LOS ANGELES -- Eric Bledsoe celebrated his 27th birthday by helping the Phoenix Suns end a three-game losing streak. Bledsoe scored 30 points and handed out nine assists, sparking the Suns to a 119-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center. "We played hard as a team today and this is one of the best wins we've had all season," said Bledsoe, who connected on 10 of 18 shots from the floor, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. "We got stops, even though we made boneheaded plays, me on the free-throw line violation, but we found a way to win. That's what we have to do." Leandro Barbosa had 21 points off the bench for the Suns (7-16), who ended a three-game losing streak. The Suns got 15 points from Devin Booker and 14 each from Alex Len and Brandon Knight. Lin also had 13 rebounds and five blocks, all of the latter coming in the first half. "We've been struggling late in games throughout the season," said Booker, who earned a technical after fouling out with 3:49 left. "They were rallying, but we didn't get discouraged. We got stops and kept pushing forward and ended up getting a win." Lou Williams led the Lakers (10-15) with 35 points as Los Angeles dropped its fifth straight contest. Julius Randle added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Clarkson also scored 14. Marcelo Huertas chipped in 12 points for the Lakers. "Just playing hard and trying to lead by example," said Williams, who made 10 of 19 shots and 6 of 12 3-pointers. "Just play as hard as I can and see whatever comes out of it. Usually, you score a lot of points and probably get some wins out of it. We have not gotten any wins out it, so there is not a lot to take from it." The Lakers made a run down the stretch, but each time the Suns turned them away. Two free throws by Lakers guard Brandon Ingram cut the deficit to 113-110 with 1:31 remaining. However, Bledsoe countered with a pair of foul shots at 1:12 to increase the margin back to five. Ingram hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lakers within 115-113 with 17.3 seconds left, but two free throws by Brandon Knight at 16.5 seconds put the Suns up by four. Clarkson's layup sliced the lead to 117-115, but the Lakers were forced to foul Bledsoe, who converted both foul shots and sealed the win with 4.6 seconds remaining. Lakers coach Luke Walton was pleased with an increased focus on defense by his club. However, there still remains room for improvement. "There were players getting on each other tonight, which I like," Walton said. "It wasn't in a negative way; it was to hold each other accountable on what mistakes we were making. There was some progress out there tonight." The Suns bolted to a 79-61 edge after a dunk by P.J. Tucker with 5:36 left in the third quarter. However, the Lakers used a 19-7 surge to pull within 86-80 after a 3-pointer by Williams with 1:10 remaining in the period. But a trey by Barbosa gave the Suns an 89-80 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Phoenix staked itself to a 62-52 advantage at the break with a 21-8 spurt to end the half. The Suns committed only two turnovers (leading to one point) compared to seven (10 points) for the Lakers in the first half. Overall, the Suns had eight miscues (14 points) to 16 (25 points) for the Lakers. "I thought we played pretty well," Suns coach Earl Watson said. "Big step for us, momentum swing for us. The shots we missed the previous game, we had the same shots this game. The guys just made them." The Lakers again were without four of their injured players, point guard D'Angelo Russell (sore left knee), shooting guard Nick Young (strained calf, right leg), backup guard Jose Calderon (right hamstring strain) and center-forward Tarik Black (sprained right ankle). Suns forward T.J. Warren (minor head injury) missed his 10th contest. NOTES: Despite injuries forcing coach Luke Walton to use some of his reserves as starters, the Lakers' bench remained the NBA's top scoring unit at 52.6 points per game entering the contest. ... In his 16th season, Suns C Tyson Chandler was averaging 10.9 rebounds per game in 14 previous games. That puts Chandler in the company of Charles Barkley (10.5 in just 20 games for Houston) and the late Moses Malone (10.0 in 81 games for Atlanta) as the only players to average double digits in rebounding in their 16th season or later. ... Both clubs resume play Sunday at home. The Suns play the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Lakers face the New York Knicks.
Suns end skid with win over Lakers
The Sports Xchange | Dec 10