Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Darius Soriano —  March 12, 2010

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Records: Lakers 47-18 (1st in West), Suns 40-25 (6th in West, 7 games behind Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 108.8 (11th in NBA), Suns 114.4 (1st in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.4 (2nd in NBA), Suns 110.9 (29th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Suns: Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Amar’e Stoudemire, Robin Lopez

The Lakers Coming in:  Commenter Gr8 Scott had a nice take in comments earlier today and states what I too believe:

What a great time for this quick 3 game roadie. After the (gasp) 3 game losing streak and (gasp) last second shot by Kobe to stave off those pesky Raptors, our team finds itself at a true regular season crossroads. We have just over a month to go in the regular season and with several significant road games/trips left, this is where our Lakers will either bloom or wilt. I think we bloom. Confidence is like the first few specs of snow that band together on the side of a mountain. If the right shakeup occurs or if more snow bands together and they start rolling, watch out – you have an avelanche on your hand. Denver and Dallas are on our heals, but that shouldn’t matter. Winning tonight keeps the winning streak going and we can continue to build on the confidence. Winning on the road starts with not making a lot of mental mistakes (turnovers, poor shots, bad fouls). If we play the way we did in Orlando, we’ll be fine.

The only thing I have to add to that is that there has been a lot of talking and explaining coming out of the Lakers players in the past week.  Kobe, Fisher, and Lamar – all leaders of this team – have all come out this week and made some sort of statement about the mindset of this team, where they are, and where they hope to go.  However, talking is what you do with the media.  It’s how you perform on the court that affects the standings and whether or not you reach your goals at the end of the season.  Tonight they have a shot to execute the things they’ve discussed and put out there to the press.

The Suns Coming in:  The Suns are doing what Lakers’ fans wish their team was doing – playing very well coming down the home stretch of the season.  Phoenix has won eight of their last ten games and are showing a real sense of urgency as they push for a good seeding in the playoffs.  They currently sit in 6th place, but have the same record as OKC and are only 2.5 games back of Utah for the 4th seed.  If Phoenix can get to 4th and secure home court advantage in the first round, they could prove to be a tough out against any opponent.  Essentially, the Suns are showing a lot of fight recently as these last games of the regular season take on more importance.  And when I say showing fight, I mean that litterally.  In their last game, against the Pacers, tempers flared as Channing Frye and Danny Granger had a bit of a scuffle, which has resulted in Frye being suspended for tonight’s game.  

Staying with this theme of tougher play from Phoenix, what’s probably most interesting for fans is how Phoenix has been winning these games.  Yes, their top ranked offense remains potent and will consitently be referenced as the foundation for their success.  But Phoenix has also been playing better defense lately and rebounding the ball much better.  And while he’s only one player, and his minutes per game and overall stats don’t jump out at you, a lot of credit for this improvement should go to Robin Lopez.  He’s not as good as his brother, but Robin has found his game at this level and has made a real impact for the Suns since he became a starter back in mid January.  Late last month he even had a 30 point 12 rebound game against the Clippers.  Another reason for the Suns success has been the development of another young player – Goran Dragic.  Two years ago, I thought this kid looked like a European Sun Yue (which is, not good), and now he’s giving the Suns solid minutes as Nash’s back up and contributing to wins.  When Nash missed a game two weeks ago against the Thunder, Dragic filled in with a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists in 40 minutes of playing against Russ Westbrook.  Not too shabby for a guy that many thought wouldn’t amount to much when he came over from Europe.

Suns BlogsValley of the Suns is a great site to find all kinds of good info on the team from Phoenix.  Give ‘em a visit and check out their preview for tonight’s gameUpdate:  I can’t believe I forgot the boys over at Bright Side of the Sun.  I blame the bad gyro I had as a morning snack.

Keys to game:  When you look at Phoenix and their offensive and defensive stats, they look very similar to the Lakers last opponent – the Toronto Raptors.  Phoenix is an offensive juggernaut with suspect (though improved) defense and beating them will take discipline on both sides of the ball. 

