Lakers vs. Suns final score: Dwight Howard lifts L.A. to 91-85 win

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers' big man picked up the slack where the usual suspects, namely Kobe Bryant, were deficient offensively.

The Los Angeles Lakers overcame a third-quarter lapse to come on strong late and defeat the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

For more on the Suns, visit Bright Side of the Sun | For more on the Lakers, visit Silver Screen & Roll

Dwight Howard led the way for the Lakers, scoring 19 points and adding 18 rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting from the field.

Phoenix (17-36) used stout defense and even better offense to overcome a double-digit deficit in the third quarter and take the lead before falling behind for good in the fourth.

The Lakers (25-28) mitigated the same issues that have plagued them all season long to hang on for the win. Turnovers, 19 of them, cost them 23 fast-break points. Phoenix didn't fare any better in the ball security department, with 19 giveaways of their own.

Kobe Bryant played the role of distributor and dished out nine assists and scored just four points on a dismal 1-for-8 from the field. He didn't score his first field goal until the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter.

Luis Scola led the way for Phoenix with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jermaine O'Neal also notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

For the first time this season, Howard was without the new-look headband he's been sporting. His strong performance may cause him to shed it for good.

Los Angeles missed 14 straight shots in the third quarter amid an 18-2 Suns run that catapulted Phoenix to a five-point lead at the end of the quarter, while L.A. was just 3-for-20 from the field.

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