Suns Win Sixth Straight Vs. Lakers
Phoenix 106, L.A. Lakers 93
PHOENIX, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- When Eddie House is dialed in, the Phoenix Suns' attack becomes that much more potent. The Los Angles Lakers were the latest team to learn that.
House scored 12 straight Phoenix points in the second quarter and finished with 19 and Shawn Marion had 22 and 16 rebounds as the Suns coasted to their sixth straight win over the Lakers, a 106-93 triumph.
The game largely was decided by Phoenix's 22-4 surge in the second quarter, a spurt highlighted by House's outburst. After Luke Walton's jumper gave Los Angeles a 35-25 lead with 7:51 left, House hit one of his own to open the run and capped it roughly four minutes later with a 3-pointer to tie it at 37-37.
"It was at the right time. We were kind of at a low offensively when I started getting some shots and started knocking them down," House said. "I got going a little bit. If you hit like two, then you start feeling good. I didn't feel like I needed to, I just was playing."
Kurt Thomas' layup moments later gave the Suns the lead for good at 40-39. They finished the first half with a 49-43 lead and extended their advantage to 77-62 after the third quarter, when Raja Bell scored 12 of his 18 points.
"They got their veterans back on the floor in the second quarter and started running their screen-and-rolls," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They were able to play some defense and shut us down after we made a run in the second quarter."
Bell capped a 6-0 run with a pair of jumpers in a 35-second span that left Phoenix with a 64-49 advantage.
"We are a team of spurts," Bell said. "Eddie really came in and got us going in the second quarter. We really locked down on defense in the third quarter. I thought that was one of the best quarters of defense I've seen this team play all year."
Los Angeles shot 32 percent (7-of-22) and made five turnovers in the third period, when leading scorer Kobe Bryant went scoreless until his jumper with 1:18 left made it 77-60. Lamar Odom had a layup and Bryant a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and get the Lakers within 10 points. But Marion and House hit back-to-back jumpers to make it 81-67 with 9:54 left.
House added a 3-pointer exactly one minute later to open an 86-69 advantage. The Suns led by at least 12 points thereafter. House made 8-of-14 shots and Steve Nash collected 17 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as Phoenix won its second straight game by double digits following its worst loss of the season Tuesday at Sacramento.
A product of nearby Arizona State, House has averaged 14.8 points in the Suns' last nine wins and 8.9 in their last nine losses. Bryant had 20 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter after a difficult first three periods, during which Bell marked him. He finished 12-of-33 from the floor but gave little credit to either Bell or Phoenix.
"Oh come on, you have got to be kidding me," said Bryant, who scored 51 points in Thursday's overtime loss at Sacramento. "I had good looks but missed them. It is as simple as that. They just weren't falling. Some nights I am on fire and other nights I have nights like tonight, where the shots weren't going in."
"You have to have a cushion and hope that he (Bryant) doesn't go crazy on you," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "If you are five or six points up, for him that is only two possessions. The way he is playing right now, you can't take anything for granted. I thought we did a pretty good job but lost concentration and he got 20 points in the fourth."
The superstar hit all nine of his free throws to extend his franchise record to 57 in a row. However, he helped the Suns' cause with an offensive foul and subsequent technical that led to a free throw by Nash late in the third.
Bell followed with a basket to give Phoenix its largest lead, 77-57, completing a 52-22 run across parts of two quarters.
Odom finished with 15 points and 12 boards for the Lakers, whose bench was outscored, 28-13.