Lakers/Suns: Game 2 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  May 19, 2010

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Despite what many pundits may think, this series is not over. Yes, Phoenix was overmatched on Monday but unless that first win actually counted as four (here’s a hint – it didn’t) there are still games left to be played. That means there will be new strategies employed and different tactics used by both teams in order to try bring home the win in game two.

As we mentioned in this morning’s links, the Lakers are preparing themselves for different defensive looks from the Suns.  Phoenix did little right in trying to contain the Lakers offense so a different approach is surely in order.  So, what can we expect from the Suns?  As Doug Collins repeated several times in the national telecast of game 1, the Suns are going to try some zone defense.  The Suns must understand that the Lakers destroyed the interior of their man to man schemes with determined dribble penetration to the middle and far too easy post entries to Pau Gasol.  So, playing a zone is a natural remedy to try and slow down what worked so well in game one.  Understand too, that Phoenix isn’t just going to trot out its zone for the first time tonight.  They’ve been a very good zone defense team over the course of the season and gave the Lakers fits playing this D in patches in the March match up and also detroying Denver (among others) with their active 2-3 zone earlier this season.

In order to attack this defense I hope that the Lakers don’t vary too much from their game one approach, but I do hope that they add a few wrinkles to their sets.  Understand the the Triangle is a natural foil to any zone defense because of the ball and player movement that is built in to the offense.  So, if the Lakers are to attack the Suns’ zone, they’ll need to rely on crisp execution of their sets and not fall back on just swinging the ball around the perimeter and settling for the first available open jumpshot. 

So, what I hope to see is two fold.  First, I’d like for the Lakers to again try to get the ball into the corner so as to initiate their sideline initiation.  However, a wrinkle I’d like to see is to have the topside guard (after passing to the corner) not clear through the lane right away and instead hold his position on the strong side in order to keep the Triangle in tact.  If the man in the corner makes the post entry, then I’d like to see the topside guard cut hard to the basket with the post passer staying home on the sideline as a release man in case the big man doesn’t have a good shot.  This action forces the Suns defense to guard all three strong side Lakers with their three zone defenders and essentially creates one on one matchups with every offensive player.  This will enable the Lakers to attack the Suns zone as if they were playing man to man, which as proven in game 1 was not successful.  Without the ability to diagram this, visualize this formation: when the ball is in the post he’ll have a defender on his back and the other two Suns defenders on that side will be guarding the two Lakers wings. Those two defenders will either have to stay with the Lakers wings or help down.  If the Suns topside guard helps down, the cutting Laker will be open with his dive to the hoop.  If the strong side forward digs down off of the player who made the post entry, that player will then be open for a kick out pass.  This simple zone offense, but the Lakers will need to show patience to execute it.

The second thing I’d like to see from the Lakers is a continuation of their strong committment to dribble penetration.  The key to breaking down a zone is to get the ball into the middle of the floor.  Once the ball is the middle, the entire zone collapses and there are going to open offensive players all over the court.  Getting the ball into the middle can be done via the pass or off the dribble and I’d like to see the Lakers not be overly dependent on trying to just pass the ball into the paint to either the post up man or a flashing big coming from the weak side.  If the Suns allign their defense to take away the corner pass (as they did in game 1), the middle drive will be open.  When the ball is penetrated you can expect the weak side defenders to then show help.  And this is where I want to see a bit of a wrinkle from the Lakers offense.  When the help defender comes the easy pass is going to be to the weakside wing.  When that player catches teh ball, rather than settling for the open jumpshot I’d like to see him penetrate the ball as well.  This second act of penetration will throw the Suns defense into full scramble mode and their zone principles will be broken down almost entirely.  This will open up passes to the big men when interior defenders are forced to help and also open up offensive rebounding lanes from both our bigs and our the player that is in the opposite corner.  This form of attack is what the Lakers used to much success in game 5 against OKC.  Even though the Thunder weren’t playing a zone, their sagging defense simulated one.  So when the Lakers penetrated, kicked, then penetrated again the result was a slew of open layups and offensive rebounds by the Lakers bigs.  I hope to see the same results tonight.

The other defensive tactic that we can expect the Suns to employ are hard double teams on Kobe and Pau any time they get the ball 15 feet and in.  In game 1 both Kobe and Pau were left free to operate on an island too frequently against players that struggled to guard them and they were way able to create good shots much too easily.  By double teaming Kobe and Pau the hope will be to make other Lakers score the ball and thus carry the offensive load.  This tactic is nothing new to the Lakers as Utah double teamed Kobe for nearly the entire second round and Pau has seen double teams off and on since the OKC series.  In order to beat these schemes the Lakers must be active cutting to the ball and diving to the rim from both the top of the key and from the weakside.  When the double team comes the Lakers need to cut behind that doubling defender and occupy the space that the defender is ceding when he comes to attack.  This will force an over compensation of the Suns defense where help on the dive man either comes early (which creates easy cross court passes) or comes late (and the flash man is open).  Either way, the Lakers have proven in the past double teaming their best passers (Pau and Kobe) will ultimately be ineffective if everyone off the ball is doing their jobs.  Tonight, I hope to see those other players focus and make the correct reads.

Offensively, the Suns aren’t likely to make too many adjustments but they do need to find a way to get into the paint more frequently.  Stoudemire especially was forced to shoot a lot of jumpshots to get his points and unless Phoenix can get him catches on the move to the basket their offense (while still excellent) will not perform to its peak efficiency.  So, expect Amar’e to slip more screens or feint like he’s going to screen only to release early so he can receive passes on the move and ahead of the Lakers rotating defense.  This action will allow Amar’e to either make easier catches going to the basket or force rotating Lakers to move off of perimeter players which will then open up passing lanes to shooters behind the arc.  In order to counteract this, the Laker must continue to have active hands in the passing lanes and show extreme discipline in their help and recovery so they can both disrupt Amar’e on his cuts and still get back to shooters and contest shots.

