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Lakers-Suns Game One: Kobe Bryant Establishes Lakers Dominance

Wil BradleyCorrespondent IMay 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts to block a layup by Amar'e Stoudamire #1 Phoenix Suns as teammate Pau Gasol #16 defends during the third quarter in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Everyone knew the Phoenix Suns stood little chance of stopping the Los Angeles Lakers' offense. Therefore, consensus suggested, coach Alvin Gentry needed to outscore the reigning NBA Champions.

Phoenix might need to reconsider its defensive approach. The Suns gave up three 30-point quarters in a 107-128 loss to the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers.

Bryant finished with 40 points, as he closed out the game with a phenomenal third quarter performance. Lamar Odom played himself into a double-double, with 19 points and 19 rebounds—and that was from the bench.

Pau Gasol added 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting.

Ron Artest had a great stat line, 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and no turnovers.

The Lakers had that kind of night.

Kobe torched the Suns in the third quarter, scoring 21 points.

He began the quarter shooting over veteran Grant Hill. He then crossed over Hill so hard that Hill ended up falling down—that ended up in another bucket for Kobe.

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Hill would then get called for a technical foul, obviously venting frustration created by Kobe.

More than the points, or the Game One victory, Kobe established the Lakers' dominance.

Frankly, Monday's game makes you wonder—if the Suns can win a game—much less the series.

The Suns played nowhere near well enough to compete with the Mamba's Lakers. I type that on a night when, Nash got a double-double, on 13 points and 13 assists.

Amar'e Stoudemire led all Suns scorers with 23 points.

Overall the entire Phoenix roster played relatively well, it just had no answer for Bryant.

Kobe's third-quarter barrage, made the blowout worth watching for television audiences. It was a determined effort—seemingly utilized to send a message—that the Lakers intend to strongly defend their status as NBA Champions.

When the Lakers finally put Kobe back in his holster, the Lakers' superstar scored 40-plus points in a playoff game for the 11th time in his career.

For Phoenix, this may serve to help its future talent learn how to win.

As for now, the results from Game One seem to be indicating, the Mamba still reigns as king of the NBA.

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