Phil Jackson said it best when he uttered his first words during Monday’s post-game podium address, “This was a surprise for us.”

For over a week without a game to analyze, NBA reports have provided nothing but filler regarding the two teams left in the Western Conference. We’ve been fed mercilessly with commentary about injuries such as Andrew Bynum’s knee, Kobe Bryant’s knee and fingers, and Steve Nash’s nose. There were daily discussions in sports radio about Suns’ pick-and-roll versus the Lakers’ triangle offense; Suns’ superior bench versus the Lakers’ inconsistent reserves; Suns’ small line-up compared to the Lakers’ gargantuan frontline.

It has been seven days’ worth of dissecting each team’s strengths and weaknesses. It resulted in the obvious expectation that the Lakers would play big, and the Suns would play quickly. There weren’t many surprises to look forward to… until tonight’s enchanted evening.

The Lakers played their best game of the post-season, even trumping the Game 5, 24-point beat down of the Oklahoma City Thunder so very long ago. Tonight, the Lakers put their foot on the gas on both ends of the floor and sped right through the finish line with a convincing 128-107 victory against the NBA’s hottest team.

Despite falling behind early, with Phoenix’s Steve Nash doing what he does best in orchestrating the Suns’ offense, the Lakers soon found lift upon Lamar Odom’s arrival onto the floor. With a bank-in jumper followed by a spot-up three, Odom evened the score at 22. Kobe Bryant’s off-balance, buzzer-beating fadeaway jumper in front of the Laker bench capped off an 18-4 run that gave the home team a 35-26 advantage to end the first.

A lot has been made of the Suns’ much-improved defense this past season, and especially in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were still no match against the offensive wiles of one Kobe Bryant, who torched each one of his defenders one by one — Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and any Sun who tried to get in his way (or rather out of his way).

Bryant scored 40 points (21 in the third quarter alone!) on 13-23 shooting, and managed to hand out five assists.

“When Kobe’s in a zone like that,“ Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said, “There’s really nothing you can do about it.”

It was bad enough for the Suns to have Bryant so aggressive offensively, not to mention Gasol who was, again, a model of efficiency scoring 21 points on just 10-13, but did Lamar Odom have to add insult to injury?

“I really didn’t want to wait,” Odom said from the post-game podium, and he sure didn’t. Aside from the quick five points he contributed upon entering in the first quarter, he added 14 more throughout the game. Odom scored on uncontested fingerolls and layups, gliding past every Sun uniform so quickly that they barely noticed him passing by. He scored on second chance points by fighting for rebounds (7 offensive boards). Odom scored 19 points in all on 9-15 shooting, not to mention grabbing 19 rebounds in the process.

Having paved the way for a productive night for the BenchMob, Odom had help from his fellow reserves. Jordan Farmar shot 4-6, hitting 2-3 from downtown, to total 10 points and handed out five assists. Shannon Brown, who went airborne from goodness knows where, almost hit a dunk over Jason Richardson but chipped in 9 points of his own. In limited minutes, even Luke Walton, Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga each contributed a deuce to make the Laker bench contribution a significant one — 44 points, 22 rebounds and 9 assists.

With all the talk of how Phoenix’s bench, who chipped in 35 points, was the Suns’ one advantage over the Lakers, it’s good to see the defending champion reserves put up a fight.

The Laker defense kept the Suns, who averages 115 ppg, to 107. Derek Fisher, again challenged with a skilled point guard, fought over screens and hardly gave Nash any room to work, even forcing a 24-second shot clock violation.

The home team led in practically all statistical categories: FG% (58% to 49%), 3PT% (47% to 23%, the Suns are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league) rebounds (42-34), assists (26-25, excellent when considering who leads the Suns’ offense), steals (8-6), turnovers (9-11). In the end, the better team won. Let’s hope the Lakers remain so throughout… or at least until the middle of June.

Pre-Game Thoughts: Western Conference Finals — FINALLY!