As it is with every series, the adjustments begin now.  In game 1, the Lakers proved that if nothing changes they’ll win this series handily.  So Phoenix must now try to make the necessary changes that turn the tide of the game in their favor.  That said, the Lakers have been running the same systems and have seen what Phoenix does for many seasons now.  None of these adjustments should be surprises.  In order for the Lakers to prevail tonight, it will take an even greater commitment to sniffing out these adjustments and then responding to them with a focussed execution that matches the Suns.  If the Lakers are able to accomplish this, they’ll do enough to win the game.  However, if they rest on their game 1 win and don’t act out what they’ve covered in practice, Phoenix will be right back in this series and steal the home court advantage from under the Lakers’ noses.  As I mentioned earlier, many have already handed this series to the Lakers.  With only a 1-0 lead that’s premature.  Talk to me about control if the Lakers do what’s needed tonight.

Darius Soriano

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223 responses to Lakers/Suns: Game 2 Preview & Chat

  1. For Warren! :)

    GO LAKERS!

  2. ok folks, gotta new wrinkle for ya…
    this one’s for CHARLIE!
    Charlie is my 1 day old son, born May 18, 8:42 PM, 8lbs, 2 oz… future point guard, hehe…
    so tonight I’ll be in the post pardum room, chilling with my new family, and of course i have the tivo set, and will be able to see tonight’s game (without commercials) when we return home sometime Thursday.
    go Lakers, Charlie is a new fan!

  3. MICHAEL ZARABI aka ZERB May 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    congrats chris

  4. Chris H,

    Congrats and as soon as you bring Charlie home start working on his jump shot….

    Hopefully tonight as Darius stated the Lakers will come out focused and not relying on what happened in game 1. I think Darius is right too many of us Lakers Fans are already looking past the Suns and are wanting to play Boston already. Lets take of Phoenix first then we will have plently of time to dissect the Boston series that is if they win there series as well. I have a strange feeling that KOBE is going to drop 40 again. I think KOBE behind closed door is sick of all this LEBRON talk and wants to make the playoffs his stage…. I think Lakers win but it will be close in the 4th quarter. And we have the Marino Rivera of basketball on our team.

  5. Congrats Chris!

  6. I am also a little uncomfortable with the way people have dismissed the Suns so quickly. It was one game. I think the Lakers are a better team, but I can see the Suns getting hot and taking some games. I still remember the 3-1 lead that was blown. That still smarts. Some people are already discussing match-ups with the Celtics…

    I expect the Suns will be looking to make someone besides Kobe beat them tonight. What I am curious to see is if the Lakers, as a team, remain dialed in or if they have a let down.

  7. Congrats Chris. To health, long life, happiness and another loyal Lakers fan.

  8. Congrats, Chris, great news.

    For some reason this game seems like a recipe for a slice of humble pie (for us, anyway). A lot of things broke right for us in Game 1, but with the Suns D there’s a good chance they’ll break that way again. I’m a bit worried about the zone, because if memory serves, we did a horrible job attacking it when the Suns used it in the regular season. I expect more discipline in the playoffs, though.

    I really hope players (Odom, Fish) don’t look at Game 1 and start giving Frye more space as a result. If just a few more threes go down, the complexion of the game changes. We need to continue to take Frye completely out of the game.

    I’d also like to applaud Dwight Howard for the foul on Pierce that perfectly befits Boston’s level of sportsmanship. I stood up and saluted when it happened. The only thing that would have made it better is if he’d followed the flagrant with piledrivers on Garnett and Perkins. If Boston makes it through, I want them as banged up as possible.

  9. A look in the rear view mirror… Does anyone know anything about this writer? I haven’t seen his name before, but if this sample is representative of his work, I think I like him.

  10. 9: McMenamin has written a number of articles for ESPN LA this season. His stuff isn’t bad but then I’m rather biased regarding the subject matter.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him before either though.

    I agree regarding overlooking PHX (something I will admit I am quite guilty of), simply because…well, the Celtics are the Celtics (not a good thing).

    Along with Apostrophe’s looking to work the P&R harder, I would like to see the Lakers put a similar effort into defending it more earnestly when Robin Lopez is the roll man. It didn’t really matter when nobody on the Suns could stop us, but letting him pick up so many easy baskets around the rim isn’t a trend we don’t want to continue, especially since the Suns won’t remain cold from the 3 all series.

    A couple times in Game 1 it looked like everyone was more preoccupied with containing Nash and staying on their shooters to pay much attention to Lopez on his dives to the rim. Can’t keep allowing him to shoot 6 of 7 or whatever it was.

  11. Congrats to Chris. WARNING: my one year old still can’t tell Kobe from some of the most hated of the Celtics– you must not let this minimize your love: they will grow out of it, or at least they damn well better.

    I look for smart passing by Kobe out of the double, good cuts when Pau has the ball at the top, and more ‘luck’ for Lamar where the ball just seems to bounce over Amare’s head and into his arms over and over again.

    As long as the Lakers move on offense and are patient, I still think the matchups are overwhelmingly in our favor. CUT DOWN ON THE THREES, PLEASE!

  12. Congrats Chris!

    Go Lakers!

  13. McMenamin? He’s been writing Lakers articles all year. Before ESPN, he wrote for NBA.com – that was the first place I saw his name come up, and I believe it was where he hit the national media for the first time. His stuff on ESPN is much better than his stuff on NBA.com.

    He’s a good writer. Nothing great or ground-breaking, but nothing bad either. I like reading his stuff. Probably his best piece was the interview with Craig Hodges:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/columns/story?id=5002714

  14. Congrats Chris; your child will be introduced to a winning tradition, even if he’s too young to understand it.

    I really enjoyed McMenamin’s piece; that “tanking” sentiment against Kobe from that game has bothered me for some time. I especially enjoyed Gentry’s (who was with the Suns as an asst.) comment on it: “Kobe is not a guy who has ever tanked anything,” Gentry said, providing a view from the other side. “I don’t see him as doing that. We played a great game that night and were able to win. I don’t see him as a guy who would ever go there. … I would never use the word ‘tank’ and ‘Kobe’ in the same sentence.”

    I also have to say that Gentry is pretty likeable. I have heard at least 20 different interviews with him over the last 5 years and am impressed with his demeanor.

  15. So, it’s my wedding anniversary today. How many brownie points do I burn up if I decide to stay home and watch the game instead of going out?

  16. On to the next 1. Hopefully we’re looking @ game 1 as a distant memory. No Let Up. Can’t Become Complacent. It’s all about defense. As long as we’re in lockdown mode, I have no worries. The only way that the Suns will be able to set up a TIGHT/EFFECTIVE Zone Defense is if they’re scoring the ball. If we’re forcing them to turn the ball over and/or miss contested shots, there’s no possible way that they’ll even be allowed to zone up. As far as them coming with hard doubles on either Pau or Kobe, it’s something that will only work against a team with a low basketball I.Q. & can’t pass the ball. Fortunately, we’re not that team.