That discipline starts on defense.  And that means priority number one is defending Steve Nash and, by default, the high P&R.  At this site, a defensive strategy we’ve often talked about when we face dynamic point guards is “the Steve Nash treatment”.  And since we actually face Nash tonight, I expect to see this approach taken.  What this entails is making Nash a scorer and limiting his opportunities to generate easy baskets for his teammates.   I’d prefer to live with a hight point total and low assists for Nash rather than him getting his 15-18 points but with double digit dimes that get his teammates feeling good on offense.  The only way to accomplish this is to cut off passing angles by covering up perimeter players that are spaced out along the three point line while also showing consistent help on the screen man when he either rolls to the basket or pops out for an open jumper.  If the Lakers can effectively help and recover while also making Nash look for his own shot, it will go a long way in slowing down the NBA’s top ranked offense.  This is all easier said than done, but it is possible and the Lakers need to show the defensive focus necessary to execute the plan.

The other key players to slow down on offense are Amar’e and Jason Richardson.  Amar’e is a tough cover for any big man as he’s got a versatile game.  He’s a hammer when finishing as a roll man in the P&R and the range on his jumper is good all the way out to twenty feet.  So, just like with Nash you want to start by taking away his pet moves and make him go to the less effective parts of his game.  This means helping early in the paint when he rolls to the cup and make him finish over the top of the extended arms of our seven footers.  Pau and Bynum will have to show good teamwork on these plays and really help eachother when Amar’e slips screens and dives hard after setting picks.   Also, show Amar’e respect on his jumper, but not too much.  Make him beat you with his J and always be cognizant of his want to put the ball on the floor.  Bynum and Gasol have typically done well against STAT, but they’ll need to bring it again tonight since Stoudemire has been playing very well of late.  As for Richardson, use the plan that’s worked on him since he entered the league – run him off the three point line while showing help in the paint to force him into taking mid range jumpers.  Richadson shoots 65% at the rim with EFG of 57% from 3 point range, but only makes 34% of his shots from 16-23 feet.  So, close out hard in the half court and mark him in transition when he runs to the three point line.  Richardson hasn’t played very well against us in our last two matchups, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve respect.

On offense the Lakers must start inside and continue to pound away with some sort of consistency.  Against Toronto, the Lakers went inside early to great success and then went away from that advantage for the entire middle part of the game.  Tonight, I’d like to see a more concerted effort to stay with the inside game and see where that gets us.  As much as Lopez helps their interior D, he’s still not a match for Bynum’s size.  And Amar’e isn’t exactly a defensive minded player.  Plus, with Frye out, the Suns don’t have much depth in their front court so getting these guys in foul trouble or wearing them by attacking them over the course of the game will serve the Lakers well in the 4th quarter.  Also understand that in order to slow down a running team, you have to dictate pace to them.  Phil Jackson understands this better than most coaches as he used this exact game plan to push Phoenix to the limit in the playoffs several seasons ago.  So, go inside to Gasol and ‘Drew and make Phoenix defend the paint.  Move the ball from strong to weak side and exploit their interior defense. 

Another key will be having our players work well off the ball.  After the Toronto game, both Phil and Kobe acknowledged that Kobe played much more off the ball in the second half against the Raptors.  This moving of Kobe out of facilitator role was a key factor in getting him shots within the offense rather than the isolation and P&R heavy initiations that we’ve seen from Kobe a lot this year.  Morer of that tonight will go a long way in making our offensive attack more efficient and more diverse.  Also, as mentioned above, pace will be a key factor against this team.  The Lakers play at a pretty fast pace (9th in the NBA), but the Suns play at a pace that is a full two possessions faster than the Lakers.  They are going to look to push the ball and the Lakers must not succumb to this and start to play Phoenix’s game.  Keep the game deliberate and make this team defend deep into the shot clock and we’ll find openings to exploit.  Again, discipline is the key to tonight’s contest and if the Lakers have it, they should be able to take this game.  If they don’t and we see blown defensive assignments, multiple one-pass-then-shoot offensive possessions, multiple offensive possessions where the ball doesn’t go into the post, etc, etc, this will be a long night and another close one in the closing minutes.

