Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Thursday, November 12th
Game 2: Sunday, December 6th
Game 3: Monday, December 28th
Game 4: Friday, March 12th

Lakers 103

(24-6, 8-3 away)

Suns 118

(20-12, 12-2 home)

    Coverage: FSAZHD

    9:00 PM ET, December 28, 2009

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 23 27 27 26103
    PHX 25 31 33 29118

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 34 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast

    PHX: S. Nash 16 Pts, 3 Reb, 13 Ast

    Lakers-Suns Preview


    Kobe Bryant has had plenty of high-scoring games lately. The Los Angeles Lakers haven't needed one from him to easily handle the Phoenix Suns this season.

    Bryant and the Lakers look to win for the third time in as many meetings with their only threat in the Pacific Division as they visit Phoenix on Monday.

    Bryant is averaging 38.0 points in his last three games at US Airways Center and had 49 in the Lakers' last visit, a 118-111 loss March 1. He didn't score more than 30 in either meeting with the Suns this season but Los Angeles rolled to home victories in both, winning by a combined 39 points.

    Among the league leaders with 29.8 points per game, Bryant is averaging 35.9 over the last seven as the Lakers have gone 6-1.

    He scored 38 in Saturday's 112-103 double-overtime victory at Sacramento. After straining his right elbow late in the third quarter and missing all four of his shots in the fourth, Bryant hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second overtime as the Western Conference-leading Lakers (24-5) won for the 17th time in 19 games.

    "My arm went numb and it spazzed up," Bryant said. "My moment came for me to step up (in the second overtime)."

    Bryant is expected to play Monday against the Suns (19-12), the only other Pacific team with a winning record.

    Phoenix is looking to rebound from its third loss in four games, falling 132-127 at Golden State on Saturday after committing 21 turnovers.

    "You give up 132 points, you're not guarding anybody," coach Alvin Gentry said after his team fell to 5-9 in December. "We had guys that played well ... but the bottom line is that they played harder than we did. We won't beat anybody in the Pac-10 if we turn it over for 35 points."

    Phoenix's last four opponents are averaging 112.8 points and shooting 49.1 percent from field.

    Los Angeles shot a season-high 57.6 percent in a 121-102 victory over the Suns on Nov. 12. Phoenix shot a season-worst 36.5 percent in that matchup and was held to its lowest point total of the season in the most recent meeting, a 108-88 loss on Dec. 6.

    That matchup saw Ron Artest have one of his best games of the season with 15 points, five assists and five steals while guarding Amare Stoudemire.

    Artest, though, could miss his second straight game Monday after falling down a set of stairs, suffering a concussion and injuring his left elbow at his home Christmas night.

    Stoudemire probably wouldn't mind if Artest waited another game to return. The Suns forward, who leads the team with 20.1 points per game, will try to get back on track after fouling out with nine points and seven rebounds Saturday.

    Steve Nash, who leads the NBA with 11.2 assists per game, scored a season-high 36 points with nine assists versus the Warriors. Since the start of last season, the Suns are 3-7 when the two-time MVP scores more than 25.

    Phoenix's only win over Los Angeles in the last seven meetings came when Nash sat out with an ankle injury.

    Pau Gasol posted his ninth double-double in 10 games Saturday with 24 points and 10 points. He had 30 points and seven boards in the Lakers' last visit to Phoenix.