Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/19/12
By MATT BECKER STATS Senior Writer Suns coach Alvin Gentry believes he needs someone other than Grant Hill to defend Kobe Bryant in order for his team to contain the league's scoring leader. Bryant doesn't think it makes any difference who guards him. Coming off another big performance against the Suns, Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers look to win a fourth straight game and sweep this home-and-home series Sunday night at the US Airways Center. After finishing with a season-low 10 points on 5-of-18 shooting in Tuesday's 86-78 win over Atlanta - the sixth time in seven games Bryant shot less than 40.0 percent - the 14-time All-Star busted out of his shooting slump Friday against the Suns. He finished with 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting to lead the Lakers (18-12) to a 111-99 victory, their third in a row following a 1-3 stretch. "Obviously, Kobe went off," said center Andrew Bynum, who finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. "He had (36) points, and the rest of us were just kind of filling in the gaps." This wasn't the first time Bryant, who averages 28.9 points, overwhelmed the Suns (12-19). He had a season-best 48 points and went 18 for 31 in a 99-83 victory Jan. 10. In Friday's matchup, Bryant scored 18 in the third quarter, with most of the damage coming after Hill went to the bench with his fourth foul. "It's the same thing that happened here last time," Gentry said. "I had to take Grant out of the game and (Kobe) seems to explode every time I do that. I think he had 16 (points) when we took him out then he had 32 when he got back in. Somebody else is going to have to step up to slow him down at least." Despite Gentry's high praise for the 39-year-old Hill, Bryant thinks Phoenix could have better luck slowing him with double teams. "Doesn't matter if Grant's in the game or not," Bryant said. "If they're not going to double and I have room to go to work, I'm going to go to work." Bryant routinely has made things difficult for Hill and the Suns, averaging 31.3 points in the last 24 meetings including the 2010 Western Conference finals. Los Angeles has won 18 of those games. While Bryant has led the way against Phoenix, the work of Bynum and Pau Gasol on the boards has also been key. Los Angeles, which averages a league-high 45.6 boards per game, outrebounded the Suns 52-36 on Friday and had a 49-35 advantage in the first meeting. Bynum and Gasol have totaled 55 points and 47 boards in those victories. The Lakers improved to 13-2 at home Friday, but are just 5-10 on the road - tied for the second-worst road mark of the 17 teams at or above .500. The Suns, meanwhile, have lost four in a row and have been awful at US Airways Center. Phoenix's 5-8 home record is the worst among the 25 teams with at least 10 victories. Marcin Gortat, the only player to start all 31 games for the Suns, is averaging 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds at home compared with 16.7 points and 11.4 boards on the road. He's averaged 20.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in his last three games against the Lakers, all at Staples Center. Steve Nash matched a season high with 17 assists Friday but also had a season-worst seven turnovers. The two-time league MVP leads the league in assists at 10.9 per game, but Phoenix is just 3-9 when he gets 12 or more.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cameron Payne will have chance to shine with Bulls

Danny Ainge opens up about why Celtics didn’t make a trade before deadline

Kevin Durant wants to be NBA GM or owner after playing career

Report: Mavericks discussing buyout with Deron Williams

T-Wolves reportedly backed away from Ricky Rubio-Derrick Rose trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

DeMarcus Cousins calls duo with Anthony Davis ‘Fire and Ice’

Reasons why 76ers got so little for Nerlens Noel emerge

John Lynch: 49ers ‘absolutely’ need to improve at QB position

Report: Raptors trade Jared Sullinger, two future picks to Suns for P.J. Tucker

Report: Pacers halt trade talks, will keep Paul George

James Conner receives clean scan before NFL Combine

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

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

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

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