Kobe Bryant dribbles around Grant Hill in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Western Conference Finals

*Kobe Bryant dribbled toward the Lakers’ bench, luring Channing Frye and Jason Richardson along with him. Bryant leaned back and launched a feather-soft jumper over Phoenix’s double team, neatly beating the first-quarter buzzer.

That’s about when the Suns should have noted the bright yellow brace on Bryant’s right knee is the color of a caution sign.

Even with a balky knee and a litany of additional woes, Bryant still is among the most dangerous postseason scorers in NBA history – and he had no problem giving Los Angeles an early leg up in the Western Conference finals.

Bryant scored 40 points, Lamar Odom added 19 points and 19 rebounds, and the Lakers opened the series with ruthless offensive efficiency in a 128-107 victory on Monday night.

Read MORE of this AP report HERE.