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Bryant shakes off knee, Suns to score 40 in win

LOS ANGELES —Even on a balky knee, Kobe Bryant had no problem giving the Lakers an early leg up in the Western Conference final.

Bryant scored 40 Monday night, Lamar Odom added 19 points and 19 rebounds, and Los Angeles opened the series with ruthless offensive efficiency in a 128-107 victory over Phoenix.

Pau Gasol had 21 points for the top-seeded Lakers, who won their seventh straight playoff game and snapped the Suns' six-game streak with a phenomenal second half highlighted by Bryant's 21-point third quarter.

"Kobe carried a lot of the offense tonight, no doubt," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

The defending NBA champions beat the third-seeded Suns at their own uptempo game when necessary, fluidly running the court to set up baskets for Bryant in his sixth straight 30-point game. Bryant then rested his sore knee for most of the fourth quarter in the 11th 40-point game of his playoff career.

"They played great, one of the best games I've seen them play in the playoffs this season," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Kobe kind of controlled the whole game."

Jackson revealed before the game that Bryant's right knee was drained "a while ago," but Bryant didn't show any obvious effects.

Amare Stoudemire scored 23 and Steve Nash had 13 points and 13 assists for the Suns, who hadn't lost since April 24. Robin Lopez started at center and scored 14 points in his playoff debut.

Before the game, activists gathered outside the Staples Center to protest Jackson's refusal to criticize Arizona's new immigration law. Officer Karen Rayner said the protest was peaceful and there were no arrests.

CAVALIERS: The team began its offseason review. It didn't begin with Mike Brown being shown the door. Brown remained in place as coach as the team began working on an assessment of what went wrong this season. Cleveland was ousted from the playoffs last week by the Celtics, who upset the NBA's top regular-season team in six games.

HORNETS: Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin met with the team about its head coaching vacancy.

GINOBILI DAD TO TWINS: Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and his wife, Many, are parents to twin boys. Ginobili, on his Twitter page, announced Sunday's births of Dante and Nicola.

OBITUARY: Bob Breitbard, who owned the Rockets when they played in San Diego and was a high school classmate and close friend of Ted Williams, died Monday of natural causes. He was 91. He sold the Rockets in 1971 to Texas businessmen who moved the team to Houston.

EAST final

CELTICS 1, MAGIC 0

Game 1: Celtics 92, Magic 88

Today: at Orlando, 8:30, ESPN

Saturday: at Boston, 8:30, ESPN

May 24: at Boston, 8:30, ESPN

May 26: at Orlando, 8:30, ESPN *

May 28: at Boston, 8:30, ESPN *

May 30: at Orlando, 8:30, ESPN *

West final

LAKERS 1, SUNS 0

Monday: Lakers 128, Suns 107

Wednesday: at Los Angeles, 9, TNT

Sunday: at Phoenix, 8:30, TNT

May 25: at Phoenix, 9, TNT

May 27: at Los Angeles, 9, TNT *

May 29: at Phoenix, 8:30, TNT *

May 31: at Los Angeles, 9, TNT *

* If necessary

Bryant shakes off knee, Suns to score 40 in win 05/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 7:45pm]
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