LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers are halfway to another NBA finals, and their fans already know who they want their dominant defending champions to play next.
Pau Gasol scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant had 21 points and 13 assists, and the Lakers roared away in the final minutes for a 124-112 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday to claim a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Ron Artest scored 18 points for the Lakers, who won their eighth straight playoff game and moved within striking distance of a tantalizing NBA finals showdown with the Boston Celtics, who lead Orlando 2-0 in the East. For the second straight game, the chants rained down from the Staples Center crowd in the final minutes: “We want Boston!”
The Lakers remained unbeaten at home in the postseason despite a much-improved effort from the Suns, who lost the opener by 21 points. Phoenix tied it at 90-all heading to the final period of Game 2, but Gasol and Bryant flawlessly led the Lakers to another high-scoring victory, handing third-seeded Phoenix its first back-to-back losses since late January.
Game 3 is Sunday night in Phoenix.
The Lakers have lost only one best-of-7 playoff series in franchise history after taking a 2-0 lead, winning the other 41.
Bryant’s streak of six straight 30-point games ended.
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