LOS ANGELES (AP) — Redemption could be coming quickly for the Los Angeles Lakers.Playing tougher than they did a year ago, Kobe Bryant and his teammates took control in the second quarter and ran away to a 100-75 victory over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA finals on Thursday night.A year ago in the finals, Boston’s big men led by Kevin Garnett were more than the Lakers could handle. The Celtics dealt them a humiliating 131-92 defeat in Game 6 that stayed with the Lakers all through this season.This time, Los Angeles stood up to Orlando’s self-proclaimed Superman, Dwight Howard, thanks to 7-foot Pau Gasol and 7-0, 285-pound Andrew Bynum in the post. Gasol had 16 points and eight rebounds, while Howard scored 12 points and 15 rebounds.Bryant was superb, with 40 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and gritty play that matched his I-came-to-win facial expression. He was clipped in his comments Wednesday and maintained his serious demeanor throughout Game 1.He scored 18 points in the first half and 18 in the third quarter alone.His supporting cast clearly got the message Bryant conveyed anytime he rested on the bench.”I wanted to be sure we stayed on the aggressive and it was my responsibility over the course of the game to keep it going,” he said. “We worked very hard on the perimeter, keeping these guys out of rhythm, then we did a good job on him (Howard) inside – giving him different looks.”Bynum got into early foul trouble, but had eight points and four rebounds in the opening quarter, when the Magic led by two points.Lamar Odom, whose up-and-down performances have plagued him in the playoffs, was solid off the bench with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Luke Walton added nine points.
Tougher Lakers rout Magic 100-75
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