Lakers beat Suns in 3OT thrillerMar 23, 2011 - 6:47 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers already had the Pacific Division wrapped up, but they played like they were fighting for their postseason lives in Tuesday's 139-137 triple-overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Kobe Bryant, hobbled by a bum ankle and sore shoulder, played 48 minutes and finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in a playoff-like atmosphere at Staples Center.
The Lakers have won five in a row and 13 of 14 and hindered their division rivals' playoff chances, as Phoenix fell three games behind of Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot with its fifth loss in seven games.
"We haven't played many overtimes this season," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. "This one was a tough one. I'm proud of our guys. [The Suns] put us in a tough position, and we came through."
Channing Frye had a career-high 32 points to go with 14 rebounds, while Steve Nash totaled 19 points and 20 assists in the crushing defeat.
"I thought we hung in there. We had opportunities," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. "We did a great job of getting back into it, but we couldn't get over the hump."
The Suns, who had seven players score in double figures, didn't lose without a fight, climbing back from nine down with three minutes left in regulation.
They used a trio of three-pointers down the stretch to tie things, with Grant Hill's trey from the corner making it, 112-112, with 31.8 seconds remaining.
Bryant had a chance to put in the go-ahead points, but his contested runner in the lane fell short. Nash tried taking his defender off the dribble at the other end before dishing off to Vince Carter, whose straightaway three -- with Gasol's hand in his face -- didn't touch the rim as the buzzer sounded.
In the first overtime, Phoenix again trailed in the closing seconds after Derek Fisher's two free throws gave LA a 121-118 lead with 8.3 ticks left.
Frye was long on his three-point try, but Nash secured the rebound and dished back to Frye, who was fouled by Lamar Odom outside the arc. It was ruled that Frye was in a shooting motion, and he made all three attempts with 1.1 seconds on the clock.
Odom's redemption went for naught, as his 19-foot fadeaway fell off to the left, sending the game to another five minutes.
The Lakers scored seven of nine points in one stretch of the second OT, going up, 128-125, on Bryant's free throw with 1:47 showing.
Nash got a runner to fall, then was hounded by two defenders near midcourt the next time down. He somehow found Marcin Gortat with a behind-the-back pass as he was falling out of bounds, and Gortat kicked it out to Frye for the go- ahead three with 52.1 ticks remaining.
Bryant pulled off his own highlight-reel pass with time winding down, hitting Gasol through traffic in the lane with a jump pass from under the basket. Gasol was fouled and drained both freebies for yet another tie game, 130-130.
The Suns failed to get a shot off in the final 2.5 seconds, as Bryant harassed Hill at the top of the key.
Bryant fittingly drained the go-ahead three 2:51 into the final extra session. Ron Artest came up with a big steal and slam on the ensuing possession, then hit a fadeaway for a 137-132 cushion with 1:08 to play.
Frye kept things close with his fifth three-pointer, but after Bryant missed a fall-away, Carter was off the mark from long range. Bryant raced down the court and hit a game-sealing runner with 14.2 seconds to go, essentially ending a memorable victory for the two-time reigning champions.
"I'm ready to go home and eat some pancakes," joked Odom.
Frye and Carter each scored 10 points in the first quarter, which ended with Phoenix holding a 31-27 lead.
Bryant put in a jumper with just over five minutes left in the second for a 52-50 lead, then scored the final six points of the frame for a 66-60 edge.
The Lakers appeared to pull away in the third, ripping off 20 of the first 27 points to go up, 86-67, on Bryant's three-pointer near the midway point.
Phoenix responded with a 19-4 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. Frye's make from long range brought the visitors within 95-86 heading to the final frame, and Aaron Brooks' three made it 97-96 with 9:18 to play.
The Suns tied it a little later before the Lakers scored nine straight points for a 110-101 lead on Odom's bucket with 3:44 left.
The Lakers won the season series, 3-1...It was Bryant's 107th career 40-plus point game...Odom ended with 29 points and 16 rebounds, while Gasol went for 24 and 13. The frontcourt duo combined to play over 107 minutes...Lakers center Andrew Bynum served the final game of a two-game suspension following a flagrant 2 foul against Minnesota forward Michael Beasley on March 18...Artest tallied 18 points, seven coming after regulation...Gortat totaled 24 points and 16 boards for the Suns, whose double digits scorers included: Carter (17), Brooks (15) Hill (11) and Mickael Pietrus (11).
- PHOENIX: 137
LOS ANGELES: 139
Final - 3OT
Mar 23 1:56 AM
- PHOENIX: 130
LOS ANGELES: 130
End of 2OT
Mar 23 1:36 AM
- PHOENIX: 121
LOS ANGELES: 121
End of OT
Mar 23 1:20 AM
- PHOENIX: 112
LOS ANGELES: 112
End of Regulation
Mar 23 1:01 AM
- PHOENIX: 86
LOS ANGELES: 95
End of 3rd
Mar 23 12:26 AM
- PHOENIX: 60
LOS ANGELES: 66
Mar 22 11:41 PM
- PHOENIX: 31
LOS ANGELES: 27
End of 1st
Mar 22 11:08 PM
- PHOENIX: 0
LOS ANGELES: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 22 10:46 PM
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