Lakers/Suns: Game 3 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  May 23, 2010

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Game 3 will be a test for the Lakers.

I understand that Phoenix has looked completely overmatched for the first two games.  However, home cooking does wonders for a team and with the third installment of this series slated for the valley of the sun, Phoenix will bring their best effort in order to try and get back into the WCF.  They know that a loss today essentially ends their 2010 playoff run and that will be a major motivating factor in them playing their best basketball in order to stay alive.

The one area that we can expect improvement from the Suns is in their bench production.  In the first two games, to nearly everyone’s surprise, the Lakers bench has outplayed their counterparts from Phoenix.  Odom, Farmar, and Brown have just been plain better than Frye, Barbosa, Dragic, Dudley, and Amundson.  However, as the old axiom states, role players play better at home and an uptick in production from the Suns’ reserves is nearly a given.  That means that the Lakers’ bench will need to continue their strong play from the first two games and match the drive of the Suns while also bringing a level of execution that can allow them to keep pace with (or better yet, outdistance) the high octane attack of Phoenix’s back ups.

But, this game will be about more than just the respective benches from each team.  We’re also likely to see a continuation of the adjustments that Phoenix began in game 2.

First and foremost, that means a defensive strategy that the Suns can lean on to slow the Lakers attack.  As we’ve discussed the Suns still have not found reliable options to slow either Kobe or Gasol.  However, that does not mean that they won’t continue to try.  To that end, I think we’ll see the Suns try to single cover Kobe and double team Gasol as much as possible.  From Phoenix’s perspective, Kobe’s game 1 can be looked at as a bit of a fluke.  He made an obscenely high rate of his outside jumpers and did so against solid defense from Hill and Dudley.  From my perspective, a lot of the shots that Kobe made in that first game you can live with him taking (you just have to hope he doesn’t make as many).  What the Suns can’t live with is Kobe controlling the game with his play making as he did in game two.  If’ Kobe is allowed to score 20+ points while racking up double digit assists the Suns are sure to lose.  Today I expect to see the Suns make Kobe go for 40 points and carry the offensive load.  If he can do it, good on him, but he’s going to have to prove it today.

As for Gasol, I think double teaming him in a variety of ways is the only way that the Suns can slow him down.  While fronting the post or denying passes with the half-front are decent techniques, Pau is simply killing Phoenix whenever he makes the catch.  At this point, I they’ll need to try and force Pau to be less a factor by taking the ball out of his hands.  Remember, Pau is almost too unselfish in that he’s always looking for the right play.  When being single covered by players that can’t guard him (Amar’e and Frye), Pau’s best option is too attack those players and get his buckets.  However, if the double team comes he will not force the action and will make the correct pass to the open player.  If you’re the Suns, making Pau a passer and players like Fisher and Artest scorers is still your best option.  So, from a Lakers’ perspective, today is a day where we’ll need the complimentary scorers to make shots in order to disrupt the best laid plans of the Suns.

On defense, the Lakers must continue to do what they’ve been doing in the first two games in order to disrupt the Suns P&R.  In game 2, the Suns made a subtle adjustment early in the game where they ran much more of their P&R’s to the sideline in order to free Nash up along the baseline.  This led to early buckets by both Lopez and Amar’e as the Lakers bigs were caught in the middle of no man’s land between helping on Nash and recovering to their own man.  I expect to see the Suns run more of this action rather than the standard P&R that is run to the middle of the floor.  In order to slow down this action, the Lakers must collapse harder from the top (to crowd the paint and disrupt interior passes) while also blitzing Nash with the length of our bigs to cut down his passing angles to the perimeter while also making it more difficult for him to take his own shot.

The other wrinkle the Lakers must be prepared for is the Suns’ small lineup with Dudley playing PF.  The Suns made their only sustained run of the game with this undersized group as they were able to successfully space the floor and open up driving lanes off their P&R sets.  These open lanes collapsed the Lakers defense and made it so Richardson, Hill, and Dudley got open shots that they knocked down.  When the Suns go to this line up tonight, all I hope to see is a greater effort from the Lakers defense to recover to shooters and contest shots.  Most of the Suns’ made baskets came with no Laker within 3 steps of the offensive player and those guys are too good of shooters to leave that open.  So, if the Lakers can recover and chase the Suns’ shooters off of their spot and make them dribble before they shoot I’ll be happy.  All I’m looking for is a disruption of rhythm.

