Wasn't Kobe Bryant supposed to be slowing down? He scored 48 points Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 99-83 win. It was L.A.'s third win a row, and it snapped Phoenix's two-game win streak.
Bryant was held to a combined 33 points during a two-game stretch on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, but he's since rallied with 30 or more in four of his last five games. (And that lone outlier? A 26-point effort on Sunday.) What's even more impressive is how Bryant is scoring: he shot an efficient 18-of-31 from the field on Tuesday, plus 12-of-13 from the stripe. You're not being a ballhog when you're shooting 58 percent.
Instead of slowing down as the game wore on, Bryant scored the Lakers' final 10 points -- the highlight being a reverse alley-oop dunk that accounted for his 41st and 42nd points.
Not only couldn't the Suns stop Bryant, they had no answer on the other end. Phoenix's three leading scorers -- Channing Frye led the way with 17 points, Marcin Gortat added 16 and Steve Nash 13 -- combined to score 46 points, two shy of Bryant's tally.
Pau Gasol added 16 points with 12 rebounds, while Andrew Bynum scored 12 with eight boards and two blocks. The Lakers improved to 7-4 on the season, while the Suns fell below .500 to 4-5.