GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Phoenix Susns 25 23 25 26 99
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 21 36 30 24 111


Kobe scores 36 to lead Lakers over Suns 111-99

Associated Press


Posted Feb 17 2012 10:30PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 36 points in the third quarter, Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers handed the Phoenix Suns their fourth straight loss, 111-99 on Friday night.

It was only the fourth time in 30 games this season that the Lakers reached the 100-point mark. Pau Gasol had 13 rebounds and 10 points, and Matt Barnes added 17 points off the bench along with seven boards in 25 minutes. Bryant had nine rebounds and six assists.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping attended the game, capping a four-day visit to the U.S. He entered the arena on a red carpet during the second quarter and observed the proceedings from the second tier of luxury suites above the official scorer's table and the players' benches.

Bryant scored at least 40 in each of his previous two games against Phoenix, including a 48-point effort in the Lakers' 99-83 win on Jan. 10 at Staples Center - his highest-scoring game in the NBA when not making a 3-point shot.

Center Marcin Gortat, the only player to start all 31 games for the Suns, led them with 21 points and 16 rebounds on his 28th birthday. Steve Nash had 17 assists along with 11 points.

The Lakers took an 83-63 lead with an 18-2 run capped by Bryant's 3-pointer with 3:20 left in the third. Phoenix guard Shannon Brown, who won two championship rings with the Lakers, cut the margin to 87-73 with back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 35 seconds of the quarter - one of them a buzzer-beater.

Brown, the last player off Phoenix's bench, played 20 minutes and had 15 points after sitting out six of the previous games due to a coach's decision. He came in averaging 9.0 points and 21.1 minutes in 23 previous games since signing with Phoenix as a free agent on Dec. 11.

Phoenix rookie Markieff Morris hit a 3-pointer to cut the Lakers' lead to 93-83 with 6:47 remaining, less than a minute before Bryant reported back in. Brown cut it to 95-90 on a spectacular slam dunk, grabbing Morris' missed jumper above the rim and slamming it down in one motion with 4:30 to play.

But Derek Fisher responded with a pull-up jumper, and Bryant followed with a pair of short jumpers to give the Lakers a 101-90 lead with 2:42 left. The Suns got no closer than eight the rest of the way.

Three Lakers scored in double digits in the first half, including Barnes, whose 11 points helped them take a 57-48 lead at intermission. Gortat had 14 points and nine rebounds in the half for Phoenix.

Coach Mike Brown's much-maligned bench outscored the starters 24-21 over the first 20 minutes, as Troy Murphy and Steve Blake hit 3-pointers 23 seconds apart to cap an 11-0 run that turned a one-point deficit into a 45-35 lead 5:56 left in the second quarter.

Notes: The Suns had 17 turnovers, which the Lakers converted into 21 points. The strangest one came early in the first quarter when Nash had the ball at the top of the key, tried to whip a pass to Jared Dudley in the left corner for a possible 3-point shot, and the ball ricocheted off teammate Grant Hill's head and out of bounds as Hill darted down the lane. ... The Suns are 8-10 when Nash has double-digits in assists, and 3-7 when he doesn't. They are 0-3 in the games he's missed. ... The Suns are 0-16 when trailing after three quarters. ... Fisher, who was sent home from Thursday's practice because of a sinus infection, extended his consecutive-game playing streak to 525 - the longest among active players. It was his 403rd straight start, and he finished with 12 points in 25 minutes after missing his first three shots. ... The teams meet again Tuesday night at Phoenix, when the Suns begin a three-game homestand leading up to the All-Star break.


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





View More Photos


Points Bryant 36, 14-25 FG
Rebounds Bynum 14,1 OFF 13 DEF
Assists Blake/Bryant 6
Steals Bryant 4
Blocks 4 with 1


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on team’s offensive play tonight:

“For us, 26 assists on 44 baskets is playing the right way. Moving the ball, moving bodies, trying to get good looks for one another and we had a lot of guys come up with a lot of assists and that’s fun to watch.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on what team did differently in second half on defensive side of the ball:

“With the pace of the game, I thought in the second half we did a better job of defending. At halftime, I think they were shooting almost 52 percent from the field and they finished at 45.6 percent, so we had to do something defensively to get them to drop seven or eight percentage points by the end of the game.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on team’s offensive performance tonight:

“I truly believe our guys are getting it a little bit. They’re starting to get to spots and even when we’re kind of in a random offense, our guys understand spacing and the concepts that we’ve been trying to get to them since the beginning of the year. They’re trying to do a nice job of attacking in spots and trying to get into our sets. The reality of it is whether we run a play or not is they’re doing a nice job of moving the ball and moving bodies. The comfort level of starting to understand what we’re trying to accomplish offensively aids their comfort level in their ability to shoot the basketball.”




