Yesterday before Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Kobe Bryant had to have his knee drained. He even walked onto the court with a bright yellow sleeve covering his bothersome right knee. But nothing seems to faze the Black Mamba. Number 24 torched the Suns for 40 points and guided the Lakers to a 128-107 Game 1 victory. What knee problem? It was Bryant's sixth straight playoff game with 30 or more points and the Lakers have won each game. Since the league expanded the postseason to 16 teams in 1984, only two other players have scored 30 points in 6 straight playoff games with their team winning each game, Shaquille O'Neal in 2002 and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1995, both of whom won the NBA title. Speaking of Shaq, if you were not lucky enough to be at the Staples Center last night, Larry David watched the game from the same eight-seat court-side section where his fictional alter ego infamously tripped Shaquille O'Neal during a second-season episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
It looks like Kobe Bryant used the time off in between series to work on his jump shot. In the first two rounds, Kobe struggled shooting from the outside, as he made only 37.5 percent (30-80) of his field goals from 16+ feet from the basket. In Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Kobe found his stroke as he hit 8 of 14 shots from 16 feet or further from the basket, including 4 of 6 in the 3rd quarter. Kobe's eight made field goals from 16+ feet were a 2010 postseason high.