PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns went from the brink to a blowout, from the edge of elimination to one of the most impressive turnarounds in NBA playoff history.
So much for the nail-biting suspense of a Game 7. The fast, feisty Suns won in a 121-90 laugher over the listless Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.
Leandro Barbosa led the layup parade with a career playoff-best 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting and the Suns became the eighth team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-1.
“I am going to steal a line from Disney and say it’s a small world after all,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I guess small guys can play. That’s about as good as we could play. Every one of our guys, I can’t pick out one, all of them had an amazing game.”
That all-L.A. second-round series that looked so probable a few days ago vanished in a blur of Suns’ fast breaks and repeated drives to the basket.
Instead, the Clippers will come to Phoenix for Game 1 of the second-round series on Monday night.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t have given them a better game,” said the Lakers’ Phil Jackson, who lost a first-round series for the first time in his coaching career.
“If we were going to get back in this type of game, we have to have everybody contributing,” Bryant explained.
He said his team played about as well as it could in taking its 3-1 series lead, then couldn’t keep up when the Suns found their footing.
“They just have a lot of talent over there,” Bryant said, “a lot of firepower. They stepped up to the challenge and kept coming at us in waves. We just didn’t have enough in the tank to hold on.”
“Tonight, Boris and Leandro were our best players,” Steve Nash said. “The two guys that people said were disappointing in the beginning of the series, I think they are accustomed to the series now and they lost their virginity, so to speak, in the seventh game.”
Nash, who had 13 points and nine assists, sprained his right ankle late in the first half and was not as nimble as usual after that.
Shawn Marion had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix.
PBT: The Grizzlies' Game 2 OT loss to the Spurs was a tough pill to swallow after rallying from 13 down in the fourth quarter, but there's a silver lining.
'Lost their virginity'
May 6: Phoenix Suns stars Steve Nash and Raja Bell talk about the Game 7 victory.
May 6: Lakers coach Phil Jackson talks about the off-season, and Kobe Bryant says he didn't give Raja Bell much thought.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
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