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Suns 99, Lakers 76

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Luis Scola had all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter and nine during a 16-4 run during the first seven minutes as the Suns beat a Lakers team missing Kobe Bryant 99-76 on Monday night.

Scola outscored the Lakers 14-10 in the fourth quarter. Wesley Johnson finished with 14 points and Jared Dudley had 13 as the Suns snapped a four-game losing streak and beat the Lakers at home for the fourth straight time.

Phoenix had six players, including four reserves, score in double figures.

Steve Nash had 19 points and Dwight Howard added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles.

The Lakers scored the fewest points by a Suns opponent all season, and a team that had won eight of its past 10 games and beaten Utah and Sacramento without Bryant took a step backward.

The Suns expanded a three-point halftime lead with an 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter. Johnson hit a 3-pointer before Goran Dragic (12 points, 10 assists) took over, firing a pass between the legs of Nash for a Dudley layup before finding Markeiff Morris for a dunk and a 69-58 lead with 3:19 to go. But LA's Antawn Jamison followed a Blake 3-pointer with his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer, to cut Phoenix's lead to 71-66 after three quarters.

Scola took over during the decisive run and put the game away at 92-75 with a long 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down after both Dudley and Dragic saved the possession with diving plays.

Without Bryant and Pau Gasol, who remains out with a right foot injury, the Lakers got 21 of their 25 first-quarter points from Howard and Nash while the rest of the team missed nine of 11 shots from the field.

A Nash 22-footer and a putback dunk by Howard gave the Lakers a 23-16 lead. But the Suns cut the lead to 25-21 at the end of the quarter and started the second on a 22-10 run. Phoenix hit five of their first eight 3-point shots, and back-to-back bombs by Kendall Marshall 22 seconds apart gave Phoenix a 43-35 lead.

Th Lakers then held the Suns to four points for the rest of the half and sliced their deficit to 47-44 at the break.

NOTES: Bryant has four days to rest before the Lakers host the Washington Wizards at Staples Center. That is their only game until they play the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on next Monday. ... Phoenix's Michael Beasley came into the game averaging 19.7 points in three games against the Lakers, his highest average against any opponent he has faced more than once this year. Take away those three games and his 10.3-point season average sinks a point to 9.3. ... After starting the Morris twins the previous six games, Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter replaced Marcus Morris with P.J. Tucker on Monday.
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