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Kobe nets 37, but Nash leads Suns to victory in MVP Showcase

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns played a little 5-on-1 Friday
night and came away with another win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Shawn Marion had 22 points and 16 rebounds to go with Steve
Nash's 17 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, and the Suns beat
the Lakers for the sixth straight time, 106-93.

Kobe Bryant, coming off a 51-point game in an overtime loss at
Sacramento on Thursday night, scored 20 of his 37 in the fourth
quarter, but the Lakers could get no closer than 10 during that
span.

"Our game plan was to try to contain everyone else and hope
that Kobe's whatever he wound up with wasn't going to be enough to
beat all 12 of us," the Suns' Raja Bell said.

Five Suns scored in double figures. Eddie House had 19 points
off the bench, 12 in the second quarter when Phoenix took the lead
for good.

"We went out there and played some great team defense and had
guys scoring all around the table," Marion said.

Bell scored 16 and defended Bryant most of the night. Kurt
Thomas added 12 points and Boris Diaw scored all of his nine in the
fourth quarter.

"They played Phoenix Suns style of basketball," Bryant said.
"They get up and down, quick shots and when it starts falling for
them, they jump out to a big lead."

Bryant made 12 of 33 shots.

"We really hounded Kobe as much as we could," Phoenix coach
Mike D'Antoni said, "and he still got 37 points. That's how good
he is."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he thought Bryant was a little
tired.

"I didn't think he had good legs," Jackson said. "He told me
in the fourth quarter he was going to get hot. He felt like he was
getting in his rhythm, and he hit a few in the fourth quarter. But
he was really bothered by Bell. He did a great job."

Bryant, though, scoffed at the idea that Bell's defense was all
that tough.

"Oh come on, you've got to be kidding me man," he said. "I
had good looks, I missed them. It's as simple as that."

Bryant missed eight of nine after the first quarter before
getting it going after drawing a technical foul with 2:29 left in
the third.

"He was settling for some shots I thought," Bell said. "As a
defender, you hope he does that. But he got it going in the fourth
quarter. A guy like that is just going to keep forcing the issue
until he finds it, and you've just got to hold on."

The six-game Phoenix winning streak against Los Angeles is the
Suns' longest in the history of the series, which began in 1968.

Lamar Odom had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Smush Parker scored
12 in the Lakers' third loss in nine games. Phoenix is 11-3 since
Christmas.

The Suns, up 49-43 at the break, outscored Los Angeles 9-2 to
start the second half, going up 58-45 on Nash's 19-footer. Parker's
3-pointer cut it to 64-54 with 5:36 to play in the third quarter.
But the Suns responded with a 13-3 surge. Bell made two 3-pointers
in the run, the last one giving Phoenix a 77-57 lead with 2:14
remaining in the third.

Bryant scored eight, including a pair of 3s in a 10-0 surge that
cut the lead in half with 11:15 to play. But Bryant missed a
20-footer, the Suns went on a 9-2 run and House's 3-pointer put
Phoenix ahead 86-69 8:54 from the finish.

With Bryant on the bench, Parker scored seven in a 9-0 Lakers'
spurt that put Los Angeles up 33-23 with 8:30 left in the second
quarter. But House scored the first 12 in a 22-4 outburst that put
Phoenix ahead 47-39 on Nash's 3-pointer with 1:20 to go until the
half.

Bryant was 5-of-14 from the field in the first half, 1-of-4 in
the second quarter. Odom had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first
two quarters.

Game notes
Marion has more double-doubles this season (30) than the
entire Lakers team (26). ... The Lakers also have lost six in a row
to San Antonio. ... Bryant has led the Lakers in scoring in all but
six games this season, and he was suspended for two of those. ...
With huge leads in fan voting, Bryant and Nash have virtually
clinched the starting guard spots for the West in the All-Star
game. ... Phoenix won its sixth straight at home.