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

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ate the Celtics’ heart during the second half of Game 4

NFL to reportedly bring back fun touchdown celebrations

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

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

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

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