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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Phoenix Suns 24 38 37 26 125
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 32 25 26 22 105




Without Kobe, Lakers fall to Phoenix 125-105

By BOB BAUM


Posted Apr 07 2012 9:38PM

PHOENIX (AP) Shannon Brown scored 20 of his 24 points in the third quarter Saturday night, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 125-105 victory over a Los Angeles Lakers team playing without Kobe Bryant for the first time in two seasons.

An injured left shin ended Bryant's string of 138 consecutive regular-season games played. The NBA's leading scorer watched the Suns reserves dominate the second quarter, then Brown go off against his former team in the third.

Michael Redd scored 17 of his 20 points in the second quarter for the Suns in their highest-scoring game of the season.

Pau Gasol had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum added 23 points and 18 boards for the Lakers, who surrendered the most points they have allowed this season.

Bryant was kicked in the shin against New Orleans a week ago and had tried to play through the pain. He was limping noticeably late in the Lakers' home loss to Houston on Saturday night. He had played in all 82 regular-season games last season and all 56 this year. Trainer Gary Vitti said the only way the injury will subside is with rest and there is no timetable for his return.

Seven players reached double figures for Phoenix in its fourth win in five games. Marcin Gortat scored 14, Sebastian Telfair had all of his 13 points in the second quarter, Markieff Morris scored 13 and Steve Nash had 13 points and 11 assists.

Metta World Peace added 19 points for the Lakers.

The Suns reserves outscored their Los Angeles counterparts 58-10.

Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry went with his reserves the entire second quarter and they outscored the Lakers 38-25, Phoenix's highest-scoring period of the season.

Redd and Telfair led the way.

Redd shot 6 of 11 for his 17 points, while Telfair was 5 of 7, including 2 of 2 3-pointers, for 13 points with four assists and three blocked shots.

Redd's steal and layup put the Suns up 45-44, then after Gasol's 16-footer briefly gave Los Angeles a 46-45 lead, Telfair sank a 3-pointer to trigger a 13-4 run. His 18-footer capped the spurt and made it 58-50.

After the Lakers cut it to 59-55, Telfair drove the length of the court for a layup with 0.7 seconds left. He was fouled and made the free throw, the three-point play putting Phoenix up 62-57 at the half.

The Suns starters stretched the lead in the third. Brown, who signed with Phoenix as a free agent after leaving the Lakers following last season, sank consecutive 3s to finish off a 12-4 run to end the third quarter and put the Suns ahead 99-83 entering the fourth.

Gasol led a late Los Angeles comeback but the Lakers never got closer than 10.

Notes: Phoenix played its only home game in a stretch of eight contests. The Suns open a four-game road trip Monday at Minnesota. ... The Lakers started a three-game trip. They are at New Orleans on Monday, then play a crucial contest at San Antonio next Wednesday. ... The teams split the season series 2-2. ... Bryant averaged 38.7 points in three games against Phoenix this season. ... The Suns are 15-7 since the All-Star break and have won 12 of their last 15 home games. ... Bynum was 3 for 8 from the free throw line.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

Lakers take on the New Orleans Hornets Saturday, March 31st at Staples Center at 12:30PM. Catch all the action on Fox Sports West, NBA TV, and 710ESPN.



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View More Photos
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Points Gasol 30, 14-25
Rebounds Bynum 18, 7 OFF 11 DEF
Assists Sessions 9
Steals World Peace/Bynum 1
Blocks McRoberts/World Peace 1
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

(On the game)
“It’s the same old, same old that’s happened to us the last 8 out of 10 games or so. We haven’t quite figured out how to play at the pace of this new pace that we’re playing at and defend at the same time. And that’s the way Phoenix plays. They like a high tempo or a fast paced game with a lot of possessions and they’ve done that for years. So if they’re going to play that way it’s going to be to their advantage. We still have to search and figure out how to control the tempo, control the pace but yet utilize the new speed that we have also and see if we can get stops in the same breath.”




Andrew Bynum:

(On the game)
“It was about defense but I ticked off a lot of shots. I left about fifty out there; three or four layups, three or four little shots in the middle of the lane. I can make them in a different game. We let them do the same thing to us the whole game. Pick and roll away from the weak side and if the corner guy came in to help, they shot a three. If the corner guy stayed in the corner, Gortat or somebody would take it.”




Pau Gasol:

(On the game)
“We just allowed them to be comfortable and let them get going. They got into their rhythm, got into their flow. The second quarter was Telfair and Michael Redd and the third quarter it was Shannon. We just played too much at their game, at their pace. That didn’t help us at all. We had the game in control in the first quarter holding them to one shots, adjusting shots. Then we started playing into their hands; shooting shots a little quicker into our offense. They’re good at this, they feel extremely comfortable and I’m sure that’s how they practice, it’s how they play all year long. With our team, our philosophy is we should win games when we score over 100 points and it just hasn’t happened for us lately.”




Alvin Gentry:

(Opening statement)
“Well that was fun. I thought we did a great job. I think I was most proud of that second unit that came in because they had their ups and downs but I thought they did a great job. I think I put them in when we were down eight and I thought that all of them did a great job to the man. Sebastian (Telfair) was really aggressive with the ball. (Michael) Redd got off to a good start. The only thing is probably the offensive rebound but I thought we battled and some of the things we just couldn’t do anything about. Our energy level was really high. Tonight we did a really good job of finishing the game.”