Half-Time Thoughts: Lakers leading 62-55 and shooting 61%! Lamar Odom already has 15 points on 7-9 shooting and eight rebounds.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: It would be easy to give this evening’s honor to Sasha, who fouled Grant Hill on a 3-point attempt with about 1 second left in the first half, but it was his first day back from injury, so he’ll get a pass.

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Who to choose? Kobe Bryant with 40 points and 5 assists? Lamar Odom with 19 points and 19 rebounds? Pau Gasol with 21 points and five assists? HOW SPOILED ARE WE?!

  • LakerSupreme

    Lakers need a 11 time championship Boston Russell buster. Kobe is the man who can do that.

    • stucktrader

      Well, even MJ couldn’t do it.

      The Lakers blew it against the Spurs for the 4-peat. The Lakers were too young, and were missing Drew & Artest in ’07.

      Had they won those series he would be up to 6…

      But alas. I think he could match MJ in rings, but not surpass him.

      I hope i am wrong.

  • WifelovesLuke

    LO 19 points and 19 rebounds. Suns have no answer for our X factor.

    Phoenix shoots 22% from the 3pt. line

    Kobe gets his 6th straight 30+ pt. game

    Shannon says to J Rich “tell me how my nuts taste” on that sick attempted dunk

    Apparently Grant Hill isn’t a Kobe stopper

    Second unit of Phoenix isn’t as good as they think they are

    Phoenix is exactly what we thought they were: the second best team in the Pacific Division.

  • http://lakersnation cgris

    this is the best we have seen from kobe play this season!!! THE LAKE SHOW IN 6

  • Logic

    Why does this writer always put the lower score first when the Lakers win? If you just write 128-107 like normal people, you wouldn’t have to put “win” in parenthesis.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      The road team’s score is typically placed first, plus someone suggested I include this specific info in the headline so they could take one glance and know how the game ended. I guess some people don’t have time to read the whole postgame report. Hope that’s ok with you.

      • Gino

        I agree. It’s customary to put the visitors first then the host second, that’s how it’s typically posted on standard scoreboards and on TV.

      • 242LakerFan

        It took me a while to get used to it, too, but when I thought about it, it just makes sense. Visitors’ score, then home team’s score. Mind you, in Europe they put the home team first, which in a way makes more sense, but that’s how it’s come to be done in the US, so just make the adjustment.
        BTW, you call yourself “Logic” and you couldn’t figure that one out? (Raises one eyebrow) Fascinating.

        • Logic

          Well it seems pretty “logical” on a Laker website to put our score first, no matter who’s home or away. Especially if the article, where ever it’s from, is focusing on the winning team. Go to ESPN. It says Lakers win, 128-107, not Lakers win, 107-128. It makes no damn sense in a headline. Neither do your goofy ass glasses and lack of attention to personal hygiene. If you saw a game wrap-up on a Laker website and saw 107-128 without specification, what would you think? Nice logic fatso.

          • BoredAtWork

            If you go to nba.com you will see that they list the visiting teams score first. It may not make sense but that is the way it is supposed to be done. It’s not that serious at the end of the day.
            .
            Also resorting to personal attacks is usually a sign that your “logic” has failed and on top of that it’s childish.

          • 242LakerFan

            The man (or whatever) who resorts to personal attacks is generally the one who has run out of “logical” arguments. I won’t lower myself to that level, but I just threw a dime into the well of your intellect and only one side got wet. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my annual bath.

          • lakerman1

            The imbeciles always resort to name calling.

    • LakersFourEver

      Wow Logic, you really believe everything ESPN has to say huh? They also said Kobe was old and LeQuit would win it all…very logical

  • kobe-wan kenobi

    it’s always all about kobe
    pau is important as second string
    but kobe is the only one that can bring us the ring
    wout him playing great no chances

    hopefully he can play like this in the finals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • seankobe

    heeeeeee’s back! remember the 9 games 40 pts.,and the 4 straight 50’s. it may not be on playoffs but whenever kobe is on the streak he will pursue it. he could surpass shaq the fat ass taste 7 straight 30’s in 2003. No question kobe the greatest LAkER ever! and best in the world!

