A 1st: Suns beat L.A. at Staplesby Bob Young on Jan. 20, 2004, under Sports
The Arizona Republic
Phoenix overcomes a three-point barrage by the depleted Lakers for an 88-85 win.
By BOB YOUNG
The Arizona Republic
LOS ANGELES – The Staples spell is broken.
The Phoenix Suns survived two long three-point shots by Lakers guard Derek Fisher that rimmed out in the final eight seconds last night and beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time at Staples Center.
The 88-85 victory extended the Suns’ winning streak to four games, and it snapped a 12-game losing streak they had in the building against the Lakers – although they had beaten the Clippers here.
The last time Phoenix won in Los Angeles over the Lakers was March 24, 1999, at the Great Western Forum.
The losing streak included the entire coaching tenures of Scott Skiles and Frank Johnson. Danny Ainge resigned before the Suns visited the Lakers in 1999-00, the first year Staples Center was open.
The Lakers played without Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone, all out with injuries.
“You don’t think they’ll put an asterisk next to it, do you?” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni asked.
Jake Voskuhl had season highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds and Joe Johnson scored 26 to lead the Suns.
Voskuhl scored twice in the final 1:24 on offensive rebounds and the Lakers missed three free throws down the stretch as the Suns escaped on a night when Shawn Marion made just 3 of 14 shots.
“I couldn’t get into a rhythm, but I tried to do other things and just lead my team,” Marion said. “We had a lot of guys step up.”
With Amare Stoudemire in Phoenix nursing a sore big toe on his left foot and a sore left ankle, Marion slid into the power forward spot and the Suns went small.
The Suns sprinted to a 17-6 lead in the first six minutes of the game, but the Lakers got back into it by firing three-point shots.
Marion had a forgettable first half, missing all five shots and scoring two points. He had two rebounds. As a result, the Lakers led 46-41 at the break.
But with Donnell Harvey replacing Casey Jacobsen to start the second half, the Suns picked up the defensive pressure and went on an 18-6 run to start the third quarter.
“We’re still playing for a purpose,” the Suns Joe Johnson said. “Somebody different is stepping up every night, and that’s what we need.”
Pistons 85, Spurs 77: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Chauncey Billups scored 18 to help Detroit beat reigning NBA champion San Antonio for its franchise record-tying 13th straight win.
The last time Detroit won 13 straight was 1989-90, the season it won its second straight NBA title. Pistons coach Larry Brown had not won 13 straight in his Hall of Fame career until yesterday.
Knicks 90, Raptors 79: At New York, Stephon Marbury had 28 points and 14 assists to keep coach Lenny Wilkens undefeated in his new job, extending the Knicks’ winning streak to four games.
The Knicks improved to 3-0 under Wilkens by defeating the team he coached the past three seasons.
Pacers 100, Hawks 97: At Atlanta, Reggie Miller hit a go-ahead three-pointer and added two free throws in the final minute to lead the Pacers to their fourth straight win.
With the score tied at 93, Miller made an open three with the shot clock winding down. Miller’s free throws with 5.1 seconds left put the Pacers back up by three, and they hung on from there.
Kings 125, Clippers 100: At Los Angeles, Peja Stojakovic had 31 points to help the Kings win their fifth straight and ninth in 10 games.
The Kings had a season-high 38 assists on 49 field goals, including eight each by Doug Christie and Vlade Divac.
Magic 106, Bucks 99: At Orlando, Tracy McGrady scored 34 while Juwan Howard added 19 points and 12 rebounds to lift the Magic.
Joe Smith led Milwaukee with 19 points and eight rebounds.
SuperSonics 90, 76ers 81: At Philadelphia, Ray Allen got 28 points and hit two late off-balance shots to help the Seattle Supersonics end a four-game losing streak.
Wizards 93, Bulls 83: At Washington, the Wizards overcame an 18-point deficit to win consecutive games for the first time in two months.
Timberwolves 97, Hornets 90: At Minneapolis, Sam Cassell had 22 points, including seven in the final 2 1/2 minutes, leading the Timberwolves to their ninth straight home win.
Kevin Garnett led Minnesota with 29 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. He drew a foul with 18.2 seconds left that led to New Orleans coach Tim Floyd’s ejection.
Grizzlies 88, Rockets 83: At Memphis, Tenn., Pau Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and James Posey got 13 of his 17 points in a fourth-quarter comeback to lead the Grizzlies to their fifth straight win.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Houston. Memphis trailed by eight early in the fourth quarter but went on a 16-2 run to take the lead.
Warriors 101, Jazz 85: At Oakland, Calif., Erick Dampier had his 20th double-double with 18 points and a career-high 24 rebounds.
Calbert Cheaney scored 20 points and Jason Richardson added 18 for the Warriors.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers’ Brian Cook (left) and Devean George surround Phoenix Suns’ Jahidi White during the first half in Los Angeles.