Where you can watch:  6:00pm start in the West on KCAL, also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

126 responses to Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2010/3/11/1367619/everything-you-know-about-derek

    First off, no… I did no write that article. But continuing on from the last thread some of those numbers measure intangibles as it relates to the teams success or apparent lack there of while Derek Fisher is on the floor… If Farmar and/or Brown were worse than Derek I am guessing the team wouldn’t be doing better on both offense and defense with Fisher on the bench. Especially when you realize that Derek only plays with the starting unit to help hide his “inadequacies”.

    So please save me from that “those are just stats and they don’t measure Fisher’s intangibles” non sense because I will likely lose my lunch into me personalized Derek Fisher is Garbage Bag. I have that copy righted fyi. It would seem self evident that intangibles would directly effect your teams production on at least one side of the ball.

  2. Warren Imposter March 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    This is for me.

  3. Aaron, Just to clarify, will you be losing your lunch into your bag that is personalized to say “Derek Fisher is Garbage,” or will you be losing your lunch into Derek Fisher, who happens to be a Garbage Bag?

  4. Isn’t it interesting that the conversation now revolves around Fish and Sasha – our other two guards in this conversation having played themselves out of the controversy. It wasn’t so long ago that I was reading ‘Sasha is the worst player in the NBA’ type comments.

    Aaaah what a little outside shooting will do.

  5. I made three posts in the other thread… “bashing” Fish

    And even I don’t think that has a place in this thread… yet. At least not until he does poorly in the current game or something. It’s just not relevant, unless it’s about how Nash is going to fry our Fish :/

    At any rate, speaking of topicality, has Robin Lopez’s emergence been the most surprising thing ever? Goodness, he’s not quite living up the idea that he’ll be more suited for the NBA than brother Brooke but he’s actually living up to some of his reputation.

    Steve Kerr has probably exhaled about a billion sighs of relief on that one

  6. now that Warren Imposter has had his little joke (albeit mistimed), let us reflect on why ol’ whosis might have suggested that we refrain. I’m guessing (and correct me if I’m wrong, Warren) that he might be a bit embarrassed by the recent inefficacy of the thing (i.e., 5-5 over the last ten).

  7. #5,
    I’m not sure it will be entirely justified to bash Fisher after the game either. It’s Steve Nash… very few point guards are on his level.

  8. In the spirit of March Madness, Tom Izzo has a great quote, which I think applies to our team, right now:

    “Players play, but tough players win”

    Wouldn’t mind seeing a hard foul or two if any of those Suns come running down the lane.

  9. Thanks for the recommendation for the Courtship of Rivals documentary, I am going to watch it tonight.

  10. Two things:

    1) The courtship of rivals documentary is as fantastic as Darius says it is. Really moving and unexpectedly funny in places. We get to see two things we normally don’t see – Magic breaking down emotionally (he’s usually terrific at presenting a brave face) and Bird showing that yes, he does have a sense of humor.

    2) I’m not surprised at all that Robin Lopez is doing well. When a player has the right mindset, the right skillset, and the correct understanding to attack his ROLE on a team, he will usually excel. The Suns needed a tough guy/banger, and Lopez fits that need and understands his role admirably.

    That’s one of the Lakers biggest issues: guys not understanding their roles on the team.

    That’s why the idea earlier this month to trade Bynum for Noah/Hinrich wasn’t that crazy: you replace a very offensively talented guy who’s a bad fit alongside the team’s second best player, who can’t/won’t play the “banger/rebounder” role with a guy who can/will AND you get a point guard who DOESN’T actively work against the team every minute he’s on the court (like Farmar/Fish).

