Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/4

Game 1: Saturday, January 4th
Game 2: Sunday, January 5th
Game 3: Wednesday, January 29th
Game 4: Sunday, April 6th

Lakers 99

(20-23, 6-15 away)

Suns 90

(26-21, 18-4 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 29, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 24 26 22 2799
    PHX 17 22 24 2790

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 40 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    PHX: S. Marbury 33 Pts, 4 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

    Suns' 11-game home winning streak ends

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers had four days off to clear away the hangover of two ugly losses at home. The rest did wonders.

     Kobe Bryant

    Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers held off a Phoenix rally and snapped the Suns' 11-game home winning streak 99-90 on Wednesday night.

    "My knees feel great," Bryant said. "I feel as close to 100 percent as I've ever felt. I can't speak on behalf of the other guys, but if the days off worked for them as well as they did for me, we're going to be in great shape."

    Shaquille O'Neal added 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as the Lakers, coming off home losses to Golden State and New Jersey, beat a Pacific Division foe away from the Staples Center for the first time this season. Robert Horry matched his season-high with 16 points in Los Angeles' sixth road victory in 21 tries.

    "We didn't rely on our jumper all night," O'Neal said. "We got the ball inside and took it to the hole, and No. 8 (Bryant) had a fabulous game."

    Stephon Marbury had 33 points and 10 assists and fellow All-Star Shawn Marion had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix.

    After handing the Suns just their fourth loss in 22 home games, the Lakers head for Sacramento to face the Kings Friday night.

    The Suns have dropped five of six overall and lost at home to a Pacific Division opponent for the first time this season. Phoenix is 18-4 overall at America West Arena.

    "We're just in a real nasty funk right now," Marbury said. "This is a no-mercy league, and right now teams are just attacking us right away."

    In what has become a pattern, the Suns, just back from a 1-4 trip to the East, trailed by as many as 17 in the first half and 16 in the third quarter.

    "We're struggling," Phoenix coach Frank Johnson said, "our defense, our offense, making shots, just having any type of continuity. Not being ready, I certainly have to take the blame for that, because this is going on far too often, just not having energy early."

    Phoenix mounted a comeback after O'Neal was called for four fouls in the third quarter. He went to the bench with 3:02 to play in the period and Los Angeles leading 70-57.

    Marbury scored six points in a 10-2 run and cut the Lakers' lead to 72-67 on his two free throws with 10:34 to play. But O'Neal returned and his dunk boosted the lead back to 74-67 with 9:27 remaining. His tip-in on Bryant's miss put the Lakers up 76-67 with 8:15 to go.

    Marbury's second consecutive 3-pointer cut the lead to 84-79 with 4:22 to play. But Bryant followed with a 21-footer, O'Neal scored inside and Phoenix never got closer than eight again.

    "Marbury got going and was unstoppable for a period of time," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Fortunately, Kobe had a couple of good answers back."

    Bryant sealed the victory with a one-handed slam -- punctuated by a glare to the Phoenix bench -- that made it 92-82 with 1:16 to play. He took the ball to the basket even though O'Neal was open for a pass.

    "I wanted to take that one down hard,'' Bryant said. ``I told the big fella I owe him one."

    Bryant scored nine in the first quarter, including a spectacular reverse dunk on a baseline drive, as the Lakers built a 24-14 lead. Robert Horry's three-point play put Los Angeles up 40-24 with 6:30 left in the half. Bryant's reverse layup put Phoenix up 43-26 with 5:24 to go until halftime. The Lakers led 50-39 at the break.

    Los Angeles stretched it to 61-45 on O'Neal's reverse layup with 8:15 left in the third quarter. Rookie Amare Stoudemire's first five points of the game capped an 8-0 Suns' run that cut the lead to 61-53 with 5:59 to go in the third. But the Lakers held Phoenix without a field goal in a 9-4 spurt that pushed the lead to 70-57 on O'Neal's free throw with 3:02 to go in the quarter.

    Game notes
    Stoudemire missed his first six shots and finished 1-for-12 from the field. ... The only other ``road'' game the Lakers have won against a Pacific Division foe was against the Clippers, and both of those teams play in the Staples Center. ... The Suns' other three home losses were by one point, two points and in overtime.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 90
    FGM-FGA 38-80 (.475) 34-83 (.410)
    3PM-3PA 1-11 (.091) 4-12 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 22-30 (.733) 18-26 (.692)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-42 17-47
    Assists 20 17
    Turnovers 10 10
    Steals 4 6
    Blocks 9 4
    Fast Break Points 2 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 26 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 40
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 33
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0