Suns Hold Off Lakersí Late Charge
Phoenix 122, L.A. Lakers 112
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 3 (Ticker) -- The Phoenix Suns' offseason acquisitions simply would not allow them to open the season with two straight fourth-quarter collapses.
Kurt Thomas, James Jones and Raja Bell all made clutch baskets down the stretch to lead the Suns to a 122-112 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who wasted an outstanding 39-point effort from Kobe Bryant.
For the second straight game Thursday, the Suns built a 17-point cushion in the fourth quarter, as they held a 108-91 advantage with 8:36 left.
The Lakers went on a 12-2 run to close to within 110-103 on a 3-pointer by Laron Profit with 5:40 left, but Phoenix turned to its newcomers, who seemingly made every clutch play.
Acquired this summer in a trade with New York, Thomas made layups on Phoenix's next two possessions to stretch the lead to 114-105.
Bryant answered each basket with a jumper and Lamar Odom and Profit added layups on the Lakers' next two trips to cut the deficit to 115-112 with 2:16 left.
On the Suns' ensuing possesion, reigning MVP Steve Nash found a wide-open Jones, who was acquired in a trade with Indiana, for a 3-pointer to restore a six-point lead.
Bell, who was signed as a free agent primarily for his defensive prowess, put away the game with a fadeaway jumper to beat the shot clock with 51 seconds left.
Shawn Marion led the Suns with 30 points and 11 rebounds and Nash chipped in 12 and 17 assists. Jones scored 17 points and Bell and Thomas added 14 apiece for Phoenix, which shot over 50 percent (45-of-89) and committed only nine turnovers.
Bryant led the Lakers on 13-of-26 shooting. Odom also put forth a strong effort, collecting 23 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists for Los Angeles, which made just 6-of-23 shots from beyond the arc.