Kobe opened up his beach bag, grabbed the bottle of SPF 45 [Phoenix] Suns block, and passed it around the Lakers lockerroom. This night, the Lakers avoided getting burned.
Bryant's 45 points led Los Angeles to a Game 3 win, 95-89, and back into their first round playoff series against Phoenix. More importantly, the rest of his teammates made a strong case for keeping the "s" at the end of "Los Angeles Lakers."
The police scanner buzzed with a Kwame Brown sighting - the first of his postseason career - as the former No. 1 overall pick dropped 19 points on Phoenix. He helped neutralize Suns big man Amare Stoudemire (24 points) while staying out of foul trouble (only one personal foul). Lamar Odom's double-double (18 points, 16 rebs) came when his teammates desperately needed it. His six offensive rebounds (as many as the entire Suns team) gave his teammates extra opportunities to block out the Suns.
In LA, it starts and ends with Kobe. He's taking the last shot when it counts. He should. But finally the cavalry arrived in stunning fashion. The Suns looked somewhat baffled, having to defend more than one Laker. Kobe didn't have to force shots. He just passed, and his teammates decided not to pass on quality shots.
The Suns are still a hot team. They've struggle on the road in the postseaon, but they clearly have the talent to beat LA at the Staples Center. Whether the Lakers remember to put on their sunblock again Sunday afternoon will be key.