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 last 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-LA 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 tomorrow.
''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.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points of 8-of-16 shooting, but the rest of the Lakers starters were 17 for 50. Bryant scored only 1 point and took just three shots in the second half.
Bryant 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."
The Brazilian Barbosa and Frenchman Boris Diaw led the way. Diaw had 21 points and nine assists as seven Suns scored in double figures. Phoenix's turnaround can be traced directly to the improved play of the duo.
''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 is expected to receive his second consecutive NBA MVP award today at a Suns news conference. He had 13 points and nine assists, but sprained his right ankle late in the first half and was not as nimble as usual after that.
''It is the same ankle I tweaked a couple of months ago and the swelling went down finally just a week ago," he said. ''It is encouraging that I could move around on it the second half, and with a day and a half of rest, I think it will be fine."
Raja Bell returned to a hero's welcome from a one-game suspension for throwing Bryant to the floor in Game 5. He scored 13 points and drew three offensive fouls against Bryant.