In the past, the Lakers have not been the best performers in game 3’s.  They seemingly got over that hump by winning the third game of the Jazz series, but that game was a one point victory where the Lakers dodged two bullets at the end to secure the win.  Against an offensive team as capable as the Suns, it’s tough to imagine the Lakers being that lucky if a similar situation arises.  That means the Lakers must be ready to bring a level of execution and focus that they have only had to show sparingly in the first two games (the first 4 minutes of game 2’s 4th quarter, for example).  If the Lakers can bring that quality of play, I like their chances tonight and moving forward in this series (and beyond).  And speaking of beyond, I understand the want to look ahead.  Boston is now up 3-0 and look to be the East representative in the Finals.  That said, the task at hand for the Lakers is the Phoenix Suns.  So, like a good point guard, it’s good that the Lakers can see the entire floor and understand where all the pieces lie.  But the immediate concern is not the player in your peripheral vision, it’s the one that is standing right in front of you.  Beat that player and you’ve got a lay up.  Pay too much attention to the player that is coming from the side and you pick up an offensive foul.  Keep your eyes on the guy at the rim fellas and the rest will take care of itself.

Darius Soriano

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158 responses to Lakers/Suns: Game 3 Preview & Chat

  1. For Warren

  2. Tonight game will be within 3 points. I expect the best 3 point team in the NBA to be much better at home.

    I hope a big game by Drew also.

    Lakers down by 10 at half and then come back to win in a close one

  3. and for Charlie too!

  4. With a Boston winning last night, I’m worried the Lakers drop this one because they’re looking ahead…

    I hope I’m wrong.

  5. Or the Lakers have a laser focus knowing Boston is up 3-0 in their contest and they want to match that.

  6. Tough game tonight. Role players probably decide it. Also, keeping the Suns in the half court by taking disciplined shots on offense. Under 100 points would be ideal, though that’s going to be a tall order.

  7. I love the photo because it makes Pau seem like a giant compared to Frye

  8. Bynum provides some bulletin board material for the Suns:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=5211035

  9. Refs today are Eddie F. Rush and Tom Washington, with Monty McCutchen as crew chief.

    In the regular season, all 3 were at or near the top in # of fouls called per game, but in the playoffs, they’re down to around the middle of the pack. So, these guys are going to permit teams to be aggressive, but not too aggressive. They like to be in control, and might revert to their regular season form if things get chippy.

    The percentage of fouls they called on home/road teams is pretty much a split.
    \
    As far as refs go, I think the Lakers have a pretty good draw tonight. Let’s hope they make the most of it and are determined to win.

  10. Game 2 in LA- “We want Bos-ton!”
    Game 3 in Bos- “Beat LA!”
    Game 3 in PHX- “We want Re-funds!”

  11. Hope they have have “laser focus” tonight!

    Be prepared for Frye and or Amare to have much better games offensively and put in some actual effort on defense in front of the home crowd.

    Go Lakers!

  12. On point – we haven’t played our best ball in Game 3’s and so tonight will definitely be a bigger test than usual. Some of their role players will shake free for bigger impacts at home. I’m already expecting Phx’s bench to outplay ours tonight; if we’re going to win, it’ll be because of outstanding play from our starters + Odom.

    This is the arena where our season ended 2 years in a row. I’d love nothing more than to stick it to the Suns fans early and take the players’ wills away from them.

  13. Tempo. That’s going to be the key to 2nite’s game. Phoenix (which is already a fast paced team) is a lot like OKC, in which they tend to play much faster @ home. Control the pace & we put the nail in their coffin. Simple as that.

    Like Kobe said “we know what we have to do …. we’ve been here b4.”

    Like D. Fish said “I don’t think that there’s anything that can happen …. that we shouldn’t expect, per se, or plan for ….”

    Spoken like Co-Captains who are extremely focused on the matter @ hand. Also, with Boston winning, that should be even more motivation for us to handle our business come game time.

    10 Down … 6 To Go. Lets Get It!

  14. I’m hoping for a big game from Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown off the bench, and of course from Ron on the offensive end. If we can hit our outside shots and if Lamar and Pau can dominate the paint on offense as well as on defense, I think we can take this.

    I think we’ll have to fight for it, hard. But I think we can do it.

  15. The key is for the Lakers to jump on Phoenix early to put the crowd and players on their heels. If the Lakers have an early this will force the bench players (the strength of Phoenix) to play with added pressure.

  16. Turnovers are the key. If the Suns do come and double the post, our bigs need to make the passes either into the lane for easy scores or out onto the perimeter in order to re-post.

    If the Suns are doubling with bigs, make Amare be the help defender. If we force Amare into a role where he has to make defensive decisions (help, recover, shade, etc.), we will break down their defense. Defense is half mental and half effort; since Amare has neither, forcing him to be the help defender will be exploiting their weakest link.

