient of several of those Bryant assists as the 7-footer led the Lakers with 29 points on the night in the 124-112 victory.
The Lakers shot the ball well against the Suns again, knocking down over 57 percent from the floor. In total, L.A has scored 252 points in the first two games of the series.
The Lakers have seemed to figure out that the best defense in a series against the high-scoring Suns, is a good offense.
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Coming into Game 2, Bryant was riding a six-game streak of scoring 30 or more points. While that came to an end, Bryant was able to distribute the ball very effectively to his teammates, particularly Gasol on the low-post.
“It makes the game a lot easier to have [Gasol] inside to catch and complete plays,” Bryant said in a post-game interview. “We’re extremely well-versed in playing against teams that double and zone, things like that.”
It was a well-rounded effort from the men in the yellow jerseys, as Ron Artest tabbed 18 points on the night and grabbed several key rebounds, preventing second-chance scoring opportunities for the Suns.
Lamar Odom came off of the bench and had another productive game, scoring 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
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“It’s really tough because we have so many guys on this team that can hurt you offensively,” said Lamar Odom after the game. “When we get four or five guys going offensively, it seems like our defense steps up. We do a great job of using our quickness, cutting guys off and making it hard for teams as well as putting that offensive pressure on them.”
Game 3 in the series will take place in Phoenix on Sunday night, with the Suns desperately needing a win to salvage any hope of advancing to the NBA Finals.
“We can’t slow them down,” remarked Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “I thought we played well offensively, but every time we tried to make an adjustment to slow them down offensively, they would go somewhere else. There’s a good reason they’re the world champs, but we’ll keep plugging away, keep trying.”
When winning the first two games in a seven-game series, the Lakers are 41-1 all-time.
“We still scored enough points tonight, but when they can score 120-something, that’s asking the offense to score too much,” said Steve Nash, who tabbed 11 points to go along with 15 assists. “If we’re going to beat them, we’ve got to find a way to slow them down.”
Online Sportsbooks have the Lakers as the heavy favorite to advance to the NBA Finals and win the 2010 NBA Championship, going off at 4/7.