Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Suns 113

(40-36, 13-25 away)

Lakers 115

(46-31, 28-10 home)

Coverage: FSW

6:30 PM ET, April 6, 2003

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 OT T
PHX 30 23 28 25 7113
LAL 32 24 27 23 9115

Top Performers

Phoenix: S. Marbury 40 Pts, 8 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl

Los Angeles: S. O'Neal 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 6 Blk

Kobe hits game-tying and winning shots in OT victory

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With the clock winding down, the Los Angeles Lakers knew just where to go.

Kobe Bryant
Shooting Guard
Los Angeles Lakers
76 29.9 6.9 5.9 .451 .837

To Kobe Bryant.

Bryant made the game-tying shot with 14.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the game-winner with 28.6 seconds left in overtime Sunday night as the Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 115-113 to clinch a playoff berth.

''That's what I do, that's my job, man,'' Bryant said. ''Everything seems to stand still. I love that moment.''

The game-tying shot was a 13-footer from the right baseline, and the game-winner was a 21-footer from the right wing.

''That was vintage Kobe,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said.

Bryant's shot from the top of the key as time expired gave the Lakers a 102-101 victory at Memphis on Friday night.

Bryant had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers (46-31), who have won four in a row and seven of eight to move a season-high 15 games over .500.

The three-time defending NBA champions are in sixth place in the West, but just 1 games behind Portland and Minnesota with five games to play.

The Lakers began the season by losing 19 of their first 30 games. They've gone 35-12 since.

''There's nothing like wins that generate more wins,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ''They fall behind each other. That's what we're trying to do.''

Shaquille O'Neal had 22 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots, Derek Fisher scored 20 points and Devean George added 15 for the Lakers.

O'Neal's final block was an attempt by rookie Amare Stoudemire with about 10 seconds remaining. The ball found its way to Shawn Marion, who tried a 3-pointer with about six seconds left that could have put the Suns ahead.

But it missed, Bryant got the rebound and dribbled out the clock.

''I know his moves,'' O'Neal said of Stoudemire. ''I knew what he was going to do. I was just there.''

Stephon Marbury had 40 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Suns (40-36), who remained in eighth place in the West but just a half-game ahead of Houston and two up on Seattle.

''When you're going against the champs, it takes more than that,'' Marbury said.

Marion had 18 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals, and Stoudemire added 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Suns lost despite getting 22 offensive rebounds and winning the battle of the backboards 53-43.

In addition, the Lakers committed 20 turnovers -- seven by Bryant and six by O'Neal -- to 15 for the Suns.

The difference was the Lakers shot 52.9 percent to 43.9 percent for Phoenix and shot 7-for-20 from 3-point range while the Suns were 1-for-8 from beyond the arc.

''We were next-and-neck all the way down to the end,'' Marion said. ''But a shot here, a rebound there, and it got away from us. We deserved to win this game.''

The Lakers led by as many as four in overtime before the Suns tied it at 113 on a basket by Stoudemire with 1:33 remaining and two free throws by Marbury with 42.6 seconds left.

That set the stage for Bryant.

Marbury had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including a basket with 2 minutes remaining that gave the Suns a 104-99 lead.

But George made a 3-pointer with 1:36 left and added two free throws 18 seconds later to tie it 104-all.

Joe Johnson made a short jumper with 21.8 seconds to play to give Phoenix the lead. But Bryant tied it. Johnson then missed from about 18 feet and George got the rebound as time expired, sending the game into overtime.

A twisting jumper by Bryant capped a 14-2 run to finish the third quarter and start the fourth, putting the Lakers on top 89-83.

But a basket by Penny Hardaway and six consecutive points by Marbury gave the Suns a 91-89 lead with 7:14 remaining.

Neither team led by more than five after that.

A jumper by Marbury midway through the third quarter capped a 19-7 run to begin the second half, giving the Suns a 72-63 lead -- largest for either team.

Game notes

The Lakers have won 24 of the last 31 between the teams and eight in a row in Los Angeles. ... Lakers assistant Tex Winter is among 21 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame. This September's inductees will be announced Monday in New Orleans. ''I don't hold my breath on it, I've been nominated six times,'' said the 81-year-old Winter, who began his coaching career in 1947. ''I consider it an honor to have been nominated six times.'' ... Former Lakers star James Worthy is also among the nominees. ... O'Neal was honored before the game for becoming the 28th player in NBA history to score 20,000 points. He reached the milestone March 20 in a 107-99 defeat against Sacramento. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak presented him the game ball, which was defaced when presented to him in Sacramento. The Kings determined a fan wrote an obscenity on the ball and removed it.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 113 115
FGM-FGA 47-107 (.439) 45-85 (.529)
3PM-3PA 1-8 (.125) 7-20 (.350)
FTM-FTA 18-25 (.720) 18-26 (.692)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 22-53 10-43
Assists 25 29
Turnovers 16 20
Steals 15 10
Blocks 4 10
Fast Break Points 5 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 23 (2/0)

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Stephon Marbury Marbury
Points: 40
Reb: 8
Ast: 8
Stl: 3
Blk: 0
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 22
Reb: 13
Ast: 7
Stl: 1
Blk: 6