    If the Suns are doubling with perimeter guys, our wings have to cut hard to the basket looking to score or draw contact with Amare and again, force him to make decisions (help or stay). So long as we space the floor properly, we should be able to pick apart any double team they throw at us.

  17. Wow Chibi how did you find out who the refs are? That’s suppose to more protected then Obama’s birthplace.

    Thinking again about Boston. I think Fish should guard Rondo not Kobe. Kobe needs to keep his strength for offense and I feel like fish can’t bump Rondo around enough like he did to DWill to keep Rondo angry.

  18. It’s going to be a close game with Kobe taking the game winning shot….

  19. Row 6 behind the laker bench….it’s like 60% laker fans!!

    Sash hasn’t missed, let’s hope he plays

    pau lookin strong…

    Life is good!

  20. Taylor: Music to my ears. Also, I’m a little bit jealous – but I guess watching the game on a computer in Stockholm at 2.30 am in the morning is almost the same thing;)

  21. I’ve got a bad feeling about this game. Lakers seem to be focussing on Boston too much. Phoenix isn’t Orlando, they’re not going to just roll over.

    An unfocussed Lakers team might get blitzed tonight…

  22. Well, Bynum may be focusing on Boston too much, but I doubt that’s true of the Lakers core of veterans.

    Say, anybody got a link?

  23. Speaking of Orlando, their coach is the one you want to play against. His players don’t play smart – he admitted as much in a press conference after game 2 vs the Celtics, and they seemed rather clueless against our heroes last year in The Finals. Wonder if he’ll be fired in the off season?

  24. Yeah, hate to be the one to bring it up for all those of us who don’t have TNT or cable, anyone got a link for the game? I tried Justin.tv and keep getting nonstarter links and pr0n ads.

    And yeah, it would have been GREAT to play the Magic again in the Finals, but think of how much sweeter a win against Boston would (will?) be…. :D

  25. If Pau picks up a 2nd as well, we’re in trouble..

  26. Amare is out for blood btw.

  27. Is this the Lakers’ homecourt? 8-of-12 to start the game. Now, let’s play defense.

  28. The pace is to faassstttt, we need to slow it down. Kobe is on fire!

  29. I will live with Derek Fisher going banana right now, if we need to survive the Celtics’ round, he needs to be as aggressive as he is now, and he needs to make Rondo play defense against him, in that way, Rondo will not be the help defender he would be against us.

  30. Rotations out to shooters are too slow right now.

  31. Kobe’s been unreal. And that last play with him and Pau was basketball pornography in its purest form.

  32. So Kobe is now doing both, 15 points and 4 assists, is he like betting against himself? 30 rebounds for Game 4 maybe?

    The suns are closer because of the 11 free throws made, and they are not going to shoot 33 more through 3 quarters, unless the refs….
    oh well, I don’t want to lose 100k.

  33. Mamba with a ridiculous first quarter. He’s on pace for 60 points, 16 assists, and 12 rebounds. Hehe.

  34. ShanWOW!

  35. I was going to type something coherent, but Shannon Brown’s dunk off that missed free throw made me completely lose my train of thought.

  36. 30.

    Way to early to be worrying about that. The Lakers are playing the Suns, not the Celtics. The Lakers still have to win 2 more games before they see Boston. Let’s just focus on this game.

    The pace needs to be slowed significantly. The Lakers cannot sustain this pace. The Lakers slow the pace, the defense will be able to set.

    The return of ShanWOW. Two GREAT plays. That block and putback on the free throw were great.

  37. This unit needs to abuse Frye by pounding it into Drew every single time.

  38. too much one on one play from the bench here…bynum is being guarded by frye, they need to get the ball inside

  39. Wow, I was sure that Shannon was going to try and dunk that, but instead he stopped, slowed down, passed to Farmar, and swooosh! goes the 3! :)

  40. 3 on Drew, 2 on LO and now 2 on Pau. This spells trouble.

  41. @Andreas
    Especially considering our entire team has had one single free throw attempt so far.

  42. It is very, very difficult to win with such a big free throw disparity.

    Good Ol’ Home Callin’!

  43. Mimsy: Jävla hemmadomare;)

  44. … dömer som dom vill, men i huvet står det still! ;)

    Sorry everyone… couldn’t resist :)

  45. Everybody spacewalkin’

  46. Just started watching via gamecast.

    Is PHX doing a good job denying our bigs? Amare certainly came to rebound, he’s matching Kobe’s rebound numbers ;)

  47. Odom needs to wakes up he getting killed on both ends of the floor, (well killing himself on the offensive end )

  48. Mimsy: :D

    On a more serious note: You can really tell that our big men are worried about picking up that third foul now. It’s affecting our interior D – that’s why Amare is getting all these easy ones at the rim.

