The Lakers ran out of gas Monday night in their second of two back-to-back games, falling to the Suns, 99-76, in Phoenix.
Good news for the Lakers: The Utah Jazz fell at home to a depleted New York Knicks team (90-83). Even in defeat, the Lakers maintain a one-game advantage over the Jazz.
With the Lakers off until Friday, they're guaranteed to gain a half game on either the seventh-place Houston Rockets or ninth-place Jazz. The two meet in Houston on Wednesday.
The Lakers are now three games behind the sixth-place Golden State Warriors and one behind the Rockets.
The team is hoping to get both Pau Gasol (foot) and Kobe Bryant (ankle) back in the lineup, perhaps as early as their Friday battle at Staples Center against the Washington Wizards.