Kobe's Near Triple Double Helps Lakers Eclipse Suns

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers earned a 102-96 victory over the Phoenix Suns, at the U.S. Airways Center.

Andrew Bynum had 18 points and nine boards for the Lakers, who have won two in a row after losing a season-high three straight. Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher each scored 15 points in the victory as Los Angeles took the season series with its Pacific Division rival, 3-1.

"We just took what they gave us," Bryant said. "Shot distribution was pretty good. I think all in all we attacked wherever they put two guys. Wherever they doubled we did a good job spacing out, making shots, shot the three-ball pretty well. That opened the game up for us."

Amare Stoudemire had 29 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Suns, who have dropped two of three. Jason Richardson added 16 points, while Steve Nash had 14 points and eight assists in the loss.

The Lakers led by nine with just over two minutes to play, but the Suns got a three from Jason Richardson before Bryant missed a jumper. Nash then threaded a bounce pass to Stoudemire for a dunk, bringing Phoenix within 100-96 with 1:26 to play.

The Suns had a chance to make it a one-possession game after Lamar Odom missed, but Nash was off the mark on a three-pointer. Phoenix had another chance after Louis Amundson blocked Odom, but Nash sent a pass just out of reach of its intended receiver, and Bryant sealed the win with free throws.

Stoudemire scored 17 points in the first quarter to help the Suns to a 31-24 lead. However, he went only 1-of-6 in the second as the Suns made 5-of-23 field goals in the period.

The Lakers seized the opportunity and ended the half on a 10-0 run to go up 53-46 at the break.

"I think the second quarter was what got us," Stoudemire said. "The Lakers took advantage of it. Once you get down against those guys, it's tough to get back."

Los Angeles expanded its lead to a game-high 15 twice in the third quarter, but the Suns ended the frame on an 11-2 run to trim their deficit to 77-73 moving to the fourth.

A pair of Amundson buckets had Phoenix ahead 82-81 just under three minutes into the final quarter, but the Lakers followed with the next five points. They continued to play in front, and went up 100-91 on an Artest jumper with 2:17 remaining.

The Lakers shot 13-of-22 at the foul line, while the Suns were 22- of-27...Amundson finished with 11 points and 10 boards...LA shot 49.4 percent from the field.

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