Stoudemire scored 33 points, including the go-ahead three-point
play with 51.8 seconds remaining, to power the Phoenix Suns to a
107-102 victory over the Lakers.
Playing center in the Suns' small lineup, Stoudemire topped 30
points for the third game in a row, becoming the first Phoenix
frontcourt player to do so since Charles Barkley in 1995-96.
"It's a milestone for me in my early career," Stoudemire said.
"The best is yet to come."
Stoudemire scored 34 points on his 22nd birthday at Dallas on
Tuesday night and 38 at New Orleans on Thursday night.
"Amare was just dominating again," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni
said. "It's getting to the point where he's going to spoil me. He
really took us out of a funk in the second quarter. It seemed like
he scored every time he touched the ball."
After shooting 0-for-10 in the first half, Bryant scored 26 of
his 29 points in the second and finished with a triple-double. But
he missed two 3-pointers late while the Suns went on a 9-3 run over
the final minute.
"They're a run-and-gun style of team," Bryant said. "They can
shoot themselves out of a game and they shoot themselves back into
Steve Nash had 18 points and 16 assists, including the pass to
Stoudemire for the three-point play that put Phoenix up 101-99.
Shawn Marion had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Joe Johnson
scored 17, 15 in the second half, for the Suns, who won their third
straight to improve to 7-2. The Lakers are 5-5.
"We have some catching up to do and we're looking forward to
doing it," Bryant said. "We're growing. We competed hard, but
this is a game we should have won."
Bryant had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, but was 10-for-33 from
the field. Caron Butler scored 21 points, and Lamar Odom had 18
points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles.
Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich's thoughts were a mystery.
"I've got no comment about the game," he said. "I'd be
wasting my time."
What was Tomjanovich so upset about?
"I could take a wild guess and say it was the officiating,"
Bryant said. "Just a shot in the dark."
The Lakers, 14-for-25 on 3-pointers, rallied from 10 points down
in the fourth quarter to go up 97-96 on Brian Cook's 3-pointer with
1:37 left. Los Angeles led for the final time, 99-98, after
Butler's two free throws with 1:02 to go.
Casey Jacosben made one of two free throws after Bryant missed a
3-pointer to put Phoenix up 102-99 with 37 seconds left. Bryant
missed another long one, and Marion was fouled on a breakaway stuff
for a three-point play and it was 105-99 with 21 seconds to go.
Chucky Atkins, who scored 14, sank the Lakers' sixth 3-pointer
of the quarter to cut it to 105-102, but Nash sealed the victory
with two free throws with 5.8 seconds to go.
The Suns, who trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half,
were down just 47-46 at the break.
The Lakers scored the first four points of the second quarter to
go up 32-15 on Cook's layoff after a pass from Bryant with 10:11 to
go in the half.
But Stoudemire scored 11 points in a 26-8 outburst that put the
Suns ahead for the first time at 40-39 on Nash's fast-break basket
with 2:37 to play in the half.
"I'm not much of a trash talker," Stoudemire said. "But I had
a lot of fun tonight."
Jacobsen's missed free throw was his first of the season.
He is 15-for-16 overall. ... Going into the game, the contest
featured the top two scorers in the NBA this season, Bryant -- 27.7
points per game -- and Stoudemire -- 27.6. ... The Phoenix Mercury's
Diana Taurasi was presented with the WNBA rookie of the year award
during a timeout in the second quarter. ... The Suns missed their
first five 3-pointers and were 7-for-28 overall.