Kobe Bryant took his increased role as a facilitator to a whole new level Tuesday.
He went the entire first half without a field goal attempt and then didn't make his first shot until 2:10 was left in the game.
Bryant netted just four points, but dished out nine assists -- eight in the opening 24 minutes -- in the Los Angeles Lakers' 91-85 triumph over the Phoenix Suns.
Bryant, who went without scoring in double figures for the first time this season, was 1-of-8 from the field and 0-of-4 from beyond the arc. He last had zero field goals in a game in 2001.
"I thought it was great actually," Bryant said of his stats. "I'm trying to make the right play and keep everyone involved."
The 15-time All-Star totaled 39 assists during a three-game span prior to a seven-game road trip in which Bryant registered eight-or-more helpers in four of those contests.
Dwight Howard recorded 19 points and 18 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has won eight of its last 11 tilts. Steve Nash had 10 points and eight assists against his former team in the win.
Michael Beasley finished with 18 points to lead the Suns, who have dropped four in a row and eight of their last 10 games.
The Lakers led 56-47 at the break, but scored just nine points in the third and trailed, 71-65, heading into the fourth.
Los Angeles, though, used a 13-2 run to seize control in the final frame.
Metta World Peace poured in the first five points during the surge, which was capped when Antawn Jamison put back Bryant's airball for an 81-75 edge with 5:41 left.
Phoenix never got closer than four the rest of the way.
"They were able to get offensive rebounds down the stretch and we paid for it," Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said.
Earlier, the Lakers took a 30-22 cushion going into the second.
Bryant attempted zero field goals in the first half for the first time since March 5, 2004, when he left the tilt in the first minute due to an injury ... Los Angeles has won six of its last seven home games.