Sunday , Apr , 08 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Nash, Suns scorch Lakers

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Steve Nash scored 25 points and dished out
11 assists as the Phoenix Suns held off the Los Angeles Lakers, 115-107.

Leandro Barbosa scored 23 points off the bench and Raja Bell went a perfect 6-
for-6 from three-point range and finished with 22 points for the Suns, who
moved 2 1/2 games in front of idle San Antonio for the second seed in the
Western Conference.

Kobe Bryant poured in 34 points and had seven assists, while Smush Parker
scored 25 points for the Lakers, who moved a half game behind Denver for the
sixth spot in the West. Los Angeles squares off the with the Nuggets on
Monday.

The Lakers trailed by just a point to start the fourth quarter, but the Suns
gradually pulled away and kept LA at arm’s length down the stretch.

Barbosa opened up the quarter with back-to-back layups and Phoenix quickly
went up 78-73. A Parker bank shot brought the Lakers within 82-79, but Nash
drained a trey to put Phoenix up by six with less than eight minutes to play.

A Bryant jumper brought LA within four, 87-83, but that was as close as the
Lakers would get. The Suns ripped off seven straight points, featuring a Bell
three-pointer, to push their lead to 94-83 with 4:14 remaining.

Three Bryant free throws made it a nine-point game with just over three
minutes left, but Bell came back with another trey and Shawn Marion followed
with a layup to make it 101-87. Phoenix then put on a free throw shooting
clinic the rest of the way, going a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe
to ice the game.

Phoenix held a slim 27-26 advantage after the opening 12 minutes and took a
54-48 lead into the locker room thanks in part to an 11-0 second quarter run.

A late 9-2 Lakers’ run in the third quarter brought LA within 72-71 on
Bryant’s layup with just over a minute to play and the Suns took a 74-73 lead
into the final quarter.

Game Notes

Amare Stoudemire had 19 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix, while Marion
finished with 12 points…Ronny Turiaf scored 19 points and grabbed 15
rebounds for the Lakers.

LAL PHO