Kobe Bryant

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on the bench’s performance:

“Our bench played very well. They came in and executed. The biggest thing for us, we’re a different team when we’re knocking down the three ball. We’re a much better shooting team then what’s showing but hopefully we’ll turn around. We’re knocking down three point shots.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on team’s overall performance:

“I think we’re doing good for this stretch that we’ve been on here in the first half. It’s been difficult. W e haven’t had many practices, we’ve juggled with the lineup, and played two rookies sometimes in the fourth quarter on the road and they have got to learn on the fly so it’s been tough. I think I’m fairly pleased with where we are at this point.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on team’s offense:

“If we’re knocking down three point shots, we’re a completely different team. Our offense picks up, team’s can’t pack it in on me, they can’t come in on catch, they can’t sink in on Andrew [Bynum] and they can’t sink in on Pau [Gasol]. We’re knocking down that three point shot and it changes things drastically.”




Matt Barnes:

Lakers’ Matt Barnes on Steve Blake’s return:

“I’m happy to see Steve come back. He’s just an all around point guard and he does a good job of getting everybody involved, and throwing the ball ahead and helping our team get easy buckets.”

Lakers’ Matt Barnes on what Troy Murphy adds to the team:

“It’s great. We needed another stretch shooter. You know, Bynum plays with our second unit, the whole space inside the free throw line basically is his. So I just think it helps for spacing and he’s another guy that’s a great pick up pop shooter.”v Lakers’ Matt Barnes on the team’s record so far:

“With all the new things that have been thrown at us, it’s taken us a little longer than we thought to get going. I definitely think we’re heading in the right direction.”




Andrew Bynum:

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on the team’s performance tonight:

“Obviously Kobe went off, he had 38 points, and the rest of us were just kind of filling in the gaps.”





Alvin Gentry:

Suns coach Alvin Gentry on Kobe Bryant scoring 36 points:

“It’s the same thing that happened here last time. I had to take Grant (Hill) out of the game and he (Kobe) seems to explode every time I do that. I think he had 16 (points) when we took him out then he had 32 (points) when he got back in. Somebody else is going to have to step up to slow him down at least.”

Suns coach Alvin Gentry on the Suns’ turnovers:

“Our problem started in the first half. You can’t have 15 turnovers. At the end of the day, they’re 30th in the league in forcing turnovers so we brought our problems on ourselves. They were unforced turnovers really. We threw the ball away, and we just didn’t protect the ball.”

Suns coach Alvin Gentry on Shannon Brown:

“He (Shannon) did a great job. I’m really proud of him because the one thing he has been is professional about this. I told you guys earlier, it’s not easy when you’re sitting over there not playing. He feels like he can help our team. [...] It was a good opportunity. I was going to try to get him in the game somewhere here, because I just think he deserved to be in the game here.”

Suns coach Alvin Gentry on the play of the Suns’ big men:

“I was proud of our inside guys because in the first half we gave up one offensive rebound. […] I thought Marcin played great. I thought he did a really good job. I thought Markieff did a really good job trying to battle. This is all new to him. He’s used to being the biggest guy out there, but when he lines up beside Pau he looks like his little brother. I was real proud of him because I thought he fought, and I thought he did everything he possibly could.”




Channing Frye:

Suns’ Channing Frye on what was the difference in tonight’s game:

“You know what, we had a lot of turnovers tonight and they took advantage of them. We had some opportunities there when the second group came in and really gave us a great boost there at the end. But I think overall, we just have to be more assertive with the ball. We definitely have to play better in the next few days.”

Suns’ Channing Frye on what the team needs to change in their play:

“For us, we just got to keep it closer you know. If you look we were shooting pretty well there and I think we got away from it. Especially on the road we got to do a better job of keeping it closer and giving ourselves a chance.”