    Time to take control of the series 2nite. Lets Get It.

  17. Yes i’m guilty for looking past the suns and hoping for the celtics. i called a sweep the suns cannot matchup with us.

  18. Congratulations to Chris and to Chownoir respectively. As for Chownoir I think you might burn a lot of points if it’s your 1st year anniversary otherwise I think you’ll be in decent shape…just have a blanket ready on the couch just in case!

    Now to the game. Good news is that Bynum reported that the swelling in his knee has gone down, I honestly feel that Bynum will have a decent game around a 10-8 game or something near that. LO will go off once again and I can only hope to hear Amare say he got lucky again. If PHX goes zone I expect crisp passes and dribble penetration from Kobe as he’s been driving a lot more and that will collapse the zone and free up our other guys.

    I don’t think we’ll see PHX double Kobe because as we saw in the Denver & Orlando series last year, Kobe can kill a defense if they commit two defenders to him and he’s well aware of how to combat double teams. Here’s hoping for yet another double digit win tonight!

  19. 14 , better: how many points does your wife earn for letting you?

  20. @15,She says it’s my call on what to do. I think it’s a trick question.

    She earns lots of points normally because she lets me do whatever I want most of the time.

  21. Captain Obvious May 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Go Lakers!

    Hope they play with focus and aren’t too complacent because a 1-0 lead is not really much of a cushion.

  22. I hope the Lakers take the Suns seriously tonight and attack the zone the exact way Darius described.

    If they do that, it will be another walk in the park.

    If they settle for jumpers, the game will be close.

    It’s as simple as that.

    Lakers have no excuse for not getting dribble penetration. The Suns wing defenders aren’t particularly fiesty or long (like the Thunder), so the Lakers should continue to penetrate.

    Especially the Artest on Richardson matchup.

    Artest (for the most part) played that exactly right. Take Richardson off the dribble and create.

  23. Chownoir,
    I say Tivo the game, keep your wife happy, and watch the game with no commercials. The one agreement you should get from her – she should love it – is that you don’t want to talk basketball or get any reminders about the game.

  24. Chownoir,
    I would give you advice but I cannot relate. I married a Laker fan so there is never a debate about whether to watch a game.

    But Craig W’s advice sounds right.

  25. Chownoir

    I’m with Craig – DVR. It’s not the finals, not game seven. We’ll hold down the fort while you are out.

  26. Just heard a report on Sportscenter that Shelly Smith was told “in private” that the “lucky” comments have “really fired up Odom.” I actually buy that completely. His on-camera approach was perfect, but I believe he is ready to be the dominant LO we all know and love. Amare needs another “strong” 3-rebound game; prove his max contract. I’m sure he plays better tonight, but I don’t think there’s anything the Suns can do if we have the X-Factor turned all the way up.

    Go get em’ Candyman. How about a 20/20 night?

    Edit – I like Prokorhov. He’s getting a lot of facetime now. I expect the Nets to be my new Warriors. Fun to watch in a non-threatening way.

  27. I love that A’m’a’r’e’ decided to call Lamar “lucky”. I’ll take anything that will keep him motivated. Talk as much trash as you want A’m’a’r’e’.

    Can’t wait to see how the Lakers adjust to the adjustments.

  28. My favorite STAT quote when discussing the last time he sized up against Gasol in 2005, when Gmoney was in Memphis:

    “It was total domination,” Stoudemire said. “But now he has a little brother with him so now he’s a little more confident now because he’s got someone to help him in the post.”

    Boy, this clown cracks me up.

  29. Chownoir,
    This is where you earn brownie points by going out instead of watching the game.

    It’s never REALLY “your call”!!

  30. Thanks guys. I normally DVR the game anyway and do other things until about an hour into the game, that way I speed through all the commercials.

    But I won’t be able to watch the game until tomorrow night if I do that tonight. I suppose worst things than knowing the score ahead of time while watching it.

    My wife doesn’t even know there’s a game on tonight unless I tell her. So it would never come up in conversation.

    @VOR, so what you’re saying is if we had pushed our wedding into June, it would be okay for me to watch a Finals game and not do anything on my anniversary? LOL!

  31. Chownoir,

    You can go out of Friday night, we all wait all year for the playoffs. Hang at home have a pizza rub your wifes feet during the game and go out this weekend. Is is your anniversy too.

  32. Chownoir,
    I’d try to offer a woman’s perspective on the situation, but since I have been known to tell my husband to post-pone anniversaries and Valentine Day dinners when they conflict with Laker games, I might not have the same perspective as your wife. :)

    Actually, I’ll offer it anyway. When you get right down to it, what most women want is to be reassured that we’re the most important thing in the whole world, so Craig’s advice is spot on. Just be sure to avoid anything with an internet connection until you get a chance to watch your recorded and commercial free game! ;)

    @Taylor,
    That doesn’t surprise me the least. Lamar always struck me as having a quiet pride in being very good at what he does. We should send Stoudemire a thank-you card, he’s helped us keep Lamar active and focused just when we need him.

  33. Mimsy – On that same note, adding a few more bullets in Kobe’s armory never hurts either. This is his team, and anything said about a player or the team gets to him I’m sure. Not that he needs it, but I remember seeing a documentary on MJ that said he fueled himself through these almost imaginary motivators. Giving players of this caliber another reason to compete is a death wish. I’d expect Mamba mode again.

    Suns fans should be arriving in the next hour…man I’m excited!

  34. @Mimsy. Hey a woman’s perspective is always appreciated. Here’s the deal though. My wife and I are never into hallmark holidays. We’ve been known to postpone celebrations for a couple of weeks until our schedule works out. So this really is my call.

    I’ve gone both ways on this type of decision in the past and have had no negative fallout either way. I just go with gut feel. But for some reason, I’m really undecided about this one and my gut is straddling the fence. So thought I’d throw it out to my fellow Laker brethren.

    Heck, I just texted her right now asking if she had a preference and her reply was she was pretty busy at work. So it was up to me. If I was going to watch the game, she’d work later. If I wanted to go out, she’d come home.