  • NBAmazingkb24

    Im glad we got L.O. back! What an assest to our team! This is what i mean, Dfish and L.O. stepping up when it is needed the most! it was a great game to watch (I don’t mind blow outs :)). Glad Lakers held them down so Kobe didn’t have to come back to game. Great win for us, and hoping for another blow out next game.
    We are looking scary good out there. I love it!
    Repeat!!

  • Robert

    Kobe (to media, re: LeBron): “How you like me now?”
    .
    Kobe (to rest of world): “Who’s your daddy?”
    .
    the greatest basketball player in the entire Solar System. Heck, why stop there – the Milky Way Galaxy. Ok Ok, the Local Group. All right … the Universe.
    .
    Eat your crunchy gorditas, Charles.

  • Betto

    Hmmm, I see a typing error. Steve Nash broken nose was in May 6 2007 playoffs, this year is his right eyebrow.
    Lamar played great, something the Suns weren’t expecting and a good sign for the team.
    I hope the Lakers are ready for game 2, I don’t think they’ll be this bad at making 3’s. Even though the Lakers are no. 1 at defending the 3’s, I’m sure they’ll come out with the same effort as game 1.
    Somehow I couldn’t watch most of the jabbering by the TNT personnel at half time of Charles and Reggie Miller about how the Suns should be happy cause they’re only down by 7.. lol They’re just mad cause the Lakers stopped their championship dreams.. woot!
    Not sure why all last week all I heard was that if Bynum doesn’t play well, the Lakers were gonna lose. Obviouly they haven’t been watching the Lakers games..

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      You’re right! I meant to say his EYE! Steve Nash has gotten so many gashes that I can’t seem to keep them straight! Thanks for pointing that out!

      And I’ve stopped listening to the TNT crew. Actually, I don’t mind EJ and Kenny so much. Charles and Reggie are just bitter barn. Reggie complained during halftime that the Lakers should be leading by more because they were shooting 61%. But it’s not like Phoenix was shooting 30%. They were shooting over 50%. Talk about the Lakers’ D maybe but come on!

  • 242LakerFan

    Anna, you are getting better and better. Keep working on this, as I am enjoying your wrap-ups more every time.
    I said to my wife last night at one point, “They have no answer for Lamar Odom. If he can play like this for the next three games, there is no one on this Suns team who can stop this from being a sweep.”
    He is the key to this whole series.
    Glad to see the bench stepping in and maintaining a lead, pretty much. It’s not often you get to go that deep into your bench in the Playoffs. But OMG, ShanWOW was going to bring the rim down on J-Rich’s head if he didn’t foul him!! Then Jason had the balls to complain to the ref? After a near posterisation like that, you need to just hide in the corner and check your shorts!!!!
    Kobe, Kobe, Kobe – HEY, CHUCK! CHUCK!! How Kobe’s azz taste!? You big blockhead. You turrble, jus’ turrble. Before the end of this series I wish Kenny would just slap you in the back of that meaty ole head and get you to finally acknowledge that Kobe IS the best player in the world today. Bar NONE!
    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  • lakerman1

    Reggie & Charles are Lebron homers. When Reggie was commentating one of the Cavs playoff games all you heard from his skinny stupid mouth wasTHE KING IS IN THE HOUSE. The King this the King that now all he can do is sit there and look like the big ass he is. Now all of the Lebron Homers are jumping ship and getting on the Kobe bandwagon. We the real fans of the Lakers were just waiting for this moment and boy does it feel good. And no way i say no way does Phoenix with the one eyed monster win this series i mean could anyone tell Kobe did not practice all week. Practice Kobe does not need no stinking practice.

    • 242LakerFan

      LMAO! I mean, it’s not really funny but Nash DOES look like “Night of the Living Dead” doesn’t he?

  • Rio Rondo College

    What’s more impressive? Lakers winning at home, or my Celtics winning on the road. Doesnt matter what happens in the WCF, the Lakers will fall to the Celtics. The Lakers are too soft to match up with the Celts. GO GREEN!

    • 242LakerFan

      And you’re not happy enough with an impressive road Playoff win to stay where you belong and STFU!!! You keep talking about soft. We gat your soft! It’ll be waiting at Staples to kick your collective AZZ!!!!

