Kobe Bryant delivered a sensational 40 points as the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers stormed past the Phoenix Suns 128-107 in Game One of the Western Conference final on Monday.
Seemingly unaffected by his ailing right knee that was drained of fluid last week, Bryant choreographed a stunning display by the Lakers as they made the most of their size advantage against the smaller but speedy Suns.
The All-Star guard, who shot 13-of-23 from the field, scored 21 points in the third quarter alone to help his team tighten their grip after Phoenix had made a fast start.
Spanish forward Pau Gasol added 21 points and Ron Artest 14 while Lamar Odom, off the bench, weighed in with 19 points and a playoff career-high 19 rebounds for the top seeds. Amar'e Stoudemire led the Suns with 23 points and Jason Richardson contributed 15.