  35. @34

    You were just given the golden ticket via text that she’s busy at work! Watch the game. Your first paragraph about hallmark holidays also confirms that it’s OK. Every day should be a celebration of your love, anyway (corny, I know); plan a nice dinner out at a cool restaraunt that’s tough to get into so the wait is worth it. :)

  36. @Chownoir
    That approach sounds very familiar somehow… :)

    If your gut is on the fence, I say watch the game, and have your anniversary on an evening when nothing will distract from it.

  37. Question about taking charges: Does the deffender have to fall down in order for it to be an offensive foul? During the game this year Cavs vs. Lakers, Shaq draw countless charges on Kobe, but since it was Kobe bouncing back, they didn’t call it an offensive foul (usually no calls). But I get a feeling is shaq was smaller and fell down, the call would’ve been made?

  38. Chownoir, it’s not about brownie points, it’s about being reminded of what you did (or didn’t do) for the rest of your life.

    Trust me, Lakers will win more games even if you don’t watch them now, but I’m not so sure if you will win many more arguments if you miss the first anniversary.

  39. Right now…it’s about the game!!

    Good luck boys!

  40. Joey Crawford IS the NBA. Never forget that…

    Seriously, my heart sinks a bit whenever he is a referee in a Laker Playoff game…

  41. Too many missed opportunities by the lakers so far. Their defense is getting better but they gave up way to many shots close to the basket.

    Is that rebound lucky amare?

  42. That rebound and lay-up by Odom was obviously sheer luck.

  43. @35 was me, Jane. I don’t know why it came up anonymous…Sorry!

  44. Pretty sloppy basketball to start.

  45. Need to stop Nash from penetrating and finding easy points in the paint. Drew played well for his first shift. It’s Lucky-Time!

  46. That’s the way to run the fast break

  47. Fish is really playing at a high level right now. Recognize….

  48. Fisher has been amazing so far – getting his hands on every single ball.

    I was never as down on Fish as some commentators on this site, but I have to admit that his play during the play-offs has exceeded all my expectations.

  49. Hopefully Jordan can keep up the Fish-tensity.

  50. Suns are getting lucky right now

  51. That’s a two, watch they call it 3 shots

  52. Joel: That was my feeling in the first half of the last game as well. It felt like it was just a question of time before the Lakers would pull ahead.

  53. Broke down the zone perfectly by getting the ball in the middle to LO. I think we’ll be fine if they play more zone as long as we recognize it. Again, Pau just broke it down by getting to the heart of the D. And there goes Lucky. Feels like I’m doing a play-by-play!

    Good end to a back and forth 1st quarter!!!

  54. Fisher has been great tonight, as he was the last game, and as he was against Utah. I’m thinking that maybe there’s a reason Phil kept trusting him during the season… maybe he saw this coming?

    Ron has been playing great tonight as well. Making shots, good defense as always, and that fast break with Pau was beautiful.

    Pau is once again the low post destroyer, and Kobe is… Kobe.

    This has been a very good first quarter. :)

  55. wow, ronronron

  56. That was as complete a qtr. as you could ask for. Great all around effort. Even Jordan with a steal!

  57. Defense, Defense, Denfense….

    One teams plays some, the other none. Simple as that.

    After the first time out the lakers forced the suns into taking their shots deep into the shot clock and that’s a sign of making them work.

  58. Amare is an awful defender. On that last Odom layup he was watching Gasol the entire time and didn’t even notice Lamar until he was going up for the shot. If the Suns are going to play zone Amare needs to pay attention and keep his eyes open. Or not.

  59. Other than a couple sloppy defensive possessions when Amar’e and Lopez had dunks, that was pretty much a perfect quarter. Defensive intensity is there, offensive aggression is there. We’re knocking down shots and making the Suns uncomfortable.

    The game changed completely when LO came in. Not that Bynum played poorly, he just can’t move. He makes slower rotations on defense and can’t cut to the basket the way Odom can.

  60. That’s how you end a quarter.
    Zone defense? What zone defense?

    Stat-Candyman watch:
    Stat = 8 points (4-of-6), 1 reb in 12 minutes.
    Candyman = 5 points (2-of-2), 1 reb in 6 minutes.

    Notable: Kobe with 6 assists already.

  61. If Artest finds his range from three point land the Suns are going to fade quickly.

    Seriously, if Artest and Fisher are connecting on open looks from the corner, how in the heck can you possibly defend?

    Single cover Pau? Kobe? Odom? Bynum?

    Ridiculous.

    If all of the up and down play of the regular season has lead us to the way the Lakers are playing right now, then it WAS worth it!

  62. Terrible, Terrible, Terrible…Phil should’ve called a time out after Dragic got that lay-up.

  63. Typical bench performance, coupled with a slowly recovering Bynum.

    and my comment is still in moderation.

  64. Jordan and Brown are looking silly at the moment…

    Shannon, how often do I need to scream at my monitor? If you are going to foul MAKE IT COUNT! If you foul and they make the basket anyway then WHY BOTHER TO FOUL?

    Mental mistakes…

  65. When is Phil going ot learn that you can’t put Brown and Farmer on the court at the same TIME!!!!!!?????”?

  66. Maybe try to run Dudley off of the EXACT same spot?

  67. 66, Yea, Kobe doesn’t do run off’s…

  68. These guards are made for the An one league not the NBA playoffs.

  69. Kobe late on Dudley = 6 Suns pts

    Let’s go, #24!!!

  70. Kobe is probably not the best guy to be guarding Dudley

  71. Over driving head down dribbling is a bad thing. Come on guys…

  72. I can’t help it: Joey Crawford just looks like a crook. Like the last person in the world that I would lend a dollar to. Doesn’t help that every call he seems to make is terrible, regardless of who it goes against.

  73. Kobe is 3 for 10 right now… That hurts. He needs to make some moves to the rim, draw some fouls, get some points at the line to get back on track.

  74. Since when was putting your hands down on closeouts a good idea? Is that supposed to confuse people?

  75. Yeah kobe isn’t fighting through screens and not hustling to contest the shot.

    Phoenix is getting hot and still down, lakers need need to slow the game down. Our bigs aren’t even trying to get position. Bynum didn’t during his stint in the second quarter, neither is gasol or odom.

