Richardson doesn't return after spraining ankle in 1st

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- On a night when Los Angeles Lakers fans relived the good old championship years, the Phoenix Suns reminded them just how far gone those days are for the current Lakers.

Joe Johnson scored 26 points and Phoenix hit a franchise-record 19 3-pointers in a 108-97 victory Monday night.

"When we come out and shoot the ball well from outside, we are almost guaranteed a win," Amare Stoudemire said. "Guys like Jim Jackson and Joe are incredible from behind the arc."

Johnson made six 3s, Jackson hit seven to finish with 25 points and Shawn Marion had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who won their league-best 31st road game. Steve Nash added 15 points and 16 assists.

"They know exactly where they want to be in these situations," Lakers guard Chucky Atkins said. "With us, we don't know who's going to have the ball or what play to make. That's the way we've been playing all year."

As a result, the Lakers will miss the playoffs for just the second time since 1976.

The Suns lead idle San Antonio by a full game in their bid to land the Western Conference's top seed.

"I told the guys that we didn't play that well, but we still won, set a record for 3s and we played great defense for five minutes at the end, so there's a lot of positives," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Phoenix set the NBA single-season record with 742 3-pointers. The old mark of 735 was by Dallas in 1995-96. Last Monday, the Suns hit a then-franchise-record 17 3-pointers against the Lakers.

"They just 3-pointed us to death," Lakers coach Frank Hamblen said.

Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who lost for the 15th time in 17 games on a night the franchise honored its 1984-85 NBA title team that included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.

Those two -- along with Michael Cooper, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, James Worthy, Bryon Scott and others -- were in a room signing memorabilia before the game. Bryant said he was too intimidated to go in and talk to them.

"I idolize all of them," he said. "Teams like that come along once every so often. I don't know how in the world Jerry West and Jerry Buss pulled that off. That's ridiculous to get all those players on that team."

The Suns completed their first season sweep of Los Angeles since 1992-93, when they had their best regular-season mark of 62-20.

Phoenix's Quentin Richardson sprained his left ankle in the first quarter and didn't return.

"He said it feels pretty good, but I don't know if that means tomorrow or if that means next week," D'Antoni said about Richardson's availability.

Luke Walton came off the bench in the fourth and scored six points early, helping the Lakers to an 89-83 lead with 8:23 remaining. But the Suns dominated from there.

Nash and Jackson combined for three consecutive 3-pointers and Phoenix closed the game on a 25-8 run. Bryant turned the ball over with 3½ minutes left, leading to Stoudemire's fast-break dunk.

"They do such a good job running," Bryant said. "They get their bigs out and they run the floor extremely well, so you find yourself protecting the basket and then they have shooters run to the 3-point line."

Phoenix opened the third period with a 12-2 run for a 64-56 lead. But the Lakers answered with 11 straight points, including five by Jumaine Jones for a 67-64 lead.

After that, the Suns used a 13-8 spurt to take a 77-75 lead into the final 12 minutes. Marion scored six points during the stretch and Jackson added the team's 13th 3-pointer.

"In the spurts that we do play great in, nobody can stop us," Marion said. "In the last five minutes of the game, we stopped them from doing what they wanted and we took them out of their game."

The Suns hit nine 3-pointers in the first half when they trailed 54-52 at the break. The Lakers blew most of an 11-point lead in the second quarter as the Suns went into halftime on a 17-7 run.

Game notes
West, who assembled the Lakers' "Showtime" teams of
the 1980s, was greeted at his courtside seat with chants of "Jer-ry! Jer-ry!" He oversees the Memphis Grizzlies now. ... Current Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, a player on the 1985 championship team, was booed when introduced at halftime. He oversaw the
offseason trade of Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat. ... Former Laker Girl Paula Abdul, now a judge on Fox's "American Idol," looked sheepish when one of her '80s hits blared over the arena sound system. ... Longtime Lakers fans Jack Nicholson and Dyan Cannon were on hand. Several of the '85 players stopped and kissed Cannon on their way to the court.


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