Los Angeles rout Suns
Friday 27 December 1996
"This was the Christmas present I was hoping for, to be back in first place," Lakers' coach, Del Harris, said. "Our guys played a very nice defensive game and Phoenix is not an easy team to defend."
The Lakers raised their record against divisional opponents to a perfect 8-0 and their overall mark to 20-9 to move into a tie with Seattle atop the Pacific Division.
"We hit our shots well, played good defence and pressured them," said O'Neal, who was the dominant force on the court.
Los Angeles were in control most of the way, although the Suns cut the deficit to eight at 87-79 on Danny Manning's dunk with 6:30 to play.
But the Lakers responded with a 12-0 run as Jones scored five and O'Neal four, increasing the lead to a comfortable 20 points with 2:51 remaining.
Sam Cassell scored 17 to pace the Suns, who have lost three in a row and five of their last seven games and are 0-3 against the Lakers this season.
In Chicago, the defending NBA champion Bulls reminded the Pistons who rules the East, beating Detroit for the 18th consecutive time. Scottie Pippen scored 27 points and Michael Jordan added 23.
Latest in Sport
Jose Mourinho-Arsene Wenger feud is not sporting, but keeps alive raw spirit of competition - Sam Wallace
Cristiano Ronaldo buys agent Jorge Mendes a whole Greek island as a wedding present
Premier League 2015/16 preview: Club-by-club guide to the new season
Pedro to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal says £22m winger can turn Manchester United into champions
Can Arsenal win the Premier League? Is Raheem Sterling the answer to Man City's problems? Can anything stop Chelsea?
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks busy Dublin road
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Developer (Sh...