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Beasley, Suns edge Lakers
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Michael Beasley scored a season-high 27 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 43.8 seconds remaining to lift the Phoenix Suns to a 92-86 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday at US Airways Center.
Beasley added six rebounds and five steals, while Martin Gortat recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who had lost two straight.
"Michael Beasley was incredible tonight," said Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter, who improved to 3-2 since taking over for Alvin Gentry. "He's been really working hard to get to this point and I really see promise in his future and just continue to encourage him."
Kobe Bryant fell one assist shy of his fourth straight game with double-digit assists and finished with a team-high 17 points, but missed a potential game- tying layup late in regulation as the Lakers surrendered a 13-point fourth- quarter lead and saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
Steve Nash, who had spent eight seasons with the Suns before leaving for Los Angeles in the offseason, made his return to Phoenix and received a standing ovation. He finished with 11 points in the setback.
Los Angeles, which nearly blew an 18-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 111-106 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday, shot just 19 percent (4-for-21) in the final frame and allowed the Suns to shoot a scorching 68.8 percent (11-for-16) in the fourth to watch their double-digit lead evaporate.
"We just didn't score," Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni admitted of the fourth quarter. "We only had 13 points in the quarter. I thought we had some open shots and we didn't knock them down. Again, just like New Orleans, when you've got somebody down you just need to step on their throat and we didn't do it."
The Lakers led 73-63 heading into the fourth, and after Beasley opened the final stanza with a jumper, Antawn Jamison netted five straight points to push the margin to 13.
Phoenix made its run from there, ripping off eight straight points to pull within 78-73 with 7:45 remaining.
After the teams exchanged empty possessions, Dwight Howard grabbed an offensive rebound and tried to go back up for a putback, but was fouled hard on his right arm by Shannon Brown.
Howard, who missed three games earlier this month with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, immediately grabbed for the injured shoulder and had to be removed for the rest of the contest.
Bryant then buried a jumper to quell the Los Angeles drought, but the Suns responded with a 13-2 surge to grab an 86-82 edge on Luis Scola's jumper with just under two minutes remaining.
Bryant countered with four straight to knot the game before Beasley answered at the other end, as he lost control of the ball on the right wing, but somehow recovered and scooped in a layup with his right hand to give the Suns the lead for good.
Bryant then found his way to the rim at the other end, but his layup was off the mark and the Suns knocked down four straight free throws to hang on for the victory.
An evenly played first half found the teams locked at 41-41 at halftime, but the Lakers shot 65 percent from the field in the third, including a 4-for-5 mark from beyond the arc to build their double-digit edge heading into the fourth.
The Lakers have lost eight straight on the road and are now 5-16 as the visitor ... Beasley's previous season-high was 25 ... Los Angeles committed 20 turnovers, leading to 19 Phoenix points ... Nash was selected 15th overall by the Suns in the 1996 Draft and spent two seasons there before being traded to Dallas, where he spent the next six seasons ... Bryant now was 48 assists over his last four games, his highest total over a four-game span in his career.
01/31 02:35:34 ET
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