Suns Say Goodbye to KobePosted: Updated:
Kobe Bryant said farewell to Phoenix on Wednesday night, scoring 17 points cheered on by a loud, pro-Laker crowd, but Los Angeles lost to the Suns 119-107.
Bryant played for the 47th and final time in Phoenix, capping his career finale in the desert with a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
The 37-year-old five-time NBA champion left the game with 1:05 to play, hugging the Suns' P.J. Tucker and waving to the cheering crowd as he headed to the bench.
Devin Booker, the Suns' 19-year-old rookie, scored 28 in his one and only game against Bryant, who sat out the previous three meetings against Phoenix this season. Brandon Knight added 25 and Jon Leuer had 23 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
Julius Randle scored 19 for the Lakers, who lost in Phoenix for the 10th time in a row. The Suns won the season series between two of the NBA's bottom feeders. The teams are a combined 35-106 this season.
Mirza Teletovic scored 11 points of his 17 points, going 3 of 3 on 3-pointers, when the Suns took control of the game in the third quarter.
Knight scored six and Booker sank a 3 in a 9-0 spurt that put Phoenix up 77-63 with 3:56 left in the third. The Suns led 83-74 entering the fourth.
The crowd, many in Bryant's No. 24 jersey, gave him a standing ovation at his introduction and another thunderous cheer after a tribute video was shown on the big screen during a first-period timeout.
There were chants of "Kobe! Kobe!" intermittently throughout the night.
D'Angelo Russell's 3-pointer cut the lead to 93-90 with 6:59 to go but Leuer responded with a 3 from the top of the key. Knight's consecutive 3s punctuated an 11-0 run that gave Phoenix a 109-94 lead.
Bryant has been a villain in some big series against Phoenix. He memorably was felled by a clothesline foul by Raja Bell in the 2006 Western Conference semifinals. Bell was suspended for a game.
Bryant scored 2,330 points against the Suns in his career, second only toKareem Abdul-Jabbar (3,029). His average of just under 27 points per game- regular season and playoffs -- is the highest of any player who faced the Suns in at least 35 games.
Bryant's 51 points on April 7, 2006, remains the most scored at Talking Stick Resort Arena in a non-overtime game.
Bryant and Michael Jordan are the only players with multiple 50-point games against Phoenix. They had two apiece.
Lakers: Bryant has five more farewell road games, including one against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, the court the two teams share. ... Bryant andKevin Garnett are the only active players who played in an NBA game against Booker's father, Melvin. ... Bryant scored 24 points the last time the Lakers won in Phoenix on Jan. 5, 2011.
Suns: Tyson Chandler was out with back spasms. ... At 36, Phoenix interim coach Earl Watson is a year younger than Bryant.
Lakers: host Denver Friday night.
Suns: at Sacramento Friday night.
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