Steve Nash:

Suns’ Steve Nash on team’s missed chances tonight:

“They did a good job tonight but I also just didn’t capitalize on opportunities. I had some careless turnovers. We just dug ourselves into a hole.”

Suns’ Steve Nash on Frye’s play tonight:

“Channing was great. He made a huge mark. We wouldn’t have probably fought back if it weren’t for his plays, so it was big.”




Marcin Gortat:

Suns’ Marcin Gortat on what team needs to do differently in future games:

“We got to play harder, execute offensively, take care of the ball and take responsibility --- each one of us. So hopefully next game we’re going to be better and more focused.”

Suns’ Marcin Gortat on if he was pleased with how the team did defensively inside:

“We did a pretty decent job inside. It was more of our transition defense, but the biggest problem was obviously the turnovers.”






Suns-Lakers Preview

By MATT BECKER


Posted Feb 16 2012 1:14PM

Since the calendar flipped to February, Kobe Bryant has had a difficult time finding his stroke.

He had no such trouble knocking down shots against the Phoenix Suns last month.

In the opener of a home-and-home series Friday night, Bryant again tries to bounce back from a dismal performance when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Suns, whom he torched for nearly 50 points five weeks ago.

Bryant is averaging a league-best 28.7 points, but nothing has come easy lately for the two-time scoring champ. He finished with a season-low 10 points on 5-of-18 shooting against Atlanta on Tuesday, but the Lakers (17-12) held on for an 86-78 victory as they improved to 12-2 at home.

The 14-time All-Star has shot below 40.0 percent in six of seven games this month after failing to reach that mark in four of his first 22 contests. Brutal starts have been the biggest reason for his struggles.

Bryant went 1 for 10 before halftime Wednesday and has shot 21.7 percent (5 of 23) in the first half of the last three games.

Although he's been misfiring lately, Bryant had a season-best 48 points and went 18 for 31 in a 99-83 victory over the Suns on Jan. 10. He has routinely frustrated Phoenix, averaging 31.0 points in the last 23 meetings including the 2010 Western Conference finals. Los Angeles has won 17 of those games.

While the Lakers and Suns were known for their high-scoring ways over the past few seasons, neither has been as prolific in 2011-12.

Los Angeles is putting more of an emphasis on defense under new coach Mike Brown, allowing an average of 90.4 points - 5.0 fewer than last season. The Lakers held the Hawks to 34.4 percent shooting and improved to 13-1 when limiting opponents to 91 or fewer points.

"On the defense end of the floor I thought that our guys were very active," Brown said. "On the days when we don't shoot well, that's what's going to help us win ball games, especially come playoff time in a seven-game series."

The Lakers completely frustrated Grant Hill in the first meeting, limiting him to five points and 1-of-12 shooting. He posted his lowest field-goal percentage when attempting at least seven shots in his 17-year career.

Controlling the boards has also been a big key for the Lakers, who are averaging 45.3 rebounds per game.

Pau Gasol had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Atlanta, while Andrew Bynum had 15 points and 15 boards as Los Angeles finished with 52 rebounds.

The Lakers dominated the glass in the first meeting of the season with the Suns, outrebounding them 49-35 with five players grabbing at least seven boards.

Phoenix (12-18) fell 101-99 to Atlanta on Wednesday, completing a stretch of three games in as many nights with three losses. Steve Nash (22 points, 16 assists) and Hill (18 points) returned and played well after getting the night off Tuesday in a 109-92 loss to Denver, but the Suns had no answer for Josh Smith.

Phoenix, which led by as many as 15 in the third quarter, allowed Smith to score 20 of his 30 points after halftime.

"It's one of those deals where we played good basketball for 35-38 minutes but it's a 48-minute game," coach Alvin Gentry said.

The Suns, losers of nine of 10 at Staples Center against the Lakers, host Los Angeles on Sunday.


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 #33 Hill  
  #16 Gasol PF #8 Frye  
  #17 Bynum C #4 Gortat  
  #24 Bryant SG #3 Dudley  
  #2 Fisher PG #13 Nash  



Lakers Steve Blake
(costochaondral fracture) is probable.

