for this game

Suns scorch undermanned Lakers

Jan 18, 2008 - 8:01 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The undermanned Los Angeles Lakers simply did not have enough firepower to hang with the NBA's highest-scoring team.

Shawn Marion had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Steve Nash added 13 and 20 assists as the Phoenix Suns posted a 106-98 victory over the Lakers on Thursday night.

Boris Diaw scored 19 points and Amare Stoudemire contributed 16 for the Suns, who despite averaging a league-best 110 points per game had lost two of their previous three contests and six of nine on the road.

"We moved the ball well and we made some shots," Nash said. "We try to move the ball, and I think with all the shooters, if you move the ball well, more often than not, we are going to have a nice night."

Los Angeles, which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, struggled in its second game without center Andrew Bynum, who suffered a left knee injury early in the third quarter of Sunday's victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers managed to post an overtime victory against the Seattle SuperSonics in their first contest without him.

Bynum had been enjoying a career year in his third season, averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the surging Lakers climb to the top of the division.

"It's always a challenge when you lose a guy. We lost Grant (Hill) and our rhythm kind of fell apart for a few games," Suns guard Raja Bell said. "It's always challenging for guys to find what their new role is when you lose a guy who is an integral part of what you do."

Against Phoenix, however, Los Angeles just could not keep pace.

The Suns were clicking from the field all night, shooting 51.9 percent (42-of-81) as six players reached double figures.

"We are a team that is going to score a lot," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We have to keep scoring, we just can't think we are going to slug it out with anybody, we just have to keep running and scoring and passing the ball, and I think overall we did a pretty good job."

Phoenix, which never trailed, got hot after struggling offensively in two of its previous three games in which it set season lows for points.

Despite mounting a brief comeback in the fourth sparked by eight quick points from Sasha Vujacic, a burst which got them within eight, the Lakers could not get over the hump.

"We outscored the Suns by 10 points (in the fourth), but the couple critical plays that would have put the game in perspective - where we could have had a one- or two-possession game - didn't happen for us," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Kobe Bryant, who was coming off a season-best 48-point performance, led the way with 30 and Lamar Odom added 19 for the Lakers, who had won 11 of their previous 12 games.

Los Angeles shot 31 percent (15-of-47) in the first half and trailed by 17 points at intermission. The Suns extended the lead to 66-46 early in the third as the Lakers turned over the ball eight times in the quarter.

"We got beat early in the game and it was tough to get back in it," Odom said. "That's what happens when you are playing against a great offensive team and get down by 15-20 points."

Bell added 16 points off the bench while Leandro Barbosa finished with 22 and five assists for Phoenix, which avoided losing to Los Angeles for a third straight time this season.

"They beat us the first two times out, but we got this one tonight," Marion said. "It's one win, but we still got a long way to go. This won't mean anything if we don't go out and win (on Friday)."

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    Suns vs. LakersJan 18 1:18 AM

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