May 17 - Staples Center, Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant had a fantastic night, scoring from everywhere to lead the Lakers to their first victory in the Western Conference Finals, a 128-107 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Despite a knee that kept him out of the Lakers practices in the last week Kobe had 40 points in 35 minutes, shooting 13-for-23 (.565) and using almost all his repertory. He scored 21 of his points in the third quarter and went to the bench for good with 9 minutes left and the game already decided.
The Suns took and early 11-6 lead but after that everything went downhill for Phoenix. Lamar Odom entered the game and scored 7 points to put L.A. ahead for the first time with 3:25 left in the first quarter and the Suns could never catch them again. And it was just a free sample of what Odom would give to his team. In his best game of this 2010 playoffs Odom was aggressive and focused and ended with 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, including 7 on the offensive end. Pau Gasol added 21 points and 5 assists.
The Suns advantages are supposed to be their speed and uptempo game that allow them to score a lot of points and their 3-point accuracy but the Lakers played very good defense and they were the team running to score 128. Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Steve Nash had 13 points and 13 assists but the Suns missed 17 of 22 three-point attempts, while the Lakers made 47.1% (8-for-17). As expected L.A. had the edge inside and outrebounded Phoenix 42-34. The Suns defense of the paint was at moments pathetically bad, with slow rotations or none at all.
Andrew Bynum, who is also playing with an injured knee, had 4 points in just 19 minutes while Sasha Vujacic saw action for the first time in these playoffs after missing the first two rounds with a sprained ankle. The Machine was the only Laker that didn't score in a game in which the bench provided 44 points.