NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at LA Lakers
(Sunday, April 8th)
Final Score: Phoenix 115, LA Lakers 107
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Steve Nash scored 25 points and dished out 11 assists as the Phoenix Suns held off the Los Angeles Lakers, 115-107.
Leandro Barbosa scored 23 points off the bench and Raja Bell went a perfect 6- for-6 from three-point range and finished with 22 points for the Suns, who moved 2 1/2 games in front of idle San Antonio for the second seed in the Western Conference.
"I was excited to see (the three-pointers) go in," said Bell. "I was 0-for-10 from three point range last game. You just have to let go and shoot it. I was fortunate to get open."
Kobe Bryant poured in 34 points and had seven assists, while Smush Parker scored 25 points for the Lakers, who moved a half game behind Denver for the sixth spot in the West. Los Angeles squares off the with the Nuggets on Monday.
"(The Suns) were able to move the ball and got easy looks at baskets," said Bryant. "With this team, you have to get hands up on their shots. Every shot has to be contested."
The Lakers trailed by just a point to start the fourth quarter, but the Suns gradually pulled away and kept LA at arm's length down the stretch.
Barbosa opened up the quarter with back-to-back layups and Phoenix quickly went up 78-73. A Parker bank shot brought the Lakers within 82-79, but Nash drained a trey to put Phoenix up by six with less than eight minutes to play.
A Bryant jumper brought LA within four, 87-83, but that was as close as the Lakers would get. The Suns ripped off seven straight points, featuring a Bell three-pointer, to push their lead to 94-83 with 4:14 remaining.
Three Bryant free throws made it a nine-point game with just over three minutes left, but Bell came back with another trey and Shawn Marion followed with a layup to make it 101-87. Phoenix then put on a free throw shooting clinic the rest of the way, going a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe to ice the game.
Phoenix held a slim 27-26 advantage after the opening 12 minutes and took a 54-48 lead into the locker room thanks in part to an 11-0 second quarter run.
A late 9-2 Lakers' run in the third quarter brought LA within 72-71 on Bryant's layup with just over a minute to play and the Suns took a 74-73 lead into the final quarter.
"(Bryant is) not the best scorer in the league for no reason," said Bell about guarding Bryant. "He knows how to score. (LA head coach Phil Jackson) puts him in good positions to do that. The only thing I can do is try to be a thorn in the side and make it hard for him and hope that he shoots a low percentage."
Amare Stoudemire had 19 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix, while Marion finished with 12 points...Ronny Turiaf scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the Lakers.
04/08 21:17:42 ET