Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Kobe Bryant scored 31 points and Metta World Peace added 22 as the Los Angeles Lakers (4-5) outgunned the Phoenix Suns (4-6), 114-102, to open the Mike D’Antoni era on a winning note Friday night at Staples Center.
The Lakers improved to 4-5 with D’Antoni still not on the sideline because the new coach is rehabilitating his newly-replaced knee.
But D’Antoni’s high-octane plays were in the forefront of the Lakers offense last night, helping the purple-and-gold to record their highest scoring output since their 120-112 win over the Golden State Warriors on April 1.
Bryant seemed to be more unstoppable in the new system, surpassing the 30-point mark for the third time and improved his assists average with six dimes.
The ‘Black Mamba’ also teamed up with Jordan Hill (10 points, 5 rebounds) to spark a pivotal 17-2 blast spanning from third to fourth quarter. The Lakers preserved their double-digit lead up to final buzzer to garner their fourth win on their home floor.
The Lakers shot 47 percent from the field and simply outmuscled the Suns on the boards, 48-38. The Lakers also got great contributions from their key guys as Dwight Howard racked up 18 points and 12 boards,
Pau Gasol had 16 points and 10 boards, and second-year guard Darius Morris delivered 5 points and 6 dimes in 31 minutes.
Goran Dragic led the Suns with team-high 22 points and 7 dimes while Luis Scola recorded 18 points and 8 rebounds in a losing effort.