  49. I’m not surprised Phil got a technical, he has a temper and I’m sure Andreas and I are not the only one upset about the complete lack of Lakers free throw attempts in this first half…

  50. We are fortunate to have the game this close, if the Suns had hit most of those J’s they missed, they would be up by 10-15, easily. Wow, a lot of fouls being called on Laker players so far.

  51. We need Odom to play well…

    I could swear that we are in Oklahoma City all of a sudden…

    Suns: 18 of 20 Free Throws.
    Lakers: 0 of 3 Free Throws.

    That is how you beat the Lakers. Play with 8 guys.

  52. At least the game clock worked on our favor to limit the damage…

  53. Suns are 18-20 from the line, Lakers 0-3. It’s almost amazing that the Lakers aren’t behind by more considering that discrepancy.

  54. The 2nd unit seemed clueless against the zone. Lots of perimeter passing and contested jumpers.

  55. Yea we are fortunate to be down only 7, this could easily be 15-20 if the Suns were hitting more 3’s. We can come back to win this game but, we need to somehow figure out that zone..

  56. hate when brown and farmar play together. it’s like they forget that pau is on the floor!

    c’mon guys, get it inside!

  57. Ladies and gentlemen, the true Odom is BAAAAACK.

  58. So now it’s a major concern that the Lakers shot only 3 FTs compared to Phoenix’s 20.
    But our mental break down happened during the early minutes of the 2nd.

    Too much isolation and one-on-one plays (Ron Artest I hear you), and a brain-farting Lamar Odom (the bad side we all complain about and don’t want to see).

    The only upside right now is the consistency of our 2 stars, Kobe and Pau combining for 31 on 15-of-22 shooting, plus the maturing (jinx?) of ShanWOW and the sudden hot-shooting J-Farm.

    Other than that, I expect to see a Laker-like second half.

  59. too much dribbling and passing around the perimeter, not enough drives towards the basket or passes into the post. Phoenix has a little more FT’s due to its aggressiveness and sometimes being in the right place at the right time. There is a little hometown love tho i think

  60. I can’t believe the lakers were not prepared for the zone. They were absolutely terrible executing against the zone.

    9 turnovers, the lakers need to clean it up. The lakers can’t afford giving the suns that many extra possessions, especially in one half.

    Odom is terrible right, 1-7 and 0-2 from the line and he’s been lost on the defensive end that entire second quarter.

    So far the suns defensive game plan is working which is pray the lakers miss their shots (that’s the zone in a nutshell).

    Kobe and Gasol are playing well but the can’t outscore the suns.

  61. And fisher is playing well don’t want to forget that. but the suns are shooting 37% the lakers need to stop fouling so much and play some defense.

  62. The Lakers could have made the Suns abandon the zone of they would have made some of those gimmies. But with all the misses inside (mostly by Odom) and the settling for jumpers on too many other possessions, the Suns were able to stick with it. And then all the misses fueled their transition offense.

    I’m concerned about the FT discrepancy, but that’s something the Lakers are just going to have to play through. The Lakers D has been playing okay, but they’ve been fouling too much and it’s allowing the Suns to score when an empty possession was waiting.

  63. Darius, good call in the game preview that Kobe would go off for a lot of points tonight. He did that in the first, but in the 2nd they started sending two defenders at him and his production dropped off.

  64. Very surprised that we haven’t been able to crack their zone …. We’re playing as if we’ve never seen it b4. Had to know @ some point in this series that they would go to it …. LO & Ron Ron (My N.Y.C. Brethren) are no shows so far …. The Suns are EARNING their trips to the line; so the refs ARE NOT to blame …. They shot MORE free throws than us in the 1st quarter & we still had THE LEAD @ the end of the period …. Our offensive execution against the zone IS TO BLAME …. I’m pretty sure we’ll have the remedy in the 2nd half

  65. If that call on Bynum was a foul then EVERYTHING inside is a foul…

    Seriously, give me a break…

  66. zomg, they actually are sending us to the line!!!

  67. Very poor 1on1 defense by Bynum on Amare. No need to play up on Amare so tight and just let him walk around you. I’d rather give up the jump shot than give up fouls and free throws and And1’s.

  68. where was the foul on Richardson?!

  69. The lakers just don’t want to defend.

  70. Gasol and Odom are flatfooted and ball watching on the defensive. They aren’t being the least bit aggressive.

  71. Joel: It’s due to foul trouble as well. If they were to pick up fouls, we’d see a stellar frontline of DJ and Josh.

  72. The may as well put bynum back in the game. It’s not like Bynum will play alot of minutes in the 4th. Odom is a complete non factor, which is typical Odom. Doesn’t odom get a life time supply of powerbar energyblast candies.

