Behind a 29-13 fourth-quarter scoring advantage, the Phoenix Suns roared back from a double-digit deficit to hand the L.A. Lakers a stunning 92-86 defeat.
The loss was L.A.'s eighth consecutive road beating, and it ended a modest three-game winning streak that had kindled a few faint hopes in Lakerland.
But before everyone pronounces the Lakers dead for the 19th time this year, take caution; this was actually a somewhat predictable result.
The Lakers are an old team, and they looked like it as they fell apart in the fourth quarter of a back-to-back set. Up until that point, Kobe Bryant and Co. had actually been doing many of the things that helped them build their modest string of victories.
Bryant was piling up the assists, Dwight Howard was pulling down rebounds and Pau Gasol was contributing nicely off the bench.
But in the fourth quarter, L.A. clearly tired. And that's when got ugly.
Dwight Howard re-injured his shoulder, which shelved him for the last few minutes of the game. Then, the Lakers succumbed to fatigue on both ends. They stood around on offense, leaving Bryant to battle against double and triple teams without any available outlets. On D, the Lakers suddenly stopped helping each other, and apparently forgot to read the scouting report that said Michael Beasley was a lefty.
Don't misunderstand; this was a brutal loss for the Lakers. But given the circumstances, it wasn't a totally unforeseeable collapse.
At any rate, L.A. is back to square one now, as they've got six more road games ahead.The loss dropped the Lakers to 20-26, while Phoenix rose to 16-30 with the victory.
Final Score: Suns 92, Lakers 86