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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Suns against Lakers in the playoffs

Los Angeles Lakers are back into the playoffs. And the first team on their road to the title is the powerful Phoenix Suns. Los Angeles trust in the best scorer of this season: Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers crushed the Hornets, 115-95, on Wednesday night at Staples Center. That gave the Lakers the seventh seed in the West, which brings the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs' first round. That best-of-7 series begins at 12:30 p.m. PDT on Sunday in Phoenix.

Despite the 45-37 Lakers are the losingest team Phil Jackson has ever coached, he looked ahead to the possibility of advancing past 54-28 Phoenix and advancing again past Denver or the Clippers in Round 2.

On Wednesday, the Bryant team secured home-court advantage over Denver in a possible playoff matchup for the right to reach the West finals. If the Lakers met the Clippers in Round 2, obviously all the matches would be at home.

"That bracket is probably the best bracket to advance," Jackson admitted.

Previewing the Lakers-Suns series, Hornets coach Byron Scott claims: "If the Lakers play their style of basketball and their tempo - and when you have No. 8 (Kobe Bryant) out there, you can win any series - they definitely have big chance."

The Lakers must get a victory over the Hornets to avoid dropping to the eighth seed and drawing defending NBA champion San Antonio in the first round. The Lakers got it easily after Kwame Brown scored 10 of their first 22 points and then Bryant took over, living up to the "81" that Nike inscribed on the insole of his sneakers.

Kobe Bryant expressed himself: "It feels good to be mentioned among the elite players who have ever played the game,". Indeed, his final scoring average was 35.4 points, eighth-highest in league history.

It's important to notice that Jackson said he'd likely bring the team back from Phoenix after playing Sunday to practice at home Monday and Tuesday just before Game 2 on Wednesday night in Phoenix.