  73. We’re still well in the game. Problem is, what’s going to happen once the benches come in?

    We really need to win this one if we wish to keep playing our starters heavy minutes.

    As for Odom, I would’ve cried body snatchers if Odom played 3 straight games of double-double worthiness.

  74. Robin Lopez is now my least favorite Suns player.

  75. 72. Obviously is because of foul trouble. But they aren’t even contesting jumpshots. If Amare or Lopez get a step on them, then fine concede the dunk it no point of picking up a ticky tack foul while giving up a 3 point play. Bu they have to do a better job of defend (gasol just gives up an easy basket then turns it over)

  76. Then odom gives up a ticky tack foul.

  77. Is that 3 blocks for Shannon.

  78. Or maybe the bench (brown) will spark something.

    Wow.

  79. I’ve trouble admitting that we’re shooting 50%+ ball and still behind. Then again, the Suns are shooting 91% or so from the line, with many more attempts than us, but we are also shooting fairly poorly with what we’ve earned (5-8).

  80. We’re still only down by 4. It’s not over yet. Not by far.

    EDIT:
    And Kobe proves my point!

  81. Joel,
    The Suns offensive bigs are being much more aggressive and the Lakers bigs are in foul trouble. That last foul by Odom was actually because Amar’e went against his scouting report by driving hard to his left hand and he beat Pau. Odom reached in to stop a lay up. We’re never going to hold the Suns down completely. Even in the first two games, the Suns scored well. It’s our offense that needs to pick it up some. We’ll end up getting some key stops, but we need to score too.

  82. Link?

  83. That Barbosa dude plays awfully like this Sasha guy we have.

    Then again maybe not…

    Kobe channelling both game 1 & 2 in this game. will he go for 40 pts AND 13 assists? If his 3ball starts falling…

  84. @83
    Darius posted this link earlier, it’s working for me:

    http://atdhe.net/19641/watch-los-angeles-lakers-vs-phoenix-suns

  85. Despite all the foultrouble, the Lakers are still right in this. With Pau and Kobe on the team, I like our chances. The only question is whether Phil will be able to give them any rest.

  86. really shannon ,really?

  87. What did Brown do to give away that foul with 1.5 secs left?

  88. What’s up with the ticky tack fouls at the end of the quarter. Shannon wouldn’t have gotten called for the foul if he didn’t reach. The lakers are just give up way too many free points.

    But they did clean up the turnovers on 2 in that quarter and picked up on the offensive end. Is it safe to say kobe has a quiet 26, 10, 6 but those 4 turnovers are ugly. Can we get one good quarter out of Odom, if so the lakers win.

  89. Amare realized that he has only a few more games to make his case as a top market free agent…

  90. hey, anyone can tell me what happened? Bynum 6:47 mins of play but with four fouls and not playing?

  91. Gasol should’ve went to work on that play.

  92. JH, nothing happen he’s just in foul trouble.

  93. Money quarter, leading the battle of the fouls so far.

    Now the problem is, when do we rest Kobe and Pau, and what happens if we do?

  94. Hello everyone,
    First time poster, long time lurker:)
    This FT discrepancy is a effin joke.
    “Suns are playing 5vs8″…

  95. Despite some bad shooting, it’s good to see Odom being aggressive.

  96. @harold
    We don’t. They can rest in July.

  97. Harold- we don’t. Go for the win.

  98. Amazing that Lopez is outscoring Bynum 18 to 2. Foultrouble sure, but still.

  99. I blame the camera angle for that 3 by Richardson. Seriously, how am I supposed to be able to follow the game when the camera starts crawling along the side lines?

  100. Yeah this one, if it’s a loss, is going to be falling on the shoulders of the front-line.

  101. Mimsy, Josh ; yeah, I don’t think we can afford to take them out.

    Speaks volumes about their intensity, dedication and toughness – I tend to get winded playing 20 minutes of ball, cherry picking and contesting shots with my 10 inch vertical.

    Anyway, let’s get some stops here, and please don’t throw our prized possessions away, especially not when the Suns are making the most of them.

    I hope Kobe’s 3 pter returns, because he will launch them.

  102. Lakers playing stupid now…unforced turnovers.

  103. The lakers defense has just been terrible today. If they are going to win this game they have to get stops and not give up wide open jumper, then foul, wide open jumper then foul. Their offensive execution has been terrible as well.

  104. Swinging the ball aimlessly around the perimeter isn’t going to get it done. Damn this is frustrating. I’m OK with that charge on Odom, thank God someone attacked.

