Lakers Go To Phoenix, Beat Suns To Open Road Schedule

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Lakers 114, Suns 106: Game Recap

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol ended with 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-106 win over the Phoenix Suns in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals.

Kobe Bryant had 25 points and seven rebounds, while Lamar Odom was a presence near the hoop with 17 boards and 18 points for the Lakers, who beat the Suns in six games in last year's West finals before going on to take the NBA title.

Los Angeles won again Friday after shooting 12-of-27 from three-point range, with Matt Barnes and Ron Artest each making three.

Grant Hill finished with 21 points to pace the Suns in their home opener.

The game featured 18 lead changes, and 12 of them occurred in a close first quarter. Gasol's layup with 2.3 seconds left gave LA a 28-27 edge heading to the second, which was similarly close. A Gasol jumper andDerek Fisher  three in the final 1:06 gave the Lakers a 57-50 edge at the break.

Armed with that small advantage, Los Angeles didn't let Phoenix back in front in the final two quarters, though the Suns got close multiple times.

After a Jason Richardson layup had Phoenix within two less than two minutes into the third quarter, Artest and Bryant drilled back-to-back threes to immediately provide breathing room.

Then, midway through the quarter, Richardson's bank shot capped an eight-point burst to make it a 70-70 game. Several minutes later, Hedo Turkoglu's layup created a 76-76 tie.

But the Lakers responded with the next nine points -- Gasol had the first four, Bryant made two free throws, and Steve Blake got a three to fall for an 85-76 lead with 1:22 left.

Los Angeles took an 87-79 advantage into the fourth and had more answers down the stretch.

After a Turkoglu three got the Suns within 99-94 with 5:23 to play, the Lakers followed with six points to go up by double digits. Los Angeles led by at least two possessions the rest of the way.

Lakers head coach Phil Jackson got his 1,100th career victory...Los Angeles has won eight of the last 10 regular season matchups...Phoenix made just 9- of-24 from beyond the arc.

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Lakers Spoil Suns' Home Opener, 114-106

The Los Angeles Lakers won their initial road game of the season, spoiling the season opener in Phoenix by beating the Suns 114-106, at US Airways Center. The Lakers were able to get open shots at will against the Suns' defense, and particularly did damage from the outside. Los Angeles, who hit seven of their final nine three-point attempts in their season opening win Wednesday, made 12-of-27 three pointers tonight. Matt Barnes hit three of those three-pointers in 18 minutes off the bench.

The Suns had won eight straight regular season home games before tonight, a streak that started after a Laker win in Phoenix last March 12. The Lakers also defeated the Suns in Game 6 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals to close out the series.

Pau Gasol poured in 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Lakers, and Lamar Odom had 18 points and 17 rebounds, but perhaps even more importantly the two big men set the tone on offense by dishing out 14 of the 21 total team assists. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 25 points.

Center Robin Lopez had 18 points and 14 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, for the Suns. Grant Hill led Phoenix with 21 points.

The Lakers host Golden State on Sunday night at Staples Center

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Pregame Notes And Probable Lineups

The Los Angeles Lakers return to the site of half of last year's Western Conference Finals as they travel to Phoenix to face the Suns at US Airways Center. The Lakers have won their last five road openers, and 12 of their last 14 first road games of the season. Here are tonight's probable lineups:

Lakers

Point Guard: Derek Fisher

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward: Ron Artest

Power Forward: Lamar Odom

Center: Pau Gasol

Suns

Point Guard: Steve Nash

Shooting Guard: Jason Richardson

Small Forward: Grant Hill

Power Forward: Hedo Turkoglu

Center: Robin Lopez

Phil Jackson is one victory shy of 1,100 in his career, and will be the fastest of the five to hit that milestone:

Fastest NBA Coaches To 1,100 Wins
Coach Wins-Losses     Win%
Phil Jackson              1,099-460 .705
Pat Riley
1,100-539 .671
Jerry Sloan 1,100-723 .603
Don Nelson 1,100-831 .570
Lenny Wilkens 1,100-896 .551

Notes

  • The Lakers won the regular season series with Phoenix last year, 3-1, and have won the last three season series by the same 3-1 margin
  • The Suns are 31-11 in their 42 previous season openers
  • The Suns have won eight straight regular season games at home, with the last loss coming at the hands of the Lakers, last March 12

Tonight's game, a 7:30 p.m. PDT tipoff, will be televised by both KCAL and ESPN.

For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Travel To Phoenix To Battle Suns

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns have a tough task ahead of them tonight, when they play their home opener tonight versus the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center.

The Lakers needed six games to top the Suns in last year's Western Conference finals en route to their 16th NBA crown.

The Suns split the first two games of the 2010-11 season at Portland and Utah, and recorded a 110-94 triumph over the Jazz on Thursday. Suns newcomer Hakim Warrick led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Steve Nash also scored 18 points, as the Suns rebounded from a 106-92 season-opening loss to the Trail Blazers.

Jason Richardson added 16 points, Goran Dragic posted 11 points and six assists off the bench and Grant Hill grabbed 12 boards to go with nine points in a winning effort. Dragic shook off a sprained knee to contribute.

"It was undoubtedly an important game for us," Nash said of logging the first win of the season. "We played pretty well in Portland and just fell apart at the end. Tonight I thought we learned a little bit of a lesson from Portland, we held our composure for longer stretches, and in particular, at the end of the game."

Phoenix will also host San Antonio and Memphis on this homestand. It went 32-9 in the desert a year ago.

The Lakers will play their second game of the season, first on the road, tonight in the Valley of the Sun and opened the new campaign with Tuesday's 112-110 victory versus Houston at Staples Center.

Steve Blake's three-pointer with less than 20 seconds to go in the game proved to be the difference and the scrappy guard impressed his new teammates after spending last season with the Clippers and Blazers.

"A great way to start the season," said Blake, who finished with 10 points as a reserve. "In the third quarter we started playing defense. Shannon (Brown) made big shots. I think the bench did their job tonight."

Pau Gasol had 29 points and 11 rebounds, while superstar Kobe Bryant registered 27 points, seven assists and five rebounds for LA. After tonight's game at Phoenix, the Lakers will return home to face Golden State and Memphis.

In injury news for the Lakers, center Theo Ratliff is questionable for Friday's game with a sore knee and forward Luke Walton is expected to miss the game due to a strained right hamstring.

Los Angeles won three of four meetings with the Pacific Division-rival Suns last season and is 9-3 in the previous 12 encounters.

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