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Bryant scored 40 points to crush the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals

LOS ANGELES (June 5) - Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers produced a dazzling display at both ends of the floor to crush the Orlando Magic 100-75 in the opening game of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Bryant scored 40 points and had eight assists and eight rebounds for the Lakers, seeking their first title since 2002.

Last year's league MVP scored 18 points in the third quarter when the Lakers turned a 10-point half-time lead into an 82-58 blowout with a quarter to play.

Bryant displayed emotion rarely seen during his 13-year career, perhaps wanting to prove to LeBron James that he is not yet ready to cede the title as the NBA's best player.

"I just want it really bad," a jubilant Bryant told reporters. "You just put everything you have into the game and your emotions kind of flow out of you.

"I feel great. This is the best I've felt late in the season in my whole career. I feel outstanding."

The 30-year-old, 11 times All-Star hit 16 of 34 shots, scoring a career high in the NBA Finals. He weaved through the lane for acrobatic lay-ups, nailed pull-up jumpers, and dribbled by team mates' picks for open shots.

"Offensively he was amazing," said Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who had 11 points and 14 rebounds. "Defensively, as well. When he gets it going, he's one of the best players of all time."

Los Angeles shot 46 percent from the floor but it was their suffocating defense that was key to the dominating win.

source : reuters.com

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