    If we win this game, our 2 stars will have to carry us. I don’t see the role players (aside from Fisher) being able to effectively attack this zone right now.

  105. I wish I didn’t say anything about TOs and Kobe 3s… but then again, been watching too many games.

    COMPOSURE! PLZ!

    Kobe feeling his minutes…

  106. This game is over. Well i’ll just get back to my paper.

  107. If our wide open shots would just go in, this game would be a tie.

  108. Let us see if we have the determination here in the last 4 minutes…

  109. Thankfully, we suddenly get a flurry of calls to make this one interesting.

    It’s still going to fall under the category of too little too late if we don’t take care of the ball when they give it to us.

  110. Maybe we should consider playing defense these last 4 minutes, just maybe.

  111. Oh, and the Suns are not playing better defense this game. We’re just not making our shots.

  112. Mental collapse.

  113. Odom fouls out. Urgh.

    Let’s hope we get some stops. stops. stops.

  114. Well Odom was due for a stinker. Let’s hope he got 2 games of suck out of his system in this one. I think the early aggressiveness by Amare really got him thinking about fouls and took away his rhythm.

  115. Odom fouling out… best thing that can happen to lakers tonight

  116. Why do we keep shooting 3s???

  117. The Lakers are really shooting like Channing Frye right now.

  118. Why didn’t phil go with bynum to start the quarter. What the hell are the lakers doing. Laker just beat themselves. Very disappointing. The lakers needed a timeout 5 minutes ago. Whats the point of calling one when they are down 10 points.

    Unforntunately I was right when I said it was over around the 6 minute mark. The lakers continued their poor offensive execution, kobe is a non factor this quarter, he looks tired, not sure why phil broke his normal rotation patter the lakers were only down 2 points. But the lakers lost this on the defensive end. They basically fouled the suns or gave them an uncontested jumper every time down. Terrible.

  119. Why is it that in every game we trail, we start launching 3 pointers like we are undisciplined children playing me-first ball?

    It’s time for and-one grittiness, not hail mary’s…

  120. Oh well, pretty much everything went wrong tonight and it was still a close game. Lakers in 5 – book it.

  121. Pretty atrocious play here.

  122. Or not…

    Not a good game from Odom, and bad defense all around.

  123. You know the Lakers have checked out when they are jacking up so many threes.

  124. Lamar was certainly stupid Lamar tonite. The only problem with his fouling out is that Ron decided he had to shoot another 3ptr.

    Just zone the Lakers; they will often shoot themselves out of the game when you do this.

  125. It’s strange. The Lakers are playing as if they’ve never seen a zone defense before.

  126. Well this one’s in the bank. Hopefully we’ll get some more great video breakdown from Phillip. We seemed completely unable to attack the zone this entire game. We tried to get the ball in the post, but they sagged in and did a great job of denying the entry passes. Also, Shannon Brown is a horrible entry passer. When that didn’t work, we resorted to aimlessly swinging the ball around the perimeter and hoping something would open up. Offensive fail tonight.

    With Artest’s game, the more frustrating thing to me (than the missed shots) was the constant hesitation he still shows everytime he catches the ball. He needs so much time to read the court that he allows the defense to slide into place, and negates the benefits of quick, sharp passing.

    If a miracle happens now, it’ll come from Kobe or Gasol.

  127. Yea there is no way the Suns will win this series, everyone except Kobe and Gasol played well, turnovers, terrible defense, and the free throw difference, and the Suns had Lopez play like an Allstar tonight. Oh and the game was pretty even until midway through the 4th.

  128. Amare had a lucky game tonight.

  129. Guys, the FT difference was because of the way we played. We didn’t attack the zone, we stayed out on the perimeter and forced jumpers. We weren’t playing 5v8, we were playing some passive 5v5.

    In the first half, when Kobe didn’t go to the line? He was taking (and making) all midrange or long jumpers. When he started attacking near the end of the game, he got to the line.

    Let’s keep the whining about the refs to a minimum. Sometimes, it’s warranted. But you can’t just look at the FTAs and say “Look! The refs hate us!” We didn’t attack hearly as much as the Suns did. There were a few times when Amare was hit on a FG and I thought he could have gotten an and-1 after watching the replay. The refereeing wasn’t biased in favor of 1 team. The Suns earned those FTs, and we earned our trips to the FT line.

    Amare really needs a PR person. Even after a great game he manages to come off like an arrogant jackass.

