Stoudemire, Dudley help Suns rout Lakers
“And they returned the favor,” he said.
Boy did they.
The Suns reserves outscored their counterparts 52-31 to help Phoenix rout the reigning NBA champions 118-103 on Monday night.
Bryant had 34 points but sat out the final 7:50 when the game was deemed out of reach by coach Phil Jackson.
“I wasn’t comfortable with my starters or my bench,” Jackson said. “I didn’t like either group. Guys didn’t play right. We had the inside game going for us, yet we just didn’t attack.”
“I thought we played with so much energy and did a great job defensively,” said Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry, who had severely criticized his team for its play in a 132-127 loss Saturday night at Golden State.
“It’s a big adjustment because we’re a team that thrives on chemistry,” Bryant said. “You take him out of the lineup, now you’re mixing lineups.”
The margin matched Cleveland’s 15-point victory over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Friday. Only a late spurt kept it from being the Lakers’ most one-sided loss of the season.
Los Angeles hadn’t given up this many points in a regular-season game since the Suns did it in Phoenix last March 1.
“They played much better than we did, in a nutshell,” Bryant said. “That’s all it was. They executed very well in transition, we didn’t get back and it gave them a lot of easy opportunities, and that broke the game open.”
Los Angeles’ lone win in the last three was a 112-103, double-overtime victory at Sacramento on Saturday night.
The Suns had lost three of four.
“Big win for us definitely,” Stoudemire said. “Coming off a couple of tough losses, tonight was a big momentum change and a good confidence builder for us.”
The Lakers, playing the third of four games in five days, trailed virtually all night. Leading 56-50 at the half, Phoenix used a 17-4 outburst to go up 87-68 on the first of Dudley’s three 3-pointers without a miss. Nash and Jason Richardson(notes) also had 3s in the run.
NOTES: Jackson said he is hopeful Artest will rejoin the team against Golden State Tuesday in Los Angeles. … The Suns lost to the Lakers in Los Angeles by 19 and 21 points. Phoenix was in the second of back-to-back games in both contests. … Phoenix has a victory over the teams with the three best records in the league—the Lakers, Boston and Orlando. … The Suns are home against Boston on Wednesday night.