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Birthday boy Bledsoe leads Suns over Lakers in Los Angeles

PHOENIX — It’s always nice when people sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you and you get to blow out some candles for a wish. While we may not know what Eric Bledsoe wished for when he blew out his candles, taking down the rival Lakers could be a pretty good guess.

Behind the newly 27-year-old’s 30 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three steals, the Phoenix Suns (7-16) outpaced the Lakers (10-15) 119-115 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, snapping the team’s three-game losing streak. Bledsoe’s 30-point game is the 11th in his career and third for this season.

The point guard started off on fire, scoring 15 of his 30 points in the opening quarter. Bledsoe cooled off a bit in the middle portion of the game, but essentially slammed the door on a furious Lakers rally in the waning minutes.

Los Angeles went on a mini 6-0 run to cut the Suns’ lead to 113-110 with 1:31 left in the game, but Bledsoe nailed two clutch free throws at the 1:12 mark to extend the lead back to five, and two more free throws with four seconds left to ice the game.

Bledsoe was a team-high plus-18 for the Suns, shooting 10-of-18 from the field, including a breakaway dunk to preserve the lead late in the game.

Aside from Bledsoe’s sensational game, there were other Phoenix players that stepped up under the bright Los Angeles lights.

Leandro Barbosa provided a much-needed boost from the bench, scoring a season-high 21 points. The 34-year-old showed he could still put it up from downtown, converting 5-of-7 from three-point land.

Barbosa came into tonight’s game averaging only 5.5 points per game, but an off night from Devin Booker opened up the scoring for the veteran.

Speaking of Booker, it seemed the lights might’ve been a bit too bright for him this time around. While describing his play against the Lakers as having an “off night” could be interpreted in many ways, Booker’s shot was definitely off, hitting just 6-of-17 from the field and 1-of-6 from three. The 20-year-old also fouled out with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter, and proceeded to pick up an extra technical foul as well.

Phoenix had a total of five players in double figures and scored a season-high 62 points in the first half, as the Suns evened up the season series with the Lakers. The Suns dropped the first meeting between the two teams back in early November, also in Los Angeles.

The Suns have a day off, before returning home to face Anthony Davis and the Pelicans Sunday night.


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