In the first of two consecutive games, the Phoenix Suns started strong and finished better, but the middle of the game was where things fell apart as the Los Angeles Lakers win 111-99 on Marcin Gortat;s birthday behind the play of Kobe Bryant and former Suns player Matt Barnes.
Phoenix played well in the first quarter, ending the first with a 25-21, but the Lakers followed with two straight qurters of over 30 points. Kobe went for 18 points in the third quarter and the Lakers pulled away.
Kobe finished for 36 points and Matt Barnes had 17 points on 6-7 shooting.
For the Suns, Marcin Gortat had another double-double, finishing with 21 points and 16 boards. Steve Nash had 11 points and 17 assists, while former Laker Shannon Brown had his best game in some time. He had 15 points, including a spectacular offensive rebound and dunk late in the game.
The Suns and Lakers face off again on Sunday in Phoenix.