PHOENIX, Arizona - Shaquille O'Neal won the duel in the desert against ex-teammate Kobe Bryant Sunday, by scoring 33 points to power the Phoenix Suns to a 118-111 win over his former Los Angeles Lakers.
O'Neal added seven rebounds for the Suns who won despite playing without Canadian MVP Steve Nash, who missed his third consecutive game with a sprained right ankle.
O'Neal also had a 45-game performance against Toronto on Friday. It is the first time in five years O'Neal has had consecutive 30-point games.
"I have been doing the same thing since 1992," said O'Neal, who turns 37 on Friday. "The only time I don't play well is when I am injured. This is what I do."
Bryant finished with 49 points.
The Suns had a slim lead late in the fourth quarter when Matt Barnes drew a foul and buried a pair of free throws, extending the lead to 109-103. Derek Fisher misfired on the other end, giving the Suns another shot. Barnes buried a three-pointer, pushing the lead to nine.
For all of Bryant's heroics, the reigning MVP couldn't bring his club back in this one as it stumbled to a rare two-game losing streak.
It was also retribution for a loss on Thursday, when the Lakers exploded for an easy, 132-106 triumph over Phoenix at the Staples Center.
The Suns remain two games in the loss column out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.