NBA Analysis: Kobe Leads Lakers Against Suns

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The Lakers went into Phoenix for the second time this season, and came out with their second victory, a hard fought 99-95 win at US Airways Arena on Wednesday.

Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter, as the Lakers turned a one-point halftime deficit into a seven-point lead after three quarters.   He also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists, hitting 9-17 from the field.

The Suns, who have been struggling defensively as of late, erased a 12-point first half deficit to take a 50-49 lead at the break.  The Lakers grabbed the lead quickly in the third quarter, and never trailed in the second half, leading by as much as eight several times.

But the Suns would not fold, and got to within one point at 92-91, on a three-pointer by Vince Carter with just over two minutes left.  Derek Fisher then hit a jumper, followed by a three-pointer by Ron Artest from the corner with just under 90 seconds left, as the Lakers hung on down the stretch for the win.

The win pushed the Lakers road record to 13-6, as they won their second straight game on the second night of a back-to-back.

Andrew Bynum had 14 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, despite playing in foul trouble all night.   Shannon Brown had 13 points off the bench, and Lamar Odom had 12 points and a team-high 10 assists, as he continues his stellar all-around play this season.

For the second straight night, the Lakers controlled their recent turnover struggles, committing just 12, which didn’t allow the high-scoring Suns to get into a running game for easy baskets.  The world champs also outrebounded the Suns 47-31, including 14 at the offensive end.  The extra possessions helped the Lakers offset the Suns’ advantage from the field, 48.6% to 47.1% and their 11 three-pointers.

The Suns were led by Jared Dudley’s 21 points off the bench, as he hit 8-11 from the floor, including 3-4 from beyond the arc.  Dudley was one of six Suns’ players in double figures.  Vince Carter had 13 points, Marcin Gortat had 12 points and nine rebounds, and Steve Nash had 11 points to go along with 10 assists.

The Lakers return home for a Friday night game against the New Orleans Hornets. The Lakers beat the Hornets 103-88 back on December 29th.  Friday’s game will be the first of three straight at Staples Center, as the Knicks come to town on Sunday, and then the LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

Link: Lakers @ Suns Box Score

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