LOS ANGELES - Dwight Howard had 19 points and 18 rebounds, Antawn Jamison added 19 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers survived Kobe Bryant's bizarre four-point performance for their eighth win in 11 games, 91-85 over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Bryant didn't attempt a shot in the first half and scored his first basket with 2:13 to play, finishing 1 for 8 with eight turnovers in one of the oddest games of his 17-year career.
Yet the Lakers survived against the Suns, getting 17 points from Metta World Peace and maintaining a small lead down the stretch of their 12th win in Phoenix's last 13 visits to Staples Center.
Michael Beasley scored 18 points and Luis Scola had 15 for the Suns, who have lost eight of 10. Phoenix is 5-23 on the road.
In a Lakers season jam-packed with ugly losses, statistical improbabilities and general weirdness, this victory will rank among the biggest curiosities. Along with Bryant's disappearing act, they won despite managing just nine points in the third quarter, their lowest-scoring period of the season.
Los Angeles returned from its longest road trip of the season with its fourth straight home win, but Bryant - the NBA's third-leading scorer this season - contributed little to the Lakers' win over the Suns, who beat the Lakers in Phoenix to start the trip last month.
Bryant took his recent propensity for playmaking to an uncomfortable extreme in the first half, accumulating eight assists without taking a shot. Kobe even passed up fairly decent looks to force passes to his teammates on a few occasions, voluntarily removing the shooting skills of the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history from the Lakers' offense.
Bryant finally started shooting in the third quarter, but was just as inept as his teammates, missing all five of his attempts. The Lakers didn't make a basket in the third quarter after World Peace's three-pointer with 8:58 left, and Phoenix took its first lead late in the period despite its own poor shooting while the Lakers missed 16 of their 19 shots and went 9:21 without a basket.