Phoenix Suns Beaten By the Los Angeles Lakers as Kobe Bryant Has An Epic Night

Conversely, when the team fails to make the century mark, it results in a loss, much like last night's 99-83 defeat by the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

Despite getting a rousing start (including leading 19-10 after a trio of buckets by Channing Frye) and staying competitive with the Lakers for three quarters, Planet Orange blew it in the latter half of the fourth quarter.

After their slow start, Kobe Bryant (who scored 48 points despite still suffering lingering leg problems) and his crew fought back with a vengeance to end the first quarter 25-19. The Suns did some fighting back of their own, hustling their way through the second stanza to trim the Lakers' lead to only four at halftime.

While Frye led Phoenix in scoring with 17 points (and former Lakers player Shannon Brown contributed nine points against his former team, the Suns star of the night was Marcin Gortat with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He helped keep things in the close in the third and fourth quarters, allowing Planet Orange to hang tough and grab a couple of small leads.

But it ultimately was a big night for the "Black Mamba," however. Bryant helped the L.A. go on a 16-1 run in the final minutes to secure the win, including thumping an epic-looking reverse dunk which got the Staples Center crowd screaming. The Lakers were also snuffing out the Suns' pick and roll, nullifying Steve Nash, and grabbing more boards down the stretch. Meanwhile the Suns couldn't land a basket in the last six minutes.

Overall, Phoenix shot 42.5 percent and gave up 18 second chance points to L.A. while Kobe was on fire the entire evening.

"We did a good job of defending Kobe, he just makes tough shots," head coach Alvin Gentry said after the game.

Phoenix returns home to US Airways Center on Thursday night to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For tickets and more info, visit www.suns.com.

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