for this game

Early lead sparks Lakers' rout of Suns

Feb 27, 2009 - 7:30 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers didn't wait long to assert their authority against the shorthanded Phoenix Suns.

Kobe Bryant had 22 points and eight assists as the Lakers earned their sixth straight win with a 132-106 victory over the Suns on Thursday.

Bryant scored 13 points and hit all six of his shots from the field in the first quarter as Los Angeles closed the session on a 22-6 run, forging an insurmountable 13-point lead after the opening 12 minutes.

"Tonight's game felt like a trap game because we are at home and Steve (Nash) was not playing," Bryant said. "It is kind of one of those things where we could kind of take the night off so to speak. I wanted to make sure from the jump that we didn't."

Lamar Odom had 23 points and nine rebounds and Pau Gasol added 16 and nine for Los Angeles, which shot 57 percent (54-of-94) from the field and had all 12 players score at least three points.

"We played defense, were able to get on the break and create plays for one another," Odom said. "We've been feeling confident throughout the season. We feel like we can play better, so we are always striving to be perfect, as good as we can."

Leandro Barbosa had 18 points, seven assists and six boards while former Laker Shaquille O'Neal finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, but the Suns struggled without the injured Nash and leading-scorer Amare Stoudemire.

"We can't try to run by taking the ball out of the basket all the time, we have to come up with some stops. We didn't come up with any stops," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Nash missed the game with a right ankle injury sustained during the third quarter of Tuesday's triumph over the Charlotte Bobcats and is listed as day-to-day.

The contest was the third without Stoudemire, who will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair a partially detached retina in his right eye on Friday.

Without Nash and Stoudemire, Phoenix lacked the depth to keep up with the Western Conference-leading Lakers (48-10), who owned a 70-55 halftime advantage.

"They have great depth," Gentry said. "They make it really tough on you."

"This was a good test for us and we failed the test tremendously," O'Neal said. "This is a good team and you have to do everything right against a team like that. Tonight, we had way too many turnovers."

Many of Los Angeles' starters sat out a majority of the second, but returned in the third to seal the victory.

Bryant scored nine points in the period, including a 3-pointer that pushed the Lakers' advantage to 97-75 with 2:20 remaining.

Odom followed with five straight points as the bulge grew to 25 and Bryant left the game for good with 57 seconds left in the third.

"(Odom) was really terrific tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "(He did) a lot of things off the break, a lot of things around the hoop. A really good night for him shooting wise."

Los Angeles' reserves continued to pour it on in the fourth, stretching the lead to as many as 28 points against the Suns' backups.

"They had a chance to stretch their legs a little bit and play outside their roles," Jackson said of the Lakers' reserves. "A lot of times in games that are nip and tuck we have them under wraps and try to keep them playing within the context of what the framework of the game demands. Tonight they were able to do some things that were a little more expansive."

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