GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 25 19 22 10 76
Play by Play Phoenix Suns 21 26 24 28 99








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Scola's big 4th helps Suns rout Kobe-less Lakers

By BOB BAUM


Posted Mar 19 2013 12:49AM

PHOENIX (AP) Luis Scola scored all 14 of his points, including his second 3-pointer of the season, in the fourth quarter Monday night and the Phoenix Suns pulled away for a 99-76 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without Kobe Bryant for the second straight night.

Steve Nash scored 19 against his former team, but was just 6 of 17 as the Lakers shot 33 percent for the game. Scola also grabbed eight of his nine rebounds in the final period.

The Suns outscored the Lakers 28-10 in the fourth quarter to snap a four-game losing streak.

Dwight Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but was just 6 of 18 from the field for the Lakers, still without injured Pau Gasol.

Wesley Johnson added 14 points for the Suns, who beat the Lakers in Phoenix for the fourth time in a row.

Goran Dragic had 12 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who had six players in double figures. Jared Dudley scored 13, Kendall Marshall 11 and Michael Beasley 10 for Phoenix.

Bryant, who had played in every game this season, missed his second in a row because of a sprained left ankle, an injury that occurred last week against Atlanta. He played the first quarter of the next game at Indiana, but sat out the rest of that game, then missed the win against Sacramento on Sunday night.

The Lakers lost for only the second time in eight games. They are 11-4 since the All-Star break.

Los Angeles shot 19 percent (4 of 21) in the fourth quarter. The 76 points were the fewest allowed by the Suns this season.

Phoenix led 71-66 after three, then scored the first six of the fourth quarter to go up 77-66 on Beasley's reverse layup with 9:15 to go. Los Angeles twice cut it to eight before Scola scored four in a 9-0 surge that put Phoenix up 87-70. Scola's second 3 in 13 tries this season gave Phoenix a 92-75 lead with 3:38 to go.

Howard did not take a shot in his 10 minutes on the court in the Lakers' awful final quarter.

He scored 12 in the first half but was just 4 of 14 from the field.

Rookie Kendall Marshall sank consecutive 3s to put Phoenix up 43-35 with 5:46 left in the half and Phoenix led the rest of the way. Nash scored the next four, two on a nifty vintage layup in traffic, and Los Angeles cut it to 43-40.

Marshall's 14-footer and Johnson's 19-footer put the Suns up 47-40 with 1:44 left in the half.

But Phoenix, averaging 20 turnovers in their four-game losing streak, finished the half with three of them. Meeks scored the final four of the half to cut it to 47-44 at the break.

The Lakers cut it to 58-56 on Steve Blake's driving layup with 6:37 left in the third, then Jermaine O'Neal's tip-in started an 11-2 run that was capped by two spectacular assists by Dragic. First, he skidded a long bounce pass between Nash's legs to Dudley for a layup, then he found O'Neal for a dunk and Phoenix led 69-58 with 3:19 left in the quarter.

Consecutive 3s by Blake and Antawn Jamison cut the Suns' lead to 71-66 entering the fourth quarter. It would have been closer but the Lakers' Earl Clark missed two free throws with 23.8 seconds left in the third.

NOTES: The Suns, with Nash leading the way, beat the Lakers six times in a row in Phoenix from Nov. 19, 2004, to April 13, 2007. ... Scola started every game in Houston's 22-game winning streak in 2007-08, the mark surpassed by Miami with its 23rd win in a row Monday night. ... Los Angeles was called for four fouls in the first half, the Suns 10. For the game, it was the Lakers 13 fouls, Phoenix 16.

Copyright 2013 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





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Points Nash, 19
Rebounds Howard, 11
Assists Dragic (PHX), 10
Steals World Peace, 5
Blocks Dragic/O'Neal (PHX), 2


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On tonight's game:
“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all. I thought we had open shots but they’re deep and long and they kept coming at us. I think we ran out of gas and got in a couple of wrestling matches. We just didn’t play well, didn’t shoot well, and didn’t take care of the ball very good and got beat. If you don’t have Kobe it’s harder, if you don’t’ have Pau it’s harder but there’s no excuse, it is what it is. When you’re wide open and you miss shots, and we held them okay but not great defensively. A lot of it was caused by our sloppiness on offense and not getting back and not coming up with any loose balls and the 50/50 balls were all theirs. They had more athleticism, more energy, and more legs than we did.”




Dwight Howard:

On tonight's game:
“We did miss a lot of shots and they made a lot of shots but we were a step slow tonight. They capitalized tonight. All their guys hit tough shots and they were running the floor, they had a good game. It’s one game. We can’t allow it to stop us from what our mission is. We didn’t play as well as we wanted to play but we’ve got to get this game out of our head and come back in a couple of days and get another win. Disappointed that we lost here, we wanted to win for Steve but we still have an opportunity in front of us and we have to put this game behind us.”




Steve Nash:

On end of road trip:
“It was a tough night shooting the ball obviously. We had a lot of great looks; a lot of balls go in the basket and come back out. We just hit the wall; 9th game in 14 days in seven cities and you could just kind of see the wheels fall off especially lately with some guys being injured we’ve been playing a 7 man rotation and I think it caught up with us a little bit. Our legs just came undone. We didn’t look like we could get to any loose balls we couldn’t hit first and more than anything it seemed like the 50/50 balls and offensive rebounds and transition points killed us tonight. We’re disappointed.”




