NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Phoenix
(Friday, April 7th)
Final Score: Phoenix 107, LA Lakers 96
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Steve Nash scored 25 points and Leandro Barbosa added 23, as Phoenix overcame a 51-point performance from Kobe Bryant to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, 107-96, at US Airways Center.
Seven Suns scored in double figures to thwart Bryant's virtuoso performance. The guard's 51 points were the most scored by a player in the history of US Airways Arena -- previously called America West Arena -- and the third most ever against the Suns. Ironically enough, Wilt Chamberlain's 66 points are the most ever tallied against Phoenix.
"We limited them to one shot and made them take some tough outside shots," said Suns forward Shawn Marion. "We forced the tempo of the game and overall we controlled the game for the most part."
Lamar Odom added 17 points and 11 rebounds while Smush Parker contributed 14 points in the team's second straight loss. The Lakers have also lost seven straight games against Phoenix, the longest losing streak against one team in the franchise's storied history.
The loss pushed Los Angeles into a tie for the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference with Sacramento, which defeated the Clippers, 96-93, on Friday night.
"I was disappointed in our fourth quarter beginning," said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. "We put ourselves in a good position, and didn't score for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. We gave it away in the fourth, and went from one to eleven."
Phoenix reached the 50-win plateau behind a balanced scoring attack. Raja Bell, Shawn Marion and Boris Diaw each tallied 12 points while Marion also pulled down 14 rebounds. James Jones added 11 points and Eddie House totaled 10 as Phoenix halted a two-game losing skid. The Suns' magic number to clinch the Pacific Division is two games.
The game may have been a preview of a first-round matchup in the playoffs. Phoenix is currently the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference while the Lakers are battling for the seventh position.
Los Angeles worked its way back into the contest during the third stanza, outscoring Phoenix 27-16 to get within 80-79.
However, the Suns opened the final stanza with an 18-4 burst to take control of the contest. Phoenix tallied the first eight points of the period with Marion slamming home a lob pass from Diaw to push the lead to 88-79 with 8:47 to play.
The advantage eventually reached 98-83 as House drained a long-distance jumper and Diaw converted a mid-range jumper to cap the flurry with 5:31 remaining.
LA did not get closer than nine points, 100-91, the rest of the way.
The Suns went on a 17-8 scoring stretch to take a 12-point edge in the second period. Barbosa's three-point play opened a 47-36 lead with 5:33 left in the half and then the guard used the glass to make the score 51-39 with 4:15 on the clock.
Phoenix led 64-52 at the break.
The Suns shot 49.5 percent from the floor and drained 12-of-26 from three- point range...The Lakers made only 9-of-24 from beyond the arc...Barbosa scored 15 of his 23 points in the first half...Phoenix improved to 29-10 at home...The Lakers fell to 18-23 on the road...This marked LA's last road contest of the regular season.
04/08 02:25:37 ET