(On Shannon Brown)
“He’s been playing good basketball for us. I think overall he feels a lot more comfortable right now and obviously he is getting more extended minutes with Grant (Hill) out but I think that it took a little bit of time for him to really relish the freedom that we give him. We are a team that plays a lot on instinct and he’s played in a system where it was pretty structured and rigid and it took him a little time.”




Michael Redd:

(On the bench in the second quarter)
“Just trying to be aggressive, chip in and do our part. We don’t come in with any predetermined plans; we just go in there and just play. (Sebastian Telfair) does a great job, he’s just been doing a great job of calling the right plays and putting us in the right positions, so he’s been aggressive and assertive himself and we’re playing pretty good right now.

(On the game)
“Oh man, if we would have had last night it would have been even more great, but tonight was great, to get a win and bounce back, mentally more than anything, to fight back. We played well this week, so we’ve got another tough week in front of us and hopefully we can do the same thing.”




Steve Nash:

(On the bench)
“The bench was great. A bunch of guys stepped up tonight. Sebastian (Telfair) has been playing really well, I thought that Robin (Lopez) and Josh (Childress) contributed, and obviously Michael Redd got really hot and was great for us and Shannon (Brown) had a terrific game as well.”

(On taking care of the ball)
“It was good. We took care of the ball tonight and we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities to shoot the ball at the basket. And we’re a good shooting team, so usually if we get a lot of shots we’re going to make enough.”

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Rockets-Lakers Preview

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN


If Kobe Bryant is being slowed down by a bruised right shin, that figures to be good news for the Phoenix Suns.

The NBA’s leading scorer has dominated the Suns this season and gets another look at them Saturday night in the opener of a three-game trip for his Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles (35-21) had its Pacific Division lead over the Clippers cut to 1 1/2 games after falling 112-107 at home to Houston on Friday. Bryant, playing with a shin injury that kept him out of the morning shootaround, made 8 of 20 shots for 28 points and had no assists for the first time all season after averaging 31.7 points on 61.9 percent shooting over his previous three contests.

Any sign of weakness for Bryant would be welcome by Phoenix (28-27). He’s averaging 38.7 points on 53.8 percent shooting in three meetings with the Suns this season for his best such numbers against an opponent he has faced more than once.

The home team has won all three meetings between these clubs heading into the Lakers’ second trip to Phoenix, where Bryant caused a stir in his last visit for lashing out at Los Angeles’ front office over the issue of whether teammate Pau Gasol will be traded.

That tirade came after he made 11 of 24 shots for 32 points along with a season-high 10 turnovers as the Lakers trailed by as many as 27 points in a 102-90 loss Feb. 19. The Suns were pleased with their defensive effort that night.

“Even though Kobe still had a good game and shot the ball a lot, I want him to shoot the ball like that on the run and not get his teammates involved,” Phoenix swingman Jared Dudley said about that contest.

Phoenix sits in 10th place in the Western Conference after its three-game win streak ended Friday with a 105-99 loss at Denver. The Suns were outscored 13-2 to close the game.

“It was a bad loss for us,” said guard Steve Nash, who had 14 points and 11 assists. “We had a bad close to the game and didn’t make plays down the stretch.”

The Suns missed a chance to tie the Nuggets for the conference’s eighth and final playoff spot, instead falling two games back of Denver and Houston for the final two postseason berths.

“We have no margin of error,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “We have zero margin of error.”

Nash is averaging 13.0 assists against Los Angeles this season, with top scorer Marcin Gortat averaging team highs of 19.3 points and 14.3 boards in the season series. Gortat is fourth in the NBA in field-goal percentage at 56.5, with the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum second at 58.3.

Bynum, meanwhile, was ejected Friday with two technicals, the second for mouthing off to the Houston bench after hitting a hook shot with 11:17 left. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

“It’s always tough when you lose somebody like Bynum because he’s a 20-and-10 type of guy,” point guard Ramon Sessions said. “I think he was just starting to get rolling, too, and getting hyped up right before that. We definitely needed him down the stretch.”


4/06/12
L HOU 112, LAL 107
4/04/12
W LAL 113, LAC 108
4/03/12
W LAL 91, NJN 87
4/01/12
W LAL 120, GSW 112
3/31/12
W LAL 88, NOH 85
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Probable Starters
Lakers
#15 World Peace SF #1 Ariza
#16 Gasol PF #14 Smith
#17 Bynum C #35 Kaman
#3 Ebanks SG #10 Gordon
#7 Sessions PG #21 Vasquez
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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(tenosynovitis, left shin) is day-to-day.
Andrew Bynum
(sprained left ankle) is probable.
Ramon Sessions
(sprained left shoulder - ac joint) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(sprained MCL, right knee) is questionable.
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Grant Hill
(medial meniscus tear, right knee) is out.
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Game 1: 1/10 - W 99-83
Game 1: 2/17 - W 111-99
Game 1: 2/19 - L 90-102
Game 1: 4/7 - LAL @ PHX
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