Kobe Bryant scored an NBA season-high 48 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers over the Phoenix Suns 99-83 Tuesday night at Staples Center, the seventh consecutive home win for the Lakers. It was the first 40-point game for Bryant since last March 22, which was also against Phoenix at Staples Center but in triple overtime.
The game was a back-and-forth contest in the first half with each team making several big runs. In the third quarter and at the start of the fourth quarter the two teams remained close until the Lakers closed out the game on a 16-1 run, punctuated by a pair of dunks by Bryant that got the crowd on their feet.
Bryant has scored 40 or more points in 108 regular season games in his career. He scored 17 of his 48 in the first quarter on Tuesday, including 13 points in a four-minute stretch that saw the Lakers end the period on a 15-0 run. Bryant made 18 of 31 shots from the field and 12 of 13 free throws. He has scored 180 points in his last five games, an average of 36.0 points per contest.
Pau Gasol added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, his third consecutive double-double.
Marcin Gortat added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns in defeat. He and Steve Nash ran the pick-and-roll roughly 725 times during the game. Nash scored 13 points and had eight assists for the Suns.
The Lakers head to Salt Lake City Wednesday night for a road battle against the Utah Jazz.
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