  76. Why is brown still in the game????

  77. Kobe is 3 for 10, and we’re still ahead, despite everything…

    Let’s not panic yet.

  78. Odom needs to be on the floor with brown because brown cannot handle the ball

  79. Regarding Baldy Crawford, I’ve got say I feel the same. He is just a bad ref. I hate watching games he refs whether the Lakers are even playing or not.

  80. Let it rain threeeeees. When we run the offense to get the looks, they are WIDE open. And we’re knocking them down. This should only open up the paint later in the game. I’m good with that.

  81. Have the Lakers never heard of playoff fouls? Way too many easy and ones this game. Grab their arms or don’t foul.

  82. Like I said in the last game, maybe, just maybe for this series, it wouldn’t matter playing “stingy” defense, we are shooting 56% from the floor and 64% outside the perimeter. I’ll take that any day, (plus Kobe shooting 3-of-10).

  83. Every time the lakers get a good opportunity to extend the lead and establish momentum, they do something stupid on the offensive end. Then they give up an easy basket come down the floor execute and get a good shot. They just need to cut out the showing off, the quick 3s and turnovers (by odom early in the second when they were up 14) and they will be fine.

  84. Is it just me, or should Lebron not be allowed to be in any NBA commercials at all right now?

  85. Fisher with the driving layup!

  86. 65-56 end of 2nd.
    I’ll take this, we were up 7 coming to the 3rd. :)

  87. All of that, and occasionally a live interview with Sager…

    I LOVE the Ron Artest trade.

    : )

  88. just think if Kobe wasen’t forcing up some shots.

    We would have scored 75 points!

    Who was it that said the Suns have improved their defense?

    Need to be prepared for press and more Kobe doubles in 2nd half.

  89. Well, it’s closer than last time… or is it?

  90. Gotta play like back in the projects if Ron Artest didn’t play for the Lakers I would hate him lol.

  91. The lakers just need to cut out the mental mistakes in the second half. They are getting everything they want on the offensive end.

    Jerry Sloan was right when he said he wasn’t going to double Kobe (although he did in game 3) because it won’t matter, he’ll just find the open man. Kobe has 9 assist in the first half. I believe that’s the most he’s had in one half all season.

  92. 84/Mimsy
    It’s not just you.

  93. personally im a lakers fan. but this game is bull **** because its the suns vs. refs. thats it.

  94. @ Mimsy, lol I was thinking the same thing!

    As for the game, I’m very happy with how things are going. PHX is 6-12 from 3pt land and yet we’re still up by 9, that’s very promising to me. Granted we’re 7-11 from 3 which is bananas but PHX is leaving Ron wide open and daring him to shoot…sorry but that’s a stupid move to do in the playoffs when every single possession matters.

    Let’s hope for continued dominance for the 2nd half, GO LAKERS!

  95. It will be interesting to see what Jackson comes up with during halftime. Ideally, the Lakers would find some better angles to get Gasol the ball down low (and him doing a better job of sealing the fronting defender) and maybe also breaking the Suns’ full court/3-quuarter court pressure a little quicker so that they can play against a defense still finding their spacing. And of course, cut down the easy turnovers.

  96. Kobe not duplicating his game 1 performance. Part of that is the refs have collectively decided you can do whatever you want to him during the game. He’s getting no calls.

    I guess that’s what happens when you play on the road.

    Wait, what?

    Lakers are at home?

    Get out of here!

  97. Still laughing, “Mr. Bryant? I believe this is your mustard.”

  98. 93. “personally im a lakers fan. but this game is bull **** because its the suns vs. refs. thats it.”

    did you mean its the suns/refs vs. the lakers??
    Most close calls have gone to the suns and kobe isn’t getting any calls.

  99. I’ll take the 9 point lead & the fact that we scored damn near 70 pts in the 1st half …. Have to find a way to get Pau more looks …. Kobe will eventually find his shot, but he’s doing an excellent job finding the open man (9 Dimes) …. Might sound funny considering we have 65 pts in the first 24 mins, but Phoenix is actually playing better defense (frontin’ Pau, full court pressure & just better overall effort) …. Good job Ron Ron

  100. Hilarious, every single player who’s played for the Lakers has exactly 1 turnover.

  101. Simonoid, this is how we know you’re a geek. :p

    And yes, it is hilarious :)

  102. That was a timely timeout…

  103. Ok, let’s bring that D once again! :)

  104. What is Gasol doing right now? He needs to show up and start getting some buckets inside. Amare can’t defend him. He needs to get aggressive.

    The lakers are just flat footed on defense.

  105. Kobe’s defense is hurting us.

    Would someone tell fISH he is only 3 feet tall and should not go to the hoop.

  106. This is getting ridiculous, lakers are giving up way to many second opportunities. This is the best offensive team…as we speak they almost give up another one

  107. Artest gets an A+ for effort there.

  108. Odom lucky again.

  109. Another second opportunity to score smh

  110. Lakers conceding tempo for NO REASON…..rushing shots up after offensive rebounds and forcing transition against better numbers…Lakers energy not there either….bad signs

  111. And Pau with a dunk!

  112. Another bad shot by fisher, then another 3. If the lakers play an ounce of defense then it’ll be a blow out. another lay up as i type.

  113. What the bleep is Odom doing? The team should fining him for being a moron and giving them a point.

  114. i wonder if either team will consider some defense

  115. What’s with the delays of game?

  116. Now a technical foul…I’m sorry i’m disgusted by how the lakers are playing right now. They are getting everything they want on offense but can’t pull away by making bad decision after bad decision. Phil should’ve called a timeout 3 minutes ago.

  117. Okay. Who is this Dudley person? Seriously.

  118. Phoenix playing tougher and outhustling us…..first Laker offensive slump in this game and we are in big trouble.

  119. Kobe has to stay home on Dudley. How many open 3’s will he get until Kobe decides to guard him?

  120. Not that the Lakers aren’t caring, they are just protecting a lead, and it is showing.

    There’s a big difference when you are stretching the lead and protecting it.

    Darius, 3 out of 5 comments I make are always in moderation.

    Does my name go to the filter?

  121. Lakers came to play with regular season intensity.

    Suns playing their butts off.

    Lakers deserve to lose this game.