    Not so crazy.

  11. This is it, not the time to panick, but time to use this pressure and get all the cylinders running. Will the Coal under pressure crumble or turn into the diamond we’ve been waiting for, I myself think the team will step it up, Pau will regain his little but deadly jumper, or Pg’s step up there 3point %, Kobe will complete his transition into deadly distributor and clutch shooting, bynum, slow but surely is becoming a block monster. we have hanged in with the team with in the good and the bad. Lets go for sweet 16! – Go Lakers – David R

  12. Don,
    You are right… it wasn’t clear… The garbage bag is called “Derek Fisher is”. So its the “Derek Fisher is” garbage bag. Its not a very good garbage bag though. It can’t contain anything especially PG’s.

  13. there are those who thought that Goran Dragic was the worst player in the NBA (Hollinger?). now see what these same folks think, proving (once again) that it’s all about production.

  14. Burgandy,
    I love your work but… You should never trade a good Center like Bynum for a PG. Especially a bad PG like Kirk (he hasn’t been good in a few years). Have you looked around the league? Every team but the Lakers and the Knicks have a PG. They are easy to find. Noah is not a banger. He has a Pau Gasol body. He is a natural PF except without the skill. If you thought the Lakers got pushed around before… wait till you replace Bynum with Noah. Oh… and you would now be without your best low post option.The league changed when Bynum and Gasol got together. Every contending team was trying to add size to match the Lakers. Sub Bynum and add in Noah and the Lakers lose that advantage and what still separates them from every team in the NBA. I am all for trying to bring in a NBA PG. Heck… the Lakers probably should have thought of having a starting PG on the roster before the season started… but lets not let one weakness turn into two weakness’.

  15. Aaron,

    I see your point about Bynum – but I suppose I was more thinking about this year…I’m probably in the minority, but I think the Lakers’ championship window isn’t as large as people think. Kobe’s had a ton of injuries this year, and I feel like they’re more of the “body breaking down” type than “fluke” type.

    How many more elite years does he have left?

    I agree that Noah has Pau’s body, but he’s got a feisty, banger attitude, which the team lacks down low.

    I actually think Bynum will be a terrific center, but he needs to be on a team where he’s, at the very least, Option 2, not Option 4 (4, because it goes Kobe, Gasol, and then Fish/Farmar because both PG’s think they are a better option than Drew).

    I agree Hinrich isn’t as good as he once was, but I also know that he’s a tough, excellent defender (who can guard 1’s, 2’s, AND 3’s). I also know that he’s a TEAM FIRST player who would fit himself into the triangle, rather than jacking up bad shots. Maybe I’m overestimating him, though.

    Either way, I feel like a starting 5 of Hinrich, Kobe, Artest, Pau, & Noah would have much better chemistry than our current starting 5.

    Hinrich wouldn’t jack up bad shots on offense, ignoring the post, and he would actually bring something to the table on D.

    Noah wouldn’t need “touches” in order to work his behind off on defense and on the boards.

    That’s what I feel like the current team is missing.

    I’d like to add that no one on the team currently protects Gasol – and he needs to be protected. When guys are constantly punking him, there’s no retaliation (other than Fish during the Houston series). Noah has shown himself to have an enforcer type mentality…he even called out King James during a game (when LeBron was dancing). The team needs an “enforcer” big (Phil has even said as much).

    All of our bigs are finesse guys.

    When your team’s primary enforcer is the worst starting point guard in the league…that’s a problem.

  16. Darius wrote: “The only thing I have to add to that is that there has been a lot of talking and explaining coming out of the Lakers players in the past week. Kobe, Fisher, and Lamar – all leaders of this team – have all come out this week and made some sort of statement about the mindset of this team, where they are, and where they hope to go. However, talking is what you do with the media. It’s how you perform on the court that affects the standings and whether or not you reach your goals at the end of the season. Tonight they have a shot to execute the things they’ve discussed and put out there to the press.”

