The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals Monday night. The Suns looked impressive at the start, but the Lakers pulled ahead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. In the end, the Lakers were victorious 128-107.
Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 40 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Reports that Bryant had a significant amount of fluid drained from his knee before Monday’s game had Laker fan’s worried. Kobe had an impressive offensive performance despite missing practice all week.
Bryant said after that he came into the game looking to be aggressive. He knew the looks he was getting against the Jazz would be at a premium against the Suns.
“Just being aggressive, playing my game,” Bryant said. “Got shots, took them. Got lanes to the basket, took them.”
Pau Gasol added 21 points, four rebounds, and five assists as the power forward looks to increase his leadership role on the Lakers. Gasol helped the Lakers achieve their seventh consecutive victory.
The red-hot Lakers shot 58 percent from the field, and buried the Suns in the third quarter. Bryant had 21 points to the Sun’s combined 24. It was the sixth straight 30-point game for Bryant. It was also his 11th 40-point game in the playoffs.
The Phoenix Suns had a dismal night trying to keep up with the Lakers offense. The Lakers jumped out to an early lead causing the Suns to shoot hasty three-pointers. The Suns shot just 22 percent from three, making just five of twenty-two.
Amare Stoudemire played 35 minutes, scored 23 points, and shot 7-10 from the free-throw line. The Suns, who had not lost since April 24, benefited from a 14 performance from returning Robin Lopez.
Steve Nash added a pedestrian 13 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds by the All-Star point guard’s standards. Nash said the Lakers don’t look as if they are going to get shorter any time soon.
“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. ”We played hard, but we didn’t make enough shots, and we had a few too many breakdowns.”
Rebounds and turnovers were the story in Game 1. The Lakers out-rebounded the Suns 42-34, and only committed nine turnovers. The Lakers have been careful with the ball. It was their third consecutive single-digit turnover game.
Online Sportsbooks have set the Los Angeles Lakers as favored to win the NBA Finals at 5/6.