  122. The only defense either team is playing is free throw defense.

  123. The suns have successfully baited the lakers into not playing defense. Who gives a crap if the lakers are playing well on the offensive end. Their making way to many mental mistakes and not playing a lick of defense. If they do play defense they haven’t corralled the rebound and gave up about 10 points on second opportunities this quarter. The lakers are going to lose this game if they continue to play this way.

  124. No adjustments at all….

  125. when is kobe going to guard anyone

  126. Is anybody guarding Hill?

  127. Nash is a scary good shooter…

  128. Seemswho ever Kobe guards gets whatever shot they want…Jrich, Dudley and now Hill

  129. Well, at least we’re going to get treated to an exciting game.

    It’s funny how both teams are shooting above 50% from both the 2pt and the 3pt line, while deadlocked at 68% on the FT line.

  130. This is what happens when you don’t put the game away when you should. They deserve to lose this game.

  131. whoaw. this is the competition we’ve been looking for from these suns. they are on the run to outscore us and momentum is with them heading to the 4th. this is their best chance to steal one and tilt the balance. how will the lakers respond?

    a dash of kobe, pounds of post play and some more stifling D…. GO LAKERS!

    btw, did nash just block pau? gamecast can make things so hard for a fan.

  132. first its Richardson hiting everything and then it’s Hill. they are not even running anything complicated, we are just flat.

    Oh Boy, need to pick it up!

  133. LOL shush Mimsy.

  134. The suns have completely went back to the D’Antoni suns…the lakers have to. The lakers took all their shots no more then 10 seconds into the shot clock. The suns decided to make the lakers beat them at their own game, so far its working. The lakers aren’t displaying an ounce of discipline.

    Earlier I noted that whenever the lakers had the chance to get a bucket and establish momentum the did something stupid. The lakers were up 8 points, just got a stop…What does fisher do take a contested 3 five seconds into the shot clock and then the suns went down and drained a 3. Instead of being up 10 their lead was cut to 5 and the lost momentum after that.

  135. Shush? I’m a geek and proud of it! :)

  136. Lakers are falling back on old habits, not getting back on defense, turning the ball over, not going up with authority on the glass. They simply cannot afford to lose this game.

    If they lose this game, they may well come back here for game 5 down 1-3.

    I knew the Suns would come out tonight ready to prove that Monday was a fluke.

  137. Money quarter right here. Didn’t play any defense in the 3rd. Lets hope our reserves can give us a boost.

  138. Hmm, the brief 7-game run has been tempering with fan expectations. Come on, the game is tied, we have as good a chance as the Suns, if not better.

  139. “deserve” to lose? The most horribly overused sports cliche ever. Did you watch last years playoffs?They “deserved” to lose a lot of their games, but didn’t.

  140. Last time I checked this is a Lakers’ fan forum / blog.. Seems like it turned to a doom saying site.. What’s up with all the “deserve to lose this game”

  141. Farmar giveth, and Farmar taketh away.

  142. PAU!!!!

  143. kobe is just playing stupid defense. 1st team all defense????????

  144. if kobe leaves dudley again im going to kill some one

  145. Somebody guard Dudley… please?

  146. Smart play by Kobe waiting to for Odom to get open for the layup

  147. Kobe needs to look for his shot right now.
    4th quarter is Kobe time and close the door already!

  148. Kobe with defensive breakdown after defensive breakdown…….3 is less than 2…….stay on shooters, please!

  149. I guess Dudley needs to hit 10 3’s until we put a hand in his face. Let’s go guys!

  150. It’s okay if the Suns score, but the lakers need to make them work harder.

    They won game one because the lakers made them work on both ends of the floor. This game the suns decided they aren’t going to work on the defensive end anymore, so the lakers need to turn it up defensively. If the suns score they need to score late into the shot clock, but not giving up a wide open 3 like kobe did. The lakers have been jeckyll and hyde with their defense all season…Can we see dr. Jeckyll for 9 more minutes( smart defense and smart offense)

  151. Hopefully we can build a lead while Frye is on the floor.

  152. DO NOT ALLOW THE SUNS TO TAKE THE LEAD!

    thank you

  153. That was a terrible call, brown arms didn’t go away from his own body, ball don’t lie. and there we go lakers.

  154. Okay… stretch the lead out please.

  155. some ticky tack calls against us.

  156. FARMAR! for more!

    bench…nice nice…now let’s bring this to double digits.

    hey kobe aint the only one committing defensive errors =)

  157. YES KOBE!!!!!!!!!

  158. Jordan!

  159. just keep our composure and close this out. let’s see the championship play!

  160. we have Jekyll-and-Hyde fans too!

  161. 159. They go hand in hand right? lol

  162. was pau roaring on that and 1? nice line from kobe, 12 assists!

    and yes, am watching this via gamecast

  163. nicely done Fish. I take back everything I said

  164. Lakers reach the 100 point total first, therefore, Lakers win –

    Lawlers Law

    And I agree with him.

  165. time to make dudley look more like a liability….

  166. Fisher is so money at the end of games. Just heady play.

  167. We want tacos!

    We want tacos!

  168. Kobe is neatly contained by the Suns… and the rest of our team is filling in the blank. Pau, Ron, Lamar, Jordan, Andrew on defense, and Fisher overall… we are playing well.

    We deserve to lose? Balderdash!

  169. kobe carving up a nash-like line, with more points and boards

  170. That Gasol slip, I vote as cheekiest play of the year. ROFL.

  171. Also I propose we call STAT “Amare Stouemire”

  172. Gasol needs to make some freethrows. This game isn’t over. Kobe needs to stop playing lazy defense.

  173. So if we win this series, I vote we give a Amar’e a full set of Lakers WCF gear and a nice note saying: “Thanks! We couldn’t have done it without your defense.”

  174. thank goodness Dudley fouled out. the best defense on him yet.

  175. Odom doing the dirty work under the boards!

    Hey, Amare, is he still “lucky”?

  176. Empty the benches this game is ovah!

  177. That was such a lucky dunk by Odom.

  178. One great throw down from the “lucky” man.. Take that amare

  179. Great 4thQ Lakers putting the game in the frig

  180. The offensive execution in this period has just been dis-gus-ting.

    Post iso, no double, Gasol domination.

    Post iso, double, pass out, repost. Post iso, double, swing ball x 3, Odom uncontested dunk.

