LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Gerald Green scored 26 points off the bench, Markieff Morris had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns overcame Kobe Bryant’s 39-point performance to keep the Los Angeles Lakers winless with a 112-106 victory on Tuesday night.
Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points in a reserve role for the Suns, who survived a fourth-quarter surge led by Bryant to beat the Lakers for the second time in seven days.
Bryant went 14 for 37 for the Lakers, who are off to their first 0-5 start since the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers lost their first seven games.
Bryant’s third 3-pointer trimmed Phoenix’s lead to 106-104, but Eric Bledsoe hit two free throws before P.J. Tucker punctuated his season debut with the decisive 3-pointer in front of the Lakers’ bench with 19 seconds left.
Thomas continued his scoring binge off the Suns’ bench, and he also threw a jaw-dropping, one-handed alley-oop pass to Green in the second quarter.
Green, who revived his North American playing career with the Lakers’ D-League team in early 2012, scored 11 points in the first 5:35 of the fourth quarter to keep Phoenix ahead.
With a four-day break before the Lakers’ next game, coach Byron Scott gave 44 minutes to Bryant, who had another high-volume offensive effort while playing the entire second half. In his fifth game back from injury, Bryant earned 12 free throws and launched 23 shots in the second half alone.
The 36-year-old guard also decided to hurdle the entire front row of courtside seats in pursuit of a loose ball in the third quarter, landing safely with the flair and foolishness of a player half his age.
The Lakers, who now have four days off, stayed close all night after getting routed in Phoenix a week ago. They trimmed the Suns’ 15-point lead in the third quarter to 79-75 entering the fourth.
Byron Scott said after the game that the lakers, now 0-5, will not accept any “moral” victories.
The Lakers bench was outscored 53-17.
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