      • Rio Hondo College

        Wow 242. You’re so emotional. I guess you’re emotional because you dont want a repeat of 08!!! Didnt we whoop on ya’ll by 36 points. HAHA!!!!

        • 242LakerFan

          LOL, no, it’s not that I don’t want it, I just don’t EXPECT it! And yes, I am emotional. It’s part of being a fan. So I’ll just add “stating the obvious” to “living in the past” on your list of faults. Those come right before “egregious misuse of apostrophes”.

        • lakeb

          listen RIO you fag clown. lakers played the 08 finals WITHOUT bynum or ariza and STILL took the celtics to 6 games. THERE IS NO DOUBT, the lakers would have swept them and won that series if they had those 2 players healthy. So fuck off and bow down to the espn ranked number 1 franchise of all time: THE LAKERS

    • lakerman1

      The Celts played a team that was not even challenged in the 1st two series. And by the way they still have the tendency to blow leads. The way the Magic played and they were only able to win by 4 give me a break. I am going to guarantee a Magic win tonight. The Celtics are nothing more then a bunch of Grumpy old men They all look tired and run downed. Lets see if Rasheed shows up tonight jerk.

      • lakerman1

        That comment is meant for Rio and not you 242.

        • seankobe

          hey rio you don’t remember 08? the NBA won it not the boston the refs takes it from the lakers game 2 and 4. this yr…waiting you here in TLN by june!

  • gugy

    Lakers is indeed looking and playing like champions now.
    If we keep this energy, not sure if any team can stop us.

    I just hope Bynum can get better for the finals. He was absolutely a no show last night because his injury.

    Best thing from last night was see Nash and Amare looking confused by the massacre.

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    What’s sup w/ not crossing out number 8 on our count down? Get on the ball Lakers Nation!! Who wants a foot ice cream w/ the gumball on the toe?

  • lakers0828

    I love it when People Make Kobe Mad especially CHuck cause then Kobe does this GO off and Get 40 points im Just Laughing at all the people who picked the Suns To win this Series lol

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Charles was on Mason & Ireland (I’m not sure when) and he said, “Father Time is undefeated. Kobe will do down as one of the greatest of all time, but his days of dominating games are over.” Uhhh, ok.

      • lakerman1

        Charles in an overweight clod. That mean Mr T look he gave last night looked totally sissyish LOL. And people do not tune in to see a bunch of buffoons but intelligent and non bias commentary. Its becoming a pain to watch the game on TNT BUT LIKE THEY SAY ITS THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN.

        • 242LakerFan

          To tell the truth, I really enjoy those comedy bits. I think the banter between Ernie, Kenny and Chuck is generally really entertaining. The problem comes when they do get into serious analysis and Charles is still stuck in comedy mode. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, of course. I hope he really doesn’t believe some of the stuff he spouts sometimes.

          • kevin 0

            hey man no offense but what else do you do
            besides posting comments on this site??
            every time i read a post or somthing i see
            your comments
            are like a laker blogger or something?

          • 242LakerFan

            I’m just a fan with an opinion, whose business is slow.

  • SteveAveryisStupid

    I don’t miss Steve Avery at all…. great job, Anna!

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Thanks, but hey, none of that. =(

  • Laker4 Life

    The suns got owned by the Lake Show. The suns were taught a lesson in Game 1. Nobody can stop Kobe. Only Kobe can stop himself. Kobe torched them with 40 points, the bench showed up, especially Odom, Gasol dominated the paint. Lakers defended the 3 point line. What else can you ask for. Lakers in 5 or maybe be a sweep if the lakers play like this the rest of the series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Josh Herrington

    “Who to choose? Kobe Bryant with 40 points and 5 assists? Lamar Odom with 19 points and 19 rebounds? Pau Gasol with 21 points and five assists? HOW SPOILED ARE WE?!”
    .
    .
    We are very spoiled Anna, very spoiled. Great article, as usual and I never hated you Steve!
    .
    .
    One for the thumb…