  181. Lamar has 15 points and 10 rebounds… obviously just another lucky night.

  182. So definitely, the Suns played better than Game 1, waaaaaaaaaaaayyyy better, including a 10-of-22 3-pt outing, Grant Hill, Richardson, and Dudley on fire, Steve Nash with 15 assists, yet they still lose by double digits.

  183. We got smart defense and smart offense to finish this game. The lakers slowed the ball down and start picking the suns apart. The suns can’t compete when the lakers are playing hard on the defensive end and smart on the offensive end.

  184. Mimsy: Just what I was thinking. Is it wrong for me to be yelling “lucky!” at the laptop screen every time LO grabs a board, makes a bucket or blocks a shot?

  185. and phil calls that tribute timeout with the game in hand late in the 4th. many things to take from this game (fingers-crossed dragic doesn’t score 20 in 2 minutes). glad we took their strong hit and buried them again and then again.

    GO LAKERS!

  186. odom is lucky…

    no need to establish that as fact….he has been even before he met amare…

    so amare, unlucky on D aren’t you?

  187. win by 12, score 124, here’s to another 124-point game next time

    GO LAKERS!

  188. Half way to the Finals. 10 down 6 to go

  189. that’s how you close out a game. Great work guys!

  190. Wow, left for lunch seeing the game tied, I didn’t think we’d lose, but I thought we’d be close.

    Well, the Suns played better; they scored more this time. ;)

    Still, nothing has been accomplished yet. We’ve only defended home court. Until we take one from them, the series has not begun.

  191. 179: I do the same thing :)

    Stoudemire: 18/6/1, 5 TO

    LO: 17/11/4, 2 TO

    That Odom is just too lucky for the Suns to handle I guess.

  192. Was this a statement in another way? “We won’t play defense for 3 quarters and we’ll still beat you”?

    Nah… hopefully it was enough of a wake-up call, though.

    17 points and 11 boards for Odom. Wasn’t a lucky day…

  193. Solid games from everybody. 58% shooting, 9-16 from 3 point range?!

    Amare’s defensive luck was abused by Pau.

    Kobe ripped the Suns D apart, his passing was really lucky tonight.

    Odom with the lucky boards once again.

  194. The lakers are averaging 126 points in the first 2 games of this series. 25 points over their season average. So much for the new and improved defense.
    The suns realized they can’t defend the lakers. Expect them to go back to their “old” style for the rest of the series.

    The suns shot 49%, 41% from 3 and scored 112 points. Thats almost exactly what they averaged in the regular season. I’ve been saying this from the get go, their average isn’t good enough and the lakers are just the better team.

  195. Really proud of the Lakers to withstand the offensive onslaught that PHX was dishing out to tie the game continually. Great poise in the 4th qtr, less mental mistakes, picked apart the PHX defense and kept going to Pau who Amare had no chance to guard.

    PHX did shoot great from 3pt land which they needed to do to make this a game but fortunately for us the Lakers did as well. Great game by LO but obviously he was just lucky though. Too bad we have to wait until Sunday for game 3!

  196. I haven’t eaten dinner yet. Anyone have Lamar Odom’s cell so he can loan me the lunch money he stole from Amar’e Stouemire?

  197. Not to mention Odom got 3 steals. Odom is dominating the Suns and Amare is getting dominated inside. He needs to amend his statement from lucky to too damn good.

  198. Didn’t watch the game cuz of the gym. watching highlights now.

    But i love how negative we get during the game. And by love, i mean a lil annoyed. Phx never had the lead since the first quarter.

    man. 6 left.

    I hope we’ll be able to beat Cleveland and Orlando since they have home court advantage.

  199. You know what really surprised me? Near the end of the last quarter, Kobe called 6 or 7 straight isolations for Pau in the mid-block. I have never recalled him doing that for anyone – not more than 2 or 3 possessions at a time, and that was for Shaq. For those who may disagree, remember that Kobe often called isolations for Shaq, but Kobe seemingly must get his after 2 or 3 buckets.

    And keep in mind that this was with his scoring streak of 30 points or more on the line. Granted, this is the playoffs and not the regular season, but the last time he had such a consistent streak (2003), he was forcing up shots left, right and centre to hit 40.

    It’s almost as if Kobe was trying to build up Pau’s confidence for the ultimate test coming up in 2 more wins. But the point I’m trying to make is that this level of trust from Kobe is unprecedented in his career.

  200. Hey Laker fans, is anyone else upset with all the bad calls by the officals against the Lakers. I have watched the playoffs the last couple of years and I am beside myself with all the non-calls for the Lakes and all the bad calls against them. Who polices these officals?? BAD BAD calls.!!!!! Yet the Lakers still WIN!!! The Lakers Rock!!!

  201. Amara a minus 16 tonight

  202. Great game tonight and lets continue to be lucky… I was really impressed with J Farm he played really well. There are some things he can do better but overall he played good. Lets just continue to get better. We do not play until Sunday so lets just rest up a bit and come out Sunday and go for there hearts.

  203. I didn’t post the entire second half, got a little nervous there for the first time in a week or so. It’s nice that Amare chose not to dominate the Big Spaniard tonight; because boy did he let it show. It was beautiful watching the execution when it got close. We’ll played indeed. A good test for what we will see in PHX (which I will be 6 rows back from the Suns bench yelling “lucky” at Amare nonstop!)

    I propose the recap is called something along the lines of “All Smiles”. I don’t think I’ve seen Gasol and Kobe smile that much during a game, let alone a playoff game. It wasn’t all pretty, but it all turned out right.

    Cross another one off the mirror boys and girls…we’re down to 6!!

  204. Maybe what Amare meant was that Odom is lucky because he gets to play against him for a series. That is a lucky matchup to get, since Amare is the worst defender I’ve ever seen in the NBA. ON that play where Gasol slipped the screen for the easy bucket, Pau was halfway to the rim before Amare even noticed and started chasing him. The dude just does not pay attention to anything going on.

  205. Odom rocks.. Lucky, no way. He played great the whole season… I love Kobe, but I also feel that Odom doesn’t get the props that he so deserves…

  206. Team seems to be having fun on the court and thats translating into victories. LA knows that Phoenix cant keep up with them when they put their blinders on and focus on the task at hand. The switch has been turned on, and it’s lights out for Phoenix. Maybe one game in the Land of the Suns, but I dont expect them to do much if Amare continues to imitate a matador on defense.

