Wednesday , Apr , 25 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Suns crush Lakers to take 2-0 series lead

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Leandro Barbosa poured in 26 point as the
Phoenix Suns embarrassed the Los Angeles Lakers, 126-98, in Game 2 of their
first-round playoff series.

The Suns needed a second-half rally in Game 1 to edge the Lakers, 95-87.
Tuesday’s contest, however, was over by halftime as Phoenix won going away.

Barbosa, who was awarded his Sixth Man of the Year Award prior to the game,
shot 11-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-8 from three-point range and Amare
Stoudemire had 20 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for the Suns, who
outscored LA, 37-22, in the decisive second quarter.

“We didn’t have a lull,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “There might have been
one rebound they got on a foul shot that kind of ticked me off a little bit,
but for the most part we did not relax on any plays out there. That’s huge, as
we do this because you don’t let teams back in. You don’t give Kobe a chance
to win the game by himself.”

Reigning two-time MVP Steve Nash had 16 points and 14 assists while Shawn
Marion had 18 points and 10 boards for Phoenix.

Kobe Bryant went just 5-of-13 from the floor and finished with just 15 points
for the Lakers, who have lost five straight to Phoenix in the postseason. To
add insult to injury, Bryant landed hard on his right ankle in the fourth
quarter and left the game.

“They controlled the pace of the game from the start of the game,” said
Bryant, who acknowledged his ankle was stiff. “We were never able to get our
arms around the game. Hopefully going home that will change.”

Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at the Staples Center in LA.

Layups by Bryant and Lamar Odom tied the game at 15-15 midway through the
opening quarter, but a pair of Nash baskets sandwiched around a Stoudemire
dunk gave Phoenix a 21-15 lead with just over four minutes left.

A Barbosa three gave the Suns a 31-25 lead at the end of the quarter and the
momentum carried into the second, as baskets by Barbosa and Boris Diaw,
followed by another Barbosa trey, quickly put Phoenix up 38-25.

A pair of Brian Cook free throws brought LA within 10, but the Suns responded
with a 13-2 spurt, capped by a Marion alley oop dunk and another three-pointer
by Barbosa, to push their advantage to 21, 55-34, with just under five minutes
to play in the second.

Phoenix took a 68-47 lead into the locker room and led by as much as 28 in
the third quarter. The Suns carried a 95-70 advantage into the fourth, where
they cruised to a 2-0 series lead.

Game Notes

The Suns ended a five-game losing streak in Game 2’s…Jordan Farmar, Odom and
Maurice Evans each scored 10 points for the Lakers. Andrew Bynum added nine
points and a game-high 12 rebounds for LA.