The Lakers competed against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, only to fall short in the final two minutes of a 116-107 loss at Staples Center.
The Suns had extended a 13-point lead with just more than 9 1/2 minutes left. The Lakers reeled off nine in a row, only to see Phoenix push their advantage back to nine with 4:17 left in the fourth quarter.
Wesley Johnson hit a pair of back-to-back three-pointers and a pair of free throws from Nick Young pulled the Lakers to within a point of Phoenix with 2 1/2 minutes left. P.J. Tucker responded with a layup for Phoenix, though.
Jeremy Lin's three-point shot looked on target but didn't drop and Markieff Morris was able to bank in a hook shot over Young with 49 second left to put the Suns up by five. Johnson couldn't answer with a third straight three-pointer, and the game slipped away from the Lakers.
Suns point guard Goran Dragic led all players with 24 points. Eric Bledsoe finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Isaiah Thomas added 15 points as the Suns shot 50.6% from the field.
Kobe Bryant returned from a three-game absence to rest his aching body and played a reduced 32 minutes, scoring 10 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.
Reserves led the Lakers in scoring. Young had 21 points and Lin 19. Johnson added 14 points while Ed Davis scored 11 and Ronnie Price 10.
The Lakers shot 51.9% from the field and 60.0% (12 of 20) from three-point range. The Suns made 40.9% (9 of 22) from behind the arc and had 13 turnovers. The Lakers had 17 turnovers.
The Lakers (9-22) visit the Denver Nuggets (13-18) on Tuesday night. The Suns (18-14) travel to New Orleans to play the Pelicans (15-14), also on Tuesday.
Suns 88, Lakers 81 (end of third quarter)
The Suns pulled ahead in the third quarter, taking an eight-point lead before the Lakers closed the gap to seven entering the fourth quarter.
Goran Dragic leads all scorers with 19 points. Eric Bledsoe is nearing a triple-double with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Isaiah Thomas added 13 points off the bench as the Suns shot 50.7% from the field and 38.9% from three-point range.
The Lakers shot the ball well -- 51.6% and 69.2%, respectively -- but struggled to slow the Phoenix offense.
Nick Young leads the Lakers with 14 points. Ed Davis has 11 rebounds. Kobe Bryant, Ronnie Price and Jeremy Lin have each scored 10.
Lakers 56, Suns 55 (halftime)
The Lakers extended their lead over the Suns to eight points before the Phoenix rallied with a three point guard lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.
By the end of the half, the Suns were within a point. Bledsoe took the defensive assignment on Kobe Bryant and managed it well. Bryant scored three points in the half with five rebounds and four assists.
The Lakers shot 50% from the field and 66.7% (6 of 9) from three-point range, led by Nick Young with 12 points off the bench. Young made all four of his tries from behind the arc.
Ronnie Price and Jordan Hill each scored eight points while reserve Jeremy Lin added seven.
The Suns, who were led by Thomas with 13 points and Dragic with 12, are shooting 47.8% from the field and 28.6% (4 of 14) from long range.
Lakers 28, Suns 26 (end of first quarter)
Kobe Bryant returned to the lineup and the Lakers got off to a strong start, scoring 12 baskets in the first quarter off of nine assists.
Ronnie Price leads the Lakers with eight points on three shots. Jordan Hill, Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer had four points apiece.
Bryant took only one shot and has two points, four rebounds and three assists.
The Lakers shot 54.5% from the field as a team while the Suns shot 45.8%.
P.J. Tuckers scored eight for Phoenix and Goran Dragic added seven.
The Suns have already beaten the Lakers twice this season.
Kobe Bryant is expected to play after sitting out the team's last three games to rest. The Lakers, will still be without Xavier Henry (Achilles), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).
For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs Phoenix Suns.