Friday , Apr , 13 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Suns try to collect 60th win against slumping Lakers

(Sports Network) – The Pacific Division-champion Phoenix Suns meet what could
be their opponent in the first round of the playoffs this evening, as they
welcome the struggling Los Angeles Lakers to US Airways Center.

Phoenix is the second seed in the Western Conference standings, while the
Lakers are No. 7. The Suns eliminated the Lakers in seven games in the opening
round of the 2006 playoffs.

The Suns are 2-1 against the Lakers this season. The Lakers have lost five
straight after winning their last three at Phoenix.

A victory tonight would give the Suns their second 60-win season in the last
three campaigns. Phoenix, which won 54 games in 2005-06, was 62-20 during the
2004-05 season.

Phoenix enters tonight’s contest on a three-game winning streak. Shawn Marion
scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Suns defeated the Seattle
SuperSonics, 109-91, on Wednesday at US Airways Center.

Leandro Barbosa scored 20 points off the bench and Amare Stoudemire posted 18
points and 11 boards for the Suns, who have won six of their last seven games
overall. Raja Bell added 14 points, while reigning MVP Steve Nash finished
with 11 points and nine assists for Phoenix.

The Suns are an impressive 32-7 at home this season. After tonight’s game,
they will hit the road for a pair of games against Utah and Houston. Phoenix
will wrap up its season on April 18th at home versus the Clippers.

The Lakers have dropped three in a row. On Thursday, Corey Maggette scored a
career-high 39 points and Elton Brand netted 32 as the Clippers rallied from
17 down to beat the cross-town rival Lakers, 118-110, despite Kobe Bryant’s 50
points at the Staples Center.

Bryant shot 17-of-33 from the field and 15-of-15 from the charity stripe. He
grabbed nine rebounds, but was held scoreless in the final 8:46 of the
contest. Smush Parker finished with 19 points and eight assists, while Maurice
Evans added 11 points for the Lakers, who have lost seven of their last nine
games overall.

The Lakers are 16-23 as the visitor this season. They will host the
SuperSonics on Sunday before concluding their regular season on April 18th
against Sacramento at ARCO Arena.