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List of Articles by Nicholai R. Roska



NBA -- Suns whack Lakers, 92-86

By Nicholai R. Roska
PhilBoxing.com
01 Feb 2013



LOS ANGELES -- With their margin for error getting smaller and smaller with each passing game, the Los Angeles Lakers' slim playoffs hopes suffered another serious blow Wednesday night when they bowed to the lowly 16-30 Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center.

Guided by Kobe Bryant's 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds, the Lakers appeared well on their way to a fourth straight victory when an Antawn Jamison bucket off a Pau Gasol assist handed the Lakers a 78-65 advantage with only an even 10 minutes to play.

But the Suns countered with a 27-8 run the rest of the way to score the improbable triumph.

"Tonight was a big setback for us. We were in control of the game and couldn't close it out," NBA.com quoted Lakers point guard Steve Nash, who finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists in his first return to Phoenix after leaving for Los Angeles in the offseason.

At 20-26, the Lakers are four games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and last playoffs spot in the Western Conference. To have a decent shot of the postseason, the Lakers must win at least 48 regular season games, which means they have to go 28-8 in their 36 remaining games.

Another headache for the purple-and-gold is the status of center Dwight Howard, who missed the final 6:57 of the contest after aggravating a right shoulder injury (torn labrum). The 6-foot-11 Howard finished with nine points and 14 rebounds.

Metta World Peace and Gasol combined for 29 points but the Lakers shot just 42.3 percent from the field (33-of-78).

Mchael Beasly paced the Suns with 26 points, seven rebounds and five steals. His lay-in with 43.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter pushed the Suns ahead for good, 88-86.

Marcin Gortat, Howard's backup at center during their Orlando days, also starred for the Suns with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Luis Scola added 12 while Jared Dudley and Goran Dragic finished with 11 apiece. (NRR)

Photo: Dwight Howard (right) missed the final 6:57 of the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. The mammoth Lakers center aggravated his right shoulder injury and finished with nine points and 14 rebounds.


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