    That was exactly my point in the prior post in relation to Phillip’s comments. No one should suggest comments to the press somehow imply that the Lakers have “woken up.”

    We’ll believe it when we see it, hopefully by starting a win streak tonight in a tough venue against a competitive team.

    Oh, and “Amen” to Aaron’s remarks on Bynum vs. Noah. You don’t trade 22-year-olds with size and talent for a Ben Wallace-type journeyman, and that’s what Noah is/will always be. He’s a step up from Turiaf; lots of heart, but a not a 7-footer with soft hands.

  17. Aaron, no one is saying that Fish is a great player or that he’s even good. Everyone knows he’s playing terribly. It’s not a big secret. It’s just tiring that you keep harping on it as if it’s some big secret YOU discovered. And since you repeat it all the time, we all already know how you feel. Can you just stop it already. It’s getting real old and it often feels to me like it’s just a cry for attention really.

    What I actually don’t believe is that you are over 40+ yrs old because the repeated nature of “I’m right, you are wrong, I’ve been saying this all along and no one believes me…” even when everyone actually agrees, but just doens’t want to read it over and over again is kinda childish like. You know. So stop it already.

  18. At the game (yes!), watching warmups. We need a point guard…I give you Brian Shaw. Dude is hitting at least 80% clip from 3. He’s playing a shooting game with everyone’s favorite shooter Jordan and Luke and, no lie, shooting a better % than both of the combined, seriously.

    Go Lake Show!

  19. Lol now that would make quite the story. Assistant coach comes out of retirement to help team in sore need of shooting. I can dig it.

  20. Sorry Aaron you can’t copyright something using a real person’s name.

    His agent and the NBA will sue.

  21. I like what I’m seeing from Bynum. Good contesting on defense and positioning on offense. Actually all our guys look locked in, but Pau needs to find his touch, and we need to slow STAT down.

  22. AS appears to be twice the player as Gasol at this point of the season. Pau just looks weak, weak and slow. This guy really has lost it. Why?

  23. I’m liking the P&R defense early in this game. However, I’m not a big fan of the transition D.

  24. ken,
    Really? Pau has lost it? What next? Dump him after this season?

  25. No there just something wrong with his game. Track his numbers the last month.

  26. still havent figured out zones

  27. Stoudamire’s definitely getting his right now.

  28. The lakers look very confused out there against the zone.

    Shannon needs to stop launching those long twos.

  29. Yeah, I have been thinking the Lakers probably need to ship Pau out after this season and bring in a big man with some muscle. Oh, and maybe a point guard. What about this Kwame guy? and that Javaris guy, he should come cheap. And maybe Pau’s brother. we could throw him in and have a real team then.

  30. STAT is just a big ball of energy (on offense at least). I’m getting tired just watching him. We’ve gone away from the post (big surprise) and our offense has turned into long jumpers. It started with Kobe taking a couple, and the others followed suit. Part of that is Suns D denying post entry, but not entirely.

  31. Pau is avaraging 14 the last month. Stod close to 30. How does that happen?

  32. >trade everybody!

    well, we could offer to trade teams with Cleveland.. oh, wait.. missed the trading deadline.

  33. This is sad

  34. The defense is confused. Our bigs are chasing Nash and Dragic around the court because the guards aren’t recovering; as a result, they’re in a constant state of rotation and recovery (or a lack thereof).

  35. Nothing wrong with Gasol. 0 for 3 freethrows.

    should ask for more touches in the media.

  36. A little disappointing to see our “length” dominated to the tune of 17 points and 8 rebounds by one guy on the opposition. That’s more than our entire starting frontcourt right there.

  37. I am beginning to think the players (and us fans) think they are better than they are. Nobody is working together on defense – including Kobe.

  38. The zone obviously gave the Lakers problems but their patience and rebounding forced Phoenix to get out of it. Against Phoneix’s offense, Lakers need to rebound better and lay off Amar’e and let him have his jumper. I also wouldn’t mind some hard traps on Nash if he’s going to try to suck our bigs in off those picks.

