Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/31/13
PHOENIX Steve Nash left a loser in his return to Phoenix. The Phoenix Suns, down 13 points in the third quarter, chipped away at the lead, helped by the fumble-fingered Lakers, then pulled the game out at the end with a 92-86 win Wednesday night at U.S. Airways Center. Michael Beasley broke an 86-86 tie with a driving layup with 44 seconds left. Then Kobe Bryant missed on a drive of his own. The Suns (16-30) hit their free throws to seal it. The Lakers (20-26), who committed 20 turnovers, saw their modest three-game win streak broken while extending their road losing skid to eight. Nash's game wasn't the same as when he played with the Suns. Bryant, his Los Angeles Lakers' teammate, continued to do much of the ball distribution in the Lakers' loss. Bryant had 17 points and nine assists. Nash had 11 points and two assists. Nash, asked if he should do more of the ball-handling, said, "I think I can help. Those are thing we still need to work out. "We got stagnant," Nash said. "That caused turnovers." The loss would seem to be crushing for a team desperately trying to generate enough momentum to at least contend for one of the final playoff spots. But Bryant professed not to be overly concerned. "This is not like earlier in the year," he said "This is different. We're playing well." The Lakers' Dwight Howard (nine points, 14 boards) had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with continuing shoulder problems after the ball was slapped out of his hands. Bryant, saying he has had to play with shoulder ailments, said, "When you get banged, you're going to get that stinger sensation. After a while, you get used to playing with it." Beasley, in his best game for the Suns, had a season-high 27 points. "I just did what the team allowed me to do," Beasley said. The Suns now are 3-2 under new coach Lindsey Hunter. Beasley, who had been a disappointment, is averaging 18.2 points and shooting 53 percent under Hunter. "Michael Beasley was incredible," said Hunter, who added he is simply taking a positive attitude toward Beasley. "He wants to please you. He wants to do the right thing. (I'm telling him, "If you make a mistake, don't look to the sideline. On to the next play." The Lakers seemed to break the game open -- the teams were tied, 41-41 at halftime -- in the third quarter, with Metta World Peace and Nash nailing 3-pointers, Howard hitting a pair of inside hoops, then World Peace scored on a layup to give the Lakers a decisive 64-51 lead. The Suns gradually battled back, though, with Jared Dudley hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game, 82-82, with 3:37 left. The Suns, who hadn't played since Sunday night, seemed more energized at the start (the Lakers had won Tuesday night, at home vs. the Hornets). They led, 26-22, after one quarter, led by Beasley's seven points, and managed the halftime tie. Nash played for the Suns for 10 seasons in two stints. He was drafted by them in 1996, but had little future in Arizona after the Suns acquired Jason Kidd late that year. He returned as a free agent in 2004. "A special, special place," Nash said of his former basketball home. Nash got a roar from the crowed, then, during the first timeout, had a video tribute played by the Suns. "Very sweet," he said. NOTES: Nash's 6,597 assists, 1,051 3-pointers made and .907 free-throw percentage are tops in Suns history. His 744 games played are No. 3. His parents live in Phoenix part-time, part-time in Victoria, B.C. ... The game alsomarked Mike D'Antoni's return for his second team (the Knicks, also) since departing the Suns. ... Earl Clark scored, a 2009 first-round draft pick of the Suns, had five points and eight rebounds following a 20-point (8-for-11 shooting) 12-rebound game in a win over Hornets. The 20 points were two short of a career high. ... D'Antoni had strongly supportive words for Alvin Gentry, the recently replaced Suns coach. Gentry was D'Antoni's assistant for the Suns. "Firing a good coach doesn't make any sense," D'Antoni said. "But he's fine. He'll bounce back."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady would be 'very jealous' if Manning wins Super Bowl

John Elway takes swipe at John Fox

Jets DT: I won't watch a Super Bowl 'until I play in one'

Hall of Fame coach: Stephen Curry is the best of all time

Reggie Bush on NFL future: ‘I’m not retiring’

Derek Fisher blasts Rondo over triangle offense criticism

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Marshawn Lynch hasn't spent any playing money

Ex-King says he could do 'much better job' than George Karl

Trainer thought Thomas Davis would not play in Super Bowl

Todd Gurley named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Durant, Westbrook on loss to Warriors: We're not scared

Report: Eagles interested in bringing back Nick Foles

WATCH: Tom Brady booed during Super Bowl 50 MVP ceremony

Cam Newton's cleats have 'MVP' and stats written on them

Concession prices incredibly high at Super Bowl 50

Fan at Super Bowl 50 wears awesome dual-team jersey

Skip Bayless whiffed badly on Cam Newton prediction

Stephen Curry to serve as guest drummer for Panthers

Charlie Sheen tweets advice for Johnny Manziel

Cardale Jones predicts he will play in Super Bowl

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Marcin Gortat fires back at critic on Twitter

WATCH: Kerr told Warriors he was happy to have close game

Broncos could have tough decision with franchise tag

WATCH: Steph Curry does 'Dab' on court on eve of Super Bowl

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker