Suns melted Kobe's huge effort
Steve Nash scored all 25 of his points in the first three quarters and Leandro Barbosa added 23 off the bench to enhance the Suns and win.
It's fair to say that Phoenix used a balanced attack to offset another dominant night by Bryant, who made 19-of-33 shots to get his 51 points.
Actually, it was his fifth 50-point outing this season and his fourth consecutive game over 40. But with seven players in double figures, Phoenix reached 50 wins for the second straight season and the 16th time in franchise history.
The loss Friday, coupled with Sacramento's 96-93 victory over the Clippers, dropped the L.A. Lakers and Kings into a tie for the Western Conference's bottom two playoff spots at 40-37.
As we said before, with the squads having split their season series, the Lakers would be seeded eighth by virtue of the Kings having the better division record. Sacramento is 10-5 in the Pacific; the Lakers are 6-7.
At least the Lakers can take comfort with a schedule that has them playing their final five encounters at Staples Center. Then again, the Lakers also are only two matches ahead of the ninth-place Hornets.