Notebook: Lakers 91, Suns 85



Posted Feb 13, 2013 2:41 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Lakers received an unexpected preview of what life might be like without Kobe Bryant in a couple years. Bryant's contributions were nearly non-existent Tuesday night against the visiting Suns. He failed to convert a field goal until the game's final minutes and committed eight turnovers in the 91-85 victory at Staples Center.

THE STAT: Bryant, who entered the game as the NBA's third-leading scorer at 27.4 points, finished with four points on 1-for-8 shooting in 35 minutes, his lowest-scoring game since he scored two points in six minutes in January 2005. It also represented the lowest-scoring game of his 17-year career when playing more than 27 minutes.

QUOTABLE: "Once every 17 years, I guess he's allowed that."

-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni

TURNING POINT: The Lakers were met with a hail of boos when the third quarter ended and they trailed, 71-65. With Bryant on the bench to start the fourth, the Lakers quickly erased the lead and went ahead for good, 77-75, when Steve Blake spun away from defensive pressure and nailed a 17-footer. Bryant and Steve Nash checked back in with 6:32 left in the game and Nash immediately hit a runner to put L.A. ahead, 79-75. Antawn Jamison then snared Bryant's air ball and laid it in for a six-point lead and the Suns never got back within four.

HOT: Jamison was just what the Lakers needed on a night when Bryant was missing in action. He finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Lakers center Dwight Howard was also active on both ends of the floor, finishing with 19 points and 18 rebounds while playing 41 minutes for the second consecutive game. Suns reserve forward Michael Beasley played his second consecutive strong game against the Lakers. After scoring a season-high 27 points in a win against visiting L.A. on Jan. 31, he came back with a team-high 18 on Tuesday.

NOT: The Lakers nearly set themselves up for a painful loss by scoring nine points in the third quarter, their lowest-scoring quarter of the season. L.A. scored two points over the final 8:57 of the quarter, missing its final 14 shots. The nine points was also the lowest-scoring quarter by a Phoenix opponent this season.

GOOD MOVE: As much as Bryant struggled to get his offense going in the second half, he did an admirable job getting Howard and Metta World Peace involved early. He had six of his team-high nine assists in the opening quarter, as both Howard and World Peace took six shots each and combined for 17 points.

BAD MOVE: Bryant didn't attempt his first field goal until 7:30 remained in the third quarter, then proceeded to miss his first seven shots before finally connecting. The long delay before taking a shot seemed to affect his rhythm down the stretch, and his pass-first mentality wasn't necessarily working, as he committed eight turnovers.

QUOTABLE II: "He realizes when he needs to be aggressive and when he doesn't. You just always have to be aware of him."

-- Suns coach Lindsey Hunter on Bryant

NOTABLE: The last time Bryant did not attempt a field goal in the first half was March 5, 2005 against the SuperSonics, when he left one minute into the game after re-aggravating a shoulder injury. ... Former Lakers and Suns center Shaquille O'Neal sat courtside. ... The Lakers have won four consecutive home games. ... The Lakers had one offensive rebound in the first half and 11 in the second.

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Thursday vs. L.A. Clippers, Feb. 20 vs. Boston, Feb. 22 vs. Portland. For the Suns, Tuesday @ Portland, Feb. 20 @ Golden State, Feb. 22 vs. Boston.