PHOENIX (AP) — Brandon Knight had 30 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double and the Phoenix Suns ran past the Los Angeles Lakers 120-101 on Monday night.
Eric Bledsoe added 21 points and T.J. Warren had 19 for the Suns, who gradually pulled away after taking a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points to lead the weary Lakers, who were playing on consecutive days for the second time in a week.
The Lakers were without All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, who was kept back in Los Angeles to rest rather than having to play on back-to-back nights.
Lou Williams hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lakers within 82-78 with 11:35 to go. But Knight scored on a bank shot and Archie Goodwin converted a 3-point play to start an 11-3 run capped by a pair of layups by Knight and Warren as Phoenix took a 93-81 lead with 8:42 left.
Overall, the Suns outscored the Lakers 21-8 over a span of 5:40 in the fourth quarter to open a 103-86 lead, extending the advantage to as many as 21 points in the closing minutes.
Lakers: G Jordan Clarkson has scored in double figures in seven of his past eight games. … Williams helped keep the Lakers close with 10 first-half points but scored only six more the rest of the way. . G Nick Young was 1 for 5 from 3-point range, 4 of 9 overall, and finished with 11. .. Bryant officially was out for “rest”, though his comments following Sunday’s game indicated his ailing back and legs were the real cause..
Suns: F Markieff Morris missed his second straight game with a strained left knee. Morris is the Suns’ third-highest scorer at 13.0 points per game. … G Eric Bledsoe has scored 20-plus in a career-best five straight games. … G P.J. Tucker scored 11 points, his 100th career game with 10-plus points. All but has come with the Suns. … Phoenix has won nine of 10 against the Lakers, the franchise’s best ever 10-game stretch against Los Angeles. … The Suns have won nine straight at home against the Lakers, one shy of the franchise record last reached from 1977-1981.
IN THE MIDDLE
Despite facing a Lakers squad with little height outside of 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert, Suns center Tyson Chandler struggled to get untracked offensively. Chandler entered the game averaging 7.2 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game but was scoreless with nine rebounds over 22 minutes. But Chandler’s struggles didn’t prevent the Suns from outscoring the Lakers 54-32 in the paint.
Hibbert played wearing a mask as expected after breaking his nose during Sunday’s win against Detroit. Hibbert did go mask-less briefly after a foul which pushed both his mask and headband down to his upper jaw. Hibbert finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Lakers G Larry Nance Jr. made his Phoenix debut and was scoreless on three shots with three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a turnover in just under 23 minutes.debut Nance’s father, Larry Sr., played for the Suns from 1981-88 and remains the franchise’s leader in blocked shots with 940.
Lakers: Host Toronto on Friday.
Suns: Host Chicago on Wednesday.
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