  130. Well, we need Hills to climb in order to see the glory in the mountain-top! :)

  131. anyone else want to see sasha or luke against the zone? better passers, and can shoot the 3 if necessary. jordan and shannon just pass the ball around the 3 point line back and forth, back and forth, waiting for a miracle to happen.

    i am so pissed right now. (american sense, not british, although that may have to follow.)

  132. lots of ticky tack fouls,42 FT’s to 20??

    Lamar was awful..

  133. That’s what happens when you have something like 6 turnovers in the 4th quarter and only 3 guys out of 8 show up. Kobe, Gasol, and Fisher all played great, but 32 points on 12-38 shooting from everyone else will not get us wins.

    Like I said before the game started, turnovers were key, just perhaps not in the way I thought they would be.

  134. Mark: Agreed. This is all part of the grand masterplan to get the team prepared for the Celtics;)

  135. I said Lakers in 6 earlier this month. If I’m right, we have to lose two… this was one of them. We’ll be back. Count on it.

  136. This game boils down to three factors…

    1) Bad interior defense on the part of the Lakers. What is supposed to be one of our strengths was made our weakness by an aggressive Stoudemire and Lopez. That aggressiveness was rewarded time and time again by the referees. Amare and Robin should NEVER score 62 points in a game… Ever.

    2) The Lakers shot selection. Jacking up 32 three pointers is the sign of a weak willed team. Making only 9 of them is a sign of the Lakers we have seen all season. Why did the Lakers not attack the interior of the zone? Why are we still asking that question in the Western Conference Finals?

    3) Free Throw disparity. Again and again, the Lakers are on the short end of the stripe.

    Suns: 37 Points on 42 Free Throws.
    Lakers: 16 Points on 20 Free Throws.

    Suns: + 21 Points and + 22 Attempts…

    So, even with the Lakers defending poorly in the paint, and jacking up turnovers cleverly disguised as three point shots, the actual difference in game was the Suns getting more than DOUBLE the Free Throws and more than DOUBLE the Points from the third team on the floor.

    The Lakers COULD have shown more toughness. As has often happened this season the Lakers DID become timid, both defensively and offensively, once the whistles started to go against them. You would think they would be used to it by now, but apparently not.

    When the whistles are going against you as a team you must get MORE aggressive, not less.

    Very frustrating game to watch, and very annoying as a fan.

  137. Kobe almost had a triple double but the team shot to may 3’s I’m not worried about the series Lakers will win Tues and close these guys out at the house. It’s all about ratings fellas the league cant afford to have both series end in sweeps and then have the finals start on june 2 people will forget bout the nba!! I would be willing to bet that orlando as bad as they look muster up some pride and win Mon night so whatever

  138. The headline at espn/nba is just “Suns Win.” C’mon no burning or rising sun analogies? Did ESPN writers go on vacation?

  139. They need some ‘rising from the ashes’ analogies here.

    Anyway, we as a team are so used to dagger 3s that the team automatically starts jacking 3s when we’re down in the 4th quarter, often leading to quick scores for the other team and foul trouble.

    The Suns were in the penalty, and when down, all you have to do is pound the ball inside and draw fouls.

  140. I agree that the Suns got more free throws because we shot a lot of threes…to a point.

    But the 20-3 FT advantage was not all because of zone. And any coach will tell you that when you get a lot of fouls called that early in the game, your guys get tight on defense and on offense.

    42-20 doesn’t bother me, but you’d have to ignore a pretty big problem on the first 23 foul shots all night.

  141. That being said, I expect the Lakers to win the next game. We won just about every statistical category other than FT’s.

    We play smarter defense in the next game and we win even without playing smarter against the zone.

    Not that I don’t think we’ll play better against the zone. I think we’ll see much improved play.

  142. Can’t believe we played 2nite as if we’ve never seen a ZONE Defense b4. They played Zone from the 2nd quarter on &, besides from a mild stretch in the 3rd, we never made the necessary adjustments. We never attacked it. 32 Three Pt FG Attempts? Too many turnovers in the 4th quarter also contributed to our downfall.

    As far as the Free Throw Discrepancy goes, Doug Collins, arguably the best in-game analyst, correctly stated “When you’re playing a zone, you don’t foul nearly as much.” That, on top of us shooting (and missing) so many 3’s, led to them having the advantage @ the line.

    Much respect to Amare for a dominating performance. He definitely was more aggressive 2nite & Robin Lopez continues to impress.

    Ron Ron & LO (combined 8-27) were no shows 2nite.

    I predicted we would win this in 5, so hopefully, it’ll come to fruition.

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

  143. This is very simple.

    1) The refs let us play physical with them in LA. In Phoenix, the refs let the Suns have the calls in their favor.

    2) Our bench doesn’t play well on the road. That’s given us the edge in the first two games.

