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Kobe Nets 40 as Lakers Torch Suns in Western Conference Final Opener
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant scored 40 points, Lamar Odom added 19 points and 19 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers opened the Western Conference finals with ruthless offensive efficiency in a 128-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns Monday night.

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.

The defending NBA champions beat the 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.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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