Kobe searches for improvement when Lakers host Suns

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to deliver a win in the return of Kobe Bryant this weekend and will try again Tuesday versus the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center.

Bryant returned from Achilles surgery in Sunday's 106-94 home loss to the Toronto Raptors and showed some signs of rust, making 2-of-9 shots for nine points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and eight turnovers.

"My rhythm is completely out of sync," Bryant said. "But this is a start, and I guess a start is good."

No Lakers starters scored in double digits, as Nick Young led the reserves with 19 points and Xavier Henry added 17. Jodie Meeks (14), Jordan Hill (11) and Shawne Williams (10) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Los Angeles, which entered the game having won six of eight games and has dropped two in a row at home. The Lakers are 6-5 at Staples Center.

The Laker bench leads the league in scoring at 48.1 points per game.

Lakers center Pau Gasol, who had seven points and eight boards versus the Raptors, is probable for Tuesday's game because of a sprained right ankle.

After the Lakers entertain the Suns, they will open a four-game road trip Friday against Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis.

Phoenix has won six of nine games, including Friday's 106-97 triumph over a Toronto squad the Lakers failed to beat. Markieff Morris had 25 points and 11 rebounds, P.J. Tucker netted 18 points and Eric Bledsoe finished with 16. Tucker also grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds.

"I just got a great feel for the game right now. Not really trying to shoot as many 3s as I have been in the past," Morris said. "I have just been working on driving to the basket and trying to get to the line."

Goran Dragic chipped in 14 points for the Suns. He has scored at least 14 points and handed out no less than eight assists in six of the past nine games, posting an average of 19.3 points and 7.3 assists in that span.

The Suns will try to work on their 5-6 road mark Tuesday in L.A. and will start a three-game homestand Friday versus Sacramento, Golden State and San Antonio.

Phoenix and Los Angeles split four meetings last season, while the Suns have dropped five straight, nine of 10 and 12 of their last 15 games at the Lakers.