    3) Anybody know where Lamar is? I didn’t see him in this game.

  144. Yea, I’m sure Amar’e and the Refs will combine for 80 points again *rolls eyes*. We got Stern’d.

  145. The Lakers lost this game because Amara and Lopez killed the Lakers.

    We are suppose to have the bigger team but we do not have a center.

    Every playoff game in Andrew’s 4 years with the Lakers he has NOT shown up.

    Andrew the BIG Excuse once agine stood around and had more fouls then points. 2 points and 2 rebounds.

    This is his history. He lacks the heart to be a impact player and I can’t imagine what Boston’s front line will do to us with our no-show center.

    $10 million for a guy who after 4 years still plays like a 17 year old rookie.

  146. Wow. I knew I should have watched Lost instead of this game.

    But seriously, the free throw disparity was huge. Obviously. But our interior defense was just terrible. Amare was aggressive, but we seemingly did not offer any resistance, and when we did, we fouled. The defense was lazy and our big men were not moving their feet. Lamar was just terrible. Period. Bynum should not be out there. Period. We took way too many threes and played right into that zone defense. Our turnovers came at the worst times and our entry passes need work. The zone was slightly more aggressive than we’ve seen from the Suns, but still very soft. We exposed it in the third quarter by simply getting the ball to the middle of the floor instead of passing it around the perimeter. We got lazy in the 4th and continued to jack up threes.

    The good things to take away from this game (although I personally don’t think there are many moral victories in losses) include the individual offensive play of Kobe, Fisher and Pau. Fisher hit a number of his shots and played within the offense and Pau did a great job of finishing at the rim by keeping the ball high. His jumpshot also looked great from 12-15 feet. And Kobe. What a performance. When they played him single coverage, he torched ‘em and when they doubled him and zoned up, he made some great passes and didn’t force the action. He took a few ill advised threes in the fourth, but who didn’t? Overall Kobe had a magnificant game in a losing effort. Another positive is that there’s no way we should have been in this game with and 22 free throw disparity. Just mind-boggling. Hopefully LO will show up next game and Pau will figure out how to move his feet. I think we’ve figured out the zone, we just have to be more patient and work for shots closer to the basket the way we did in games 1 and 2. And our team defense needs to step up. Big time.

  147. #146. Ken,
    I know you’re upset that the Lakers lost. But please try to get some perspective on this game. Yes, Amar’e went wild. But to blame Bynum or turn this game into a reason to knock on ‘Drew isn’t the wise approach. Bynum had a rough night. So did Odom. So did Artest. So did Brown, and Farmar. The only Lakers that played well were Kobe, Fish, and Pau.

    Like I said, I know it’s hard to lose. But let’s not overreact here. It’s one game. The team will play better than they did tonight in future games. Now is not the time to start to rip the players.

  148. I understand Darius but why did Lopez have 20 points? This has been the rap on Andrew his entire career in playofs games. Look at his number his entire career.

    The Lakers win this game if our center dosen’t get outscored by a avarage player in Lopez by 18 points.

    no more excuse for this guy and Phil agrees. Andrew will not be playing in game 4 per phil Jackson.

  149. Ken,
    Bynum played 8 minutes (compared to Lopez’s 30) and has been gutting it out on a torn meniscus. Feel free to kick the guy while he’s banged up, but I won’t do it. And I’ll defend him against anyone that does. He’s not healthy, but he’s trying. That may not be good enough for you and tonight he didn’t help the team. But I happen to think that Bynum’s a good player. We detailed in the run up to this series that the Suns (with their personnel) were going to be a bad match up for Bynum (especially with his injury). Now that it’s playing out the way that we thought it might, trying to rip him seems petty and off base. Like I said before, this was a bad game. Andrew and the team will play better in future games.

  150. With the exception of the play of Kobe and Pau, nothing really broke right for us in this game. We got into some early foul trouble that got us onto our heels a bit in the beginning, we did not get the ball into the paint with any consistency leading us to settle for 3’s far too often, we missed other 3’s that were good looks, and amare and lopez had standout performances. Despite all of that we were still right there at the end of the game. Give phoenix credit as their zone defense really disrupted our offense. Our inability to make the proper adjustments throughout the game doomed us in this one. That being said, there is a reason that teams in the nba don’t play zone typically; because it is vulnerable in several areas that most nba teams are able to attack with relative ease, especially in the high post. We appeared to be surprised by the zone in this one but I think that after a day of film-watching and practicing that that won’t be case on Tuesday. I expect to see a much more focused zone attack on Tuesday with our guys having a greater understanding of where their shots will come from against this defense. I also expect that amare and robin lopez will not score a collective 