None


Game 1: 1/10 - PHX @ LAL W 99-83
Game 2: 2/17 - PHX @ LAL
Game 3: 2/19 - LAL @ PHX
Game 4: 4/7 - LAL @ PHX


GAME NOTES

SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers currently lead their season series with the Suns 1-0, after winning last season’s series with Phoenix 3-1 for the fourth consecutive season. This will be the 219th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 129-89. The Lakers are 18-7 against the Suns all-time at STAPLES Center during the regular season and 7-3 in their last 10 regular season home games against Phoenix. On the road, the Lakers have gone 6-4 in their last 10 regular season visits to Phoenix but are 6-2 in their last eight regular season games at US Airways Center. Most recently, the Lakers defeated the Suns 99-83 behind an NBA season-high 48 points from Kobe Bryant (his highest scoring output in any game in which he did not make a three-point field goal). Last season, the Lakers defeated the Suns in triple overtime at STAPLES Center back on March 22, 2011. The three-overtime contest was just the second ever in Los Angeles (1-1), fourth since the team moved West prior to the 1960-61 season (2-2) and tied for the second longest game in franchise history behind a quadruple overtime loss in January of 1980 at Cleveland. In 54 career games against the Suns including 47 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 26.4 points. In February of 2009, Bryant shared MVP honors with then Sun Shaquille O’Neal at the 2009 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. Bryant and Suns guard Steve Nash were both selected in the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant going 13th overall to Charlotte and Nash two picks later to Phoenix. Derek Fisher was also in that draft, taken by the Lakers with the 24th overall pick. Also, Lakers forward Luke Walton and Suns center Channing Frye were teammates at the University of Arizona for two seasons (2001-02, 2002-03). Suns guard Shannon Brown joined the Lakers midway through the 2008-09 season and was a member of the 2009 and 2010 Lakers championship teams. Over 182 games, Brown averaged 7.9 points (.346 3FG) and 2.0 rebounds in 18.7 minutes while competing in the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend.


GUARDS WITH 6,000 CAREER REBOUNDS
Entering the Lakers February 17th contest against the Suns with 5,996 career rebounds, Kobe Bryant is four rebounds shy from becoming the ninth guard in NBA history to accumulate 6,000 rebounds (includes players listed as G, G/F or F/G). Jason Kidd, the only guard in league history to amass 8,000 rebounds, tops the list, with Oscar Robertson (G), Scottie Pippen (F/G) and Chet Walker (F/G) the only other guards to post at least 7,000+ rebounds. Magic Johnson (6,559) leads all Lakers guards in career rebounds while Michael Jordan is another notable guard on the list with 6,672 career rebounds.


BRYANT PASSES SHAQUILLE O’NEAL FOR 5th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With a 23-foot jumper at the 5:08 mark in the second quarter 2/6 at Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant moved past Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) for fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Moses Malone (27,409) 3/8/11 at Atlanta, Elvin Hayes (27,313) 2/27/11 at Oklahoma City, Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28/11 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7/11 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4/11 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (28,601) are Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419), Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292), Karl Malone (2nd/36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st/38,387). Among the top six scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform.

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. In 2009-10, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).


BYNUM RECORDS SECOND CAREER 20-20 GAME
On February 6th at Philadelphia, Andrew Bynum totaled 20 points (8-13 FG) and 20 rebounds, marking his second career 20-point, 20-rebound game (3rd career 20+ rebound game). Bynum’s other 20-20 game came earlier this season on January 3rd, when Bynum totaled 21 points (8-15 FG) and 22 rebounds as the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets 108-99 at STAPLES Center, becoming the youngest Laker to do so (24 years, 68 days) since Rudy LaRuso tallied 30 points and 21 rebounds on February 26, 1961 at the age of 23 years, 107 days. Bynum’s only other 20+ rebound game came on 4/5/11 vs. Utah, when he grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds. The last Laker to record a 20-20 game prior to Bynum was Pau Gasol, who posted 30 points and 20 rebounds on February 16, 2011 at Cleveland.


DOMINATING THE GLASS, BUT LOSING THE GAME
In the Lakers 95-90 loss at Philadelphia on February 6, the Lakers out-rebounded the 76ers 55-30, marking the first time the Lakers lost despite out-rebounding their opponent by 25-plus rebounds since they out-rebounded New Jersey 55-28 in a 109-103 loss to the Nets at STAPLES Center on 1/28/05. The last time any team lost when out-rebounding their opponent by 25-plus rebounds occurred on 3/11/09 at Detroit, when the Pistons out-rebounded New York 64-39, but fell to the Knicks 116-111.







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