In the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Phoenix Suns, 139-137 at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 42 points and nine assists, and added 12 rebounds in the win. The Lakers are now 13-1 since the All-Star break, and have won five straight.
Tonight was the third triple overtime game this season in the NBA, joining a pair of games in New Jersey. The Nets and Thunder dueled for 63 minutes on December 1, and the Nets and Raptors did the same on March 5. It was the first four-overtime home game for the Lakers since February 1969.
The Lakers led 89-68 with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter, and looked headed for an easy win. However, the Suns staged a furious rally, outcoring the Lakers 33-12 over the next 11:33 to tie the game at 101. Each team traded misses at the end of regulation (Vince Carter missed a three) and overtime (Lamar Odom missed a turnaround jumper), and then Bryant hounded Grant Hill, who didn't even get off a shot at the end of the second extra period.
In the span of less than a minute in the third overtime, Ron Artest made two inexplicable plays that turned the tide. The Lakers were up one when Artest stole the ball with 1:56 remaining, then drove the length of the court and finished with a left-handed slam dunk that brought the house down. Then with 1:08 remaining, Artest made a jumper from just beyond the free-throw line after jumping off his wrong foot.
The game was so long, perhaps it's best to capture some highlights in note form:
- Pau Gasol had 29 points, 16 boards, and five assists, while Lamar Odom had 24 points and 13 rebounds. The duo combined for 107 minutes tonight and they have played 193 total minutes in the two games of Andrew Bynum's suspension.
- Despite the game lasting three overtimes, the Lakers had just six turnovers on the night. It was tied for their third fewest turnovers this season.
- Steve Nash had 19 points and 20 assists for Phoenix. It was the first 20-assist game in the regular season against the Lakers since Nash dished out 20 on January 17, 2008
- Channing Frye scored a career-high 32 points for Phoenix and had 14 rebounds. Frye and Vince Carter each attempted 13 three-pointers tonight, two more than any other Laker opponent this season.
- The Suns made 17 of 41 three-point attempts tonight. It was the most attempts this season and the second-most three-point makes this season for Phoenix, who made 22 of 40 shots from distance on November 14.
- Each team had three players with double figures in points and rebounds. Marcin Gortat (24 points, 16 rebounds) and Grant Hill (11 points, 10 boards) turned the trick for Phoenix.
The Lakers are off until Friday, when they host the Clippers at Staples Center.
For more news on the Lakers or tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.