Lindsey Hunter:

Opening statement:
“We had a great team effort tonight. I think every guy on our bench, the bench, guys that didn’t play everybody was very supportive. That is the type of team building we are trying to get here. That is the type of culture that we are trying to have. That you support your guys. Every guy that played really really did a good job, an exceptional job. Offensively, I really liked to see some of the things actually work that we have been tweaking, some things that we have been changing actually manifest itself tonight. It was great to see. Defensively, just challenging our guys to take it a step forward. To continue to be a multiple effort team. We still have a long way to go. This is the same team that just was blown out on the road. We cant get to high and we wont get too low. I told you guys we will stay at a happy medium and try to get better and better everyday. Scola was tremendous tonight. He came off and played and guarded Dwight really well. Goran was Goran. He has been spectacular since all-star break. It is really great to see Wesley be aggressive. Jermaine, Markieff, PJ, Haddadi, Jared, I can go on and on. Michael was very alert. Kendall shot the ball extremely well. I know from being in the gym as the player development guy how many long sessions of shooting this kid has been going through. You would think this kid was John Paxson the way he was shooting the three ball. It is great to see. I know had he not spent the time, effort, and hours in the gym shooting he never would have had the confidence to look at the rim. He has a long way to go but it is good to see him perform the way he did.”

On Luis Scola’s fourth quarter:
“He was tremendous. I was kind of nervous having him on Dwight because I knew it was just size advantage. You can never measure a guy’s heart and he showed it tonight. He let us coaches know that we really don’t know what we are doing and to leave him out there on Dwight. He did a great job.”




Goran Dragic:

On how it feels to beat the Lakers for the second time at home:
“It’s great. It brings old memories back from the playoffs against them and it’s always nice to win against the Lakers. They have a lot of good players; and especially this season when we have struggled so much, we need every win we can get. Tonight we played really well. We played together – six guys scored more than ten points. Everybody was involved. On defense we gave them different looks. We know Steve is going to play pick and roll a lot and Dwight is going to get a lot of balls in the low post. Steve was really aggressive in the first quarter, he scored like ten or twelve points but then we stopped him a little bit.”




Jared Dudley:

On having six different guys score double digits:
“That’s a formula for us from now on. For the next year where you don’t have a superstar the ball has to move. You have got to get a lot of people scoring – sometimes you’re going to have to give up a good shot to get a great shot. We need everyone scoring where we have great balance. If we just have one or two guys scoring the ball and the other three guys on the court haven’t shot the ball – we’re just not talented enough to do that.”






LAKERS-SUNS PREVIEW

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO

Posted Mar 18 2013 2:25AM

Kobe Bryant may be out again, but the Los Angeles Lakers are doing just fine without him.

A meeting with the Phoenix Suns may afford them the luxury of resting him again.

With the status of their superstar doubtful, the Lakers attempt to continue their surge and create some breathing room in the Western Conference playoff race against the Suns on Monday night.

Bryant is hampered by a sprained left ankle and an apparent flu, but Los Angeles (36-32) has won both games since he sustained the injury in Wednesday's 96-92 loss at Atlanta. He returned two days later, but exited after 12 minutes and no points in a 99-93 win over Indiana.

The Lakers knew they would be without their star guard Sunday, but they overcame his absence to beat Sacramento 113-102.

"We're just not making any excuses," said forward Antawn Jamison, who helped pick up the scoring slack with 27 points - his highest total in over three months - to match Bryant's season average. "We just looked ourselves in the mirror and said, 'It's up to us to turn this thing around.' And I think we've been doing that since the All-Star break. We're finally playing the way we're capable of playing."

Los Angeles is 11-3 since the All-Star break, averaging 105.8 points while hitting 39.2 percent from beyond the arc. That's moved them into eighth in the West, one game ahead of ninth-place Utah and one-half back of Houston.

The Lakers have a chance to pull level with the idle Rockets, and will likely opt to keep the ball moving through Steve Nash if Bryant is out again.

"That ball moves, and there are some good guys out there on the floor," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That ball needs to move, and if it does, then we're really good."

Nash's contributions have been key in the last two games. He had 19 points and 12 assists against the Kings, two days after getting 15 and nine, respectively, versus the Pacers.

The point guard is making his second visit to Phoenix (22-45) since being dealt for two draft picks last summer. He had 11 points and two assists while hitting 3 of 8 from the floor in a 92-86 loss in his last game there Jan. 30. Metta World Peace is averaging 18.0 points while making 10 of 23 from 3-point range to help the Lakers win two of three season meetings with the Suns.

The forward is enjoying a terrific stretch entering this matchup, scoring 20.3 points on 56.8 percent shooting over the past three contests, including a 22-point effort Sunday.

Los Angeles may be in for another strong offensive performance against a Suns team that has been outscored by an average of 20.0 points during a four-game slide. They're surrendering 113.3 ppg during that stretch, while allowing opponents to shoot a staggering 50.6 percent from long range.

Phoenix is tied with New Orleans for the worst record in the West, and the team's defensive issues were at the forefront Saturday. They surrendered 14 3s en route to a 127-105 loss at Washington.

"I was embarrassed, and I know our guys feel the same way," coach Lindsey Hunter said. "The amount of points we gave up, the amount of 3s we gave up, rebounds, there was no aspect that we brought our focus to."

Michael Beasley, who scored 21 points against the Wizards, had a season-high 27 with five steals in the latest home meeting with the Lakers.


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.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #15 Morris  
  #6 ClarkPF #11 Morris  
  #12 Howard C #14 Scola  
  #20 Meeks SG #2 Johnson  
  #10 Nash PG #1 Dragic  




Lakers Kobe Bryant
(severe sprain, left ankle) is out indefinitely.
Earl Clark
(moderate sprain, right ankle) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is out.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.

Jazz Channing Frye
(enlarged heart) is out.
Marcin Gortat
(sprain, right foot) is out.


11/16 - PHX 102 @ LAL 114
01/30 - LAL 86 @ PHX 92
02/12 - PHX 85 @ LAL 91
03/18 - LAL @ PHX