  207. 199. You made a good point about kobe getting Pau involved. I thought pau was hesitant in the first half and wasn’t playing up to par. But mid way through the 3 he start playing really aggressive and dominating. Amare can’t defend Gasol at all. We are going to need kobe and Gasol to dominate in game 3 on the road.

  208. 200. Joey Crawford officiated this game, enough said.

    He may be the only official in the history of the nba to run into a player and call an offensive foul on that player. Just youtube him.

  209. Well I think the fans need to get together and demand something be done. Cause obviously if the players or the coaches say anything they get fined. So wrong!!!

  210. That was a great TEAM effort. Six players in double figures. Bench played great ball. 36 pts, 13 boards, 6 assists, 5 steals, 1 block 13-19 FG, 4-4 3PT, 6-8FT.

    What I am happiest about right now, other than Lamar & Pau making A’m’a’r’e’ look like a cardboard cutout, is that Bynum showed that he may be limited by his knee he can still contribute offensively. I mean his numbers were tremendous playing less than 20 minutes. Defensively he will be somewhat of a sieve due to his inability to rotate quick enough and being unable to defend the screen roll well.

    While the defense was solid, it definitely needs to be ratcheted up in Phoenix. Channing Frye just seems unsettled by Lamar. If Channing does not come through for the Suns, it will be difficult for the Suns to take one from the Lakers.

    I cannot believe the Lakers are winning games with the opponent shooting 49% FG and 42% 3PT.

    Lastly, Grant Hill is a stud simple and plain. I remember Aaron Brooks saying in the playoffs last year that every team needs a Shane Battier. I think that sentiment should definitely be applied to Grant Hill. He is a class act that has persevered through injuries that derailed his career. There was a time when he was considered to be second to Jordan. His effort was tremendous. To be 37 and putting up the numbers he did, he is absolutely tremendous.

  211. Charles Barkely

    What do you call a power forward that gets 6 rebounds?…..A small forward lol

    That’s to you Amare.

  212. @ 207, it sucks but if we are ever in the position to lose a game because of the referees than we deserve to lose. No team should ever allow the referees calls to be able to determine the outcome of a game.

    PHX did great in the 3rd qtr when they played small, I’m wondering if they’ll continue that for longer stretched going into games 3 & 4. Only problem is I think the Lakers got a little to into playing the pace the Suns wanted to but I believe PJ will tell that to the team and adjustments will be made and we’ll just play with Odom instead of Drew and pass over their heads and pound it inside.

    What’s got to be disconcerting for PHX is they are hitting their averages, nearly shot 50% from 3 and yet still lose…doesn’t bode well in my opinion. Had to edit my post for this; Craig Sager asking Amare if the Lakers were lucky to win the first two games, lol!

  213. i’ve been listening to ESPN radio and hubie brown was mentioning how the triangle has been effectively run in Games 1 and 2.

    i’m not sure if this makes sense but learning to be comfortable with the triangle and perfecting it will be crucial for the lakers if they do advance to the finals. i think with the way Boston (assuming the Cs advance) has been playing D, the only way to beat them is executing the triangle — a react-to-the-defense offense — to perfection. except for the lapses in the 3rdQ, the discipline is there, the poise is there, the unselfishness is there and more importantly, the willingness to let the system work is there.

    of course, LA still has to play defense with the same type of discipline and i don’t know this series has tested that aspect of their game. but if i remember it right — and again, assuming LA and boston advance — it wasn’t the defense that killed LA in the 08 finals, it was their offensive execution. seeing them commit to the triangle (and hearing Ron say he’s getting more comfortable with it), that’s definitely something the lakers can build on as the playoffs progress.

  214. Aside from the start of second quarter, the bench is praise-worthy yet again.

    Odom, Farmar, and Brown combined for 36 poitns on 13-of-19 shooting, 4-of-4 from threes, outscoring the Suns’ bench by 10 (3 compared to 5)/

  215. I enjoyed the win, but I really wanna see the Lakers gear up their defense over the rest of this series. Time to get back the better habits we had against OKC and even Utah – too many open shots for the Suns. I wanna see them under 100 for the game… If we get past these guys, our defense is going to have to be solid and in tune, or it could be a long finals…

  216. So what exactly happened to the Suns vastly improved defense? 252 pts in 2 games. That’s some good D.

  217. Wow, Odom outplayed Amare with seven less minutes of playing time.

    Kobe’s showing facets in his game that I’m really digging. Well, not only him, but the Lakers are. This honestly seems like a totally different team from last season’s.

  218. Well earned victory. Got interesting in the 3rd, but I truly believe that games like this will benefit us in the long run. Too many easy games tends to soften up a team (i.e: Cleveland in the first 2 rounds of last years playoffs and Orlando in the first 2 rounds of this years ‘offs.)

    Once again, played excellent offensively, but we’ll need a much better defensive effort on the road. Kobe got caught napping too many times 2nite. 3 days off until game 3 will be beneficial.

    Much respect to J. Rich, Grant Hill & Dudley.

    Standing Ovations: Pau, Ron Ron & The Bench Mobb (I see You J. Farm.)

    10 Down. 6 To Go. Lets Get It.

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

  219. Amare was STATic tonight. Much appreciation.

    Great win. Props to Artest and Farmar for being solid from downtown. That said, we need to play better defense, esp closing out on Hill and Dudley. It seemed so often we were purposefully giving them oodles of space when it wasn’t necessary to stop the drive. This series could get knotted up in a flash, just a matter of a couple bench players getting hot and our bench getting cold.

  220. Hats off to the fellas for great poise and no messing around in the 4th Quarter. I posted plenty of complaints previously as the game unfolded, but overall I have to give Phoenix credit although they must be really demoralized. They got so much of what they were hoping for (improvement from 3, great bench effort, great overall energy and hustle, a Grant Hill mid 90’s flashback…great play from Dudley) and they still got put away. As with Utah, the Lakers offense has them checkmated. When the Lakers are patient there is virtually nothing Phoenix can do to stop us on offense. The key to the roadies will be more of the poise they showed in the 4th, as Phoenix will make runs at home.

  221. Amar’e got luckied tonight.

  222. Not going to lie. The Lakers Vs. Suns series has been pretty lame so far. Celts Vs magic has been a lot more entertaining.

  223. thanks Charlie! that’s my boy.