  39. We all know playoffs is a different story. You can focus on 1 team for a seven-game series. It’s about adjustments and matchups. We do need momentum, but we need the sense of urgency more than it.

  40. Am I reading the GameCast summary incorrectly, or did Kobe just turn the ball over 3 times in about 40 seconds?

  41. is this a pre-season game for the Lakers?

  42. 40 One was Powell failing to catch a pass and the other was Kobe trying to save the ball after being off balanace off an offensive rebound, so forgiveable TO’s

  43. 40. I cant believe they put them on kobe, powell and drew dropped simple passes

  44. 42 & 43 – That’s a relief to hear. Just looked poor to see “Kobe Bryant – bad pass” play after play!

  45. Lakers are now out of fouls for the 2nd Q and the Suns could be spending lots of time at the FT line this quarter

  46. Phoenix’s free throw defense is vastly underrated.

  47. Looks like Phil solved the defensive problems. Foul them every time down the court.

  48. Anybody have a link?
    Thanks.

  49. 47 – Or, give Phoenix 3-4 possessions every time down the floor before they score. That way, we can say our defense is incredible because Phoenix is only shooting 25% from the field.

  50. cant hide how frustrating it is to watch gasol at the mo, at least bynum is ballin

  51. I wonder is their anyone left in the league the Lakers can dominate>

    Oh yea the Clippers.

  52. The zone defense is really making us struggle. They seem to know we can’t shoot the 3.

  53. Things to note, so far after a 31-point first quarter, the Suns had just 7 points in the first 6:30 of the second quarter.

    Of course, even though they just had 9 in the second, we just have 14, so we’re still down by 2.

    …. and suddenly Lou Amundson gets 4 straight points.

  54. I agree James. He has really slipped.

    BIG TIME.

    He has become worthless on defense and offense.

  55. Phoenix is playing with a lot of hustle on their home floor and we are right in this. I like the way we’re sharing the ball on offense. On defense we need to limit points in the paint and box out more.

  56. Seriously Ken, we can deal without the definitive statements that aren’t based on anything more than the thing you’re seeing in this moment. Find some perspective that isn’t so reactionary to a bad game or even a rough stretch.

  57. Man, gotta get a body on people and stop the offensive boards!

  58. Beautiful sequence by Lamah.

  59. If we can build a lead playing like we have…..just imagine how we’ll play if were actually in sync

  60. wow I did we just hit consecutive 3 balls?

  61. LA has been awful this year at closing out the half, looks like they will close it out on a good note tonight.

  62. That is a close out to a half that I can enjoy. But seriously – looks like some improved spacing (along with actually MAKING the three), and some better adjustments on D. Can we hope for this to continue through the 2nd half?

  63. I am putting gloves on the rest of the game. They played great when I shut up!

  64. I love the job Kobe is doing to get his teammates involved. His 3 assists don’t do justice to the number of great looks he’s given teammates that either weren’t made or ended in free throws.

  65. One of the best offensive teams in the league only scored 46 points at home. That’s pretty good defense, overall.

  66. #67. That is a re-tweet right there. So true. Phoenix got a bit sloppy with the ball, but the defense really did pick up. Plus, Amar’e had 16 in the first quarter and only has 19 at half. He got stuffed a couple of times and seems insistent on forcing drives with our bigs just camping.

  67. Almost 42% from three.

    That sequence where the Lakers made three or four passes on the perimeter ending in Artest’s completely uncontested three from the right side is exactly what I have been talking about. No defender near him and no one even running out. Suns all hanging back to deny anything inside. Lakers start making those and defenses will have to adjust. Then you will see more opportunities for the bigs inside.

  68. Ball moving = Points rising.

  69. Any chance of a Kobe triple-double today?

  70. This is the Fisher we all need, not forcing the issue and just getting to the open spots and hit them.

  71. some great defense right now and getting anything we want on offense just got to make open shots

  72. passerby, there are some links posted in comment #51.

  73. Darko watch:
    12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, and 5 rebounds.

    I’m serious, if we can get this guy at a low cost, he’s an upgrade over Mbenga and Powell. He can and probably will be better in the Triangle Offense, plus another story for a “resurrected career in LA”.

  74. Great defense by the Spaniard.

  75. Beautiful hook by Pau.

  76. dang, ron missed some wide open threes, kobe should have gave it up to a gasol on the break there

  77. Kobe…that one hurt. Can’t lie.

  78. The Lakers need to take the ball to the basket once in a while on the break instead of taking the three

  79. Nash wants this one bad. Let’s see how Sasha does defending him for a little while.

  80. Two tough calls on sasha in a row

  81. Now these are the Lakers I know. Build a big lead then give most of it away to make the game interesting. As long as we finish with the win, all is normal again in the world.

  82. Quite a few iffy calls in the last 3 or so minutes

  83. A entire quarter without one free throw.

    How is that possible?

  84. Mohan,
    This happens because of many factors involved:

    1) Homecourt of Suns: They are fantastic at their home and they aren’t going away without a fight.

    2) Homecourt factor: Every home team technically makes runs so that’s a given.

    3) Every win is so important for Phoenix at this point. A 2-game, 3-game slide puts them at 8th, a tough matchup against the Lakers.

    etc…. There are many factors involved as well, and I wouldn’t bother to talk about it.

  85. Two straight nightmares on the pick and roll.

  86. I know it’s in Phoenix, but a 23-8 foul count against us is pretty rough.

  87. where is farmar?

  88. 86 – You’re correct on every point. However, I was referring to the Lakers’ early season form, when we were more concerned about the Lakers blowing big leads (and still winning) than anything else. It’s seems like that was a LONG time ago.

  89. #89. Farmar has a sprained pinkie on his left hand that is really bothering him. Earlier in the game he was clutching his hand and Phil hasn’t brought him back in since.

  90. Nice rebound kobe

  91. Kobe unusually sloppy here. He’s slow on everything, from rebounding to dribbling to spotting the double coming.

  92. The bench with a standing ovation. Look at how Phil quickly gets up! Man, he is healthy.

    Kobe is technically nearing a quadruple-double. 19-9-7-7

  93. is brown ok? he was holdin his injured thumb a couple of plays ago..

  94. Gotta love Bynum’s defense…he’s moving with Amare from all spots on the floor.

  95. 7 Turnovers for Kobe

  96. Bad defense, yes. Good hard foul…?

  97. If the league gives him a flagrant after the fact, will that bring a suspension (after getting one the other day)?

  98. Yeah Pau make the big man earn it, a little payback.

  99. Since no one has said it yet. Steve Nash can pass the ball. He has the perfect bounce pass on the pick and roll that I’ve ever seen. Stockton was efficient, but Nash is efficient and pretty to watch.

    And gasol gets a shot.

  100. oh, and Ken, Amare gets 30 points a game because he’s the number one option on the Suns.

  101. This, gentlemen, is what a playoff basketball looks like. And this is what the Lakers look like in a playoff basketball game.

  102. we could have hit about 20 threes tonight weve had so open many WIDE open looks

  103. when was the last time u saw the lakers shot attempts this balanced???

  104. Phil doesn’t flinch!

  105. Some poor pick and roll defense by Pau led to Jason Richardson’s three and Amare’s dunk in crunch time.

    On Richardson’s three, Pau hedged too far on Nash, forcing Lamar to rotate to take Pau’s man, leaving J-Rich open.

  106. Lakers four game road losing streak is over. Nice game but the zone is a concern when LA is on offense

  107. Huge game! One of their best defensive efforts in a longggggg time.

    Great game by Fisher and Bynam.

    Especially Fisher. His best of the year.

  108. I do have to wonder how many times Kobe will need to get burned by his man nailing a wide open 3 late in games before he decides to play straight up. On the 3 JRich hit late in the 4th Kobe was looking to help on Lou Amundson–20 feet from the basket! Weird game for Kobe tonight.

  109. good win, lots of positives, better offensive execution and balance, drew continues to play well and fish is shooting better

  110. ok i’ll say it. Should have blown them out!

    haha. I can’t even type that with a straight face.

    Balance was good. Kobe flirting with a quadruple double (yes, I’m counting the TO). Pau 7-11. Bynum 8-12. Kobe only shooting 16 times. Fisher shooting only 9 times. Worst shooting was Lamar’s, but that’s fine and nothing to worry about. Still think we’re not getting touches down into the post and what worries me is the fact that the only person who seems to be able to pass into the post with consistency is Pau, but that means he’s on the wing…

    Still. Good game. Good win. Holding Suns under 100 points. I anxiously await the “Pessimists” (THAT MEANS YOU KEN!! jk).

    Good win.

  111. Richardson was 5 for 15 and most were wide open shots.

    Thanks you!

  112. DB, refer to my post #107…JRich wasn’t Kobe’s responsibility on that play, it was Lamar’s man but Lamar left him because Pau was in no-man’s-land off a pick and roll by Amare and Nash.

  113. A quality win against a quality opponent.
    Should have been a must-win for the Suns. After their loss tonight and with San Antonio winning over Minny, the Suns fall to seventh-place, a mere 1.5 games behind Portland.
    If Phoenix finishes at 8th, it would be the shortest rise/decline of an NBA matchup. In 2006, the Suns were 1st, and the Lakers were 8th.

    Anyway, Pau Gasol finished with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks, +14 next to Kobe’s +15.

  114. Suns doubled Kobe
    Bynum got the ball down low
    Fisher hit half of his wide open looks

    next game please

  115. Aqzi–

    I watched that play twice and I’m pretty sure Kobe was in no man’s land playing free safety–closest player to him was Amundson. When the ball swung to JRich he tried to get back but was way too late.

    I don’t see how you can pin this one on Lamar (though Lamar was in outer space for most of this game, so it’s certainly possible).

  116. Aaron if you change your 3rd line to “Fish hit open 3s” you’ve got yourself a haiku.

  117. Son of a bi@%… I almost lucked into something special. Like that time I was wrestling this stripper in K-Y Jelly and …

  118. pau mauled that dude flagrant 2

  119. Where is k-y jelly? is that in the Valley?

  120. DB..could have been Kobe. I don’t think it was Lamar’s fault at all I think Lamar was forced to rotate to Pau’s man because Pau messed up on PnR defense on the Amare/Nash pick and roll

  121. We start a game thread with Aaron’s usual repulsive diatribe towards Derek Fisher–which leads others into discussions about trading Bynum for Noah/Hinrich–which leads to further character attacks on Fisher as well as mixed expectations for the game which carry through almost until halftime.

    Returning from watching the actual game, that was not what I expected to read. Now, if Aaron was half as good at eating crow as slinging mud, maybe we’d have a chuckle or two.

    As some of the other commenters already mentioned, the Lakers showed the kind of team effort both on offense and defense we would expect from a playoff bound team against a determined opponent at home. Shot attempts were balanced. Andrew had another very good game. The team made a good share of three point shots–led by Derek Fisher. A significant win.

    Negative bloggers on F, B, and G were very unhappy.

  122. Warren Wee Lim March 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I missed the game online and its about to be aired on tv 2pm in the afternoon on a time when I got work.

    Upon looking at the boxscores, I see we played a pretty good balanced game. But something tells me it was a grind more than a good win… but a win is still a win… and on a road, coming off some shaky performances over the last 20 games, I say it was a nice win to have.

  123. drrayeye,
    Why would I have to eat crow? Fisher hits half his shots for one game and now he isn’t a bad PG?