PHOENIX, Feb. 22 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant had his way with the Phoenix Suns all game long but was especially brilliant in the fourth quarter.

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Bryant scored 16 of his 40 points in the final period as the Los Angeles Lakers handed the Phoenix Suns an eighth straight defeat, 104-92.

It was the second 40-point game of the season for Bryant, whose team has won 27 of the last 35 meetings with the Suns. Bryant, who made 15-of-25 shots, has scored at least 35 points five times in America West Arena, the most of any visiting player.

"I feel like I'm getting better every day," said Bryant, who has been on the injured list this season for shoulder and finger injuries. "Tonight we needed me to score more points. Fortunately for us, I was able to do that and also get involved in other actions of the game."

Gary Payton added 20 points and Shaquille O'Neal 19 for the Lakers, who posted their fourth straight victory and sixth in seven games.

"Offensively we played a real good game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Kobe is almost at the peak of his game. Shaq and Gary contributed, we had players filling roles -- it was very good."

"Jahidi (White) did as well as he could do against Shaq," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "But Kobe got off. You get one hole plugged up and then another one opens, and then the whole thing starts to leak."

The Lakers held just an 86-82 edge before Derek Fisher and Kareem Rush nailed 3-pointers around a basket by the Suns' Amare Stoudemire to extend the cushion to 92-84 with 5:09 remaining. Phoenix got no closer than six points thereafter.

Stoudemire scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Suns, who are on their longest skid since beginning the 1996-97 campaign 0-13. Shawn Marion added 22 points and 13 rebounds.

"Kobe had a strong game going into the fourth quarter," Stoudemire said. "The fourth quarter in close situations is what this game boils down to. Kobe had a strong impact for his team in the fourth and I just wanted to try and adjust my game so that I could provide an impact for us."

The Lakers jumped out to a 20-6 lead and held a 29-20 advantage after one quarter before the Suns took advantage of some lethargic play by Los Angeles to take a 47-46 edge into the break.

Phoenix led by as many as six points early in the third quarter before Los Angeles settled down and took the lead for good, 72-69, on a 3-pointer by Payton with 1:34 left in the period.

"The first half, we got off to a fast start and we kind of let them get back into it," O'Neal said. "The third and fourth quarter, we played good defense. Kobe had an exceptional game, Gary played good. They doubled me a lot and I tried to hit the open guy."

"We hung with them all night long, even coming back from a large first-quarter deficit, but like most of our games lately, we were just not able to finish them at the end," said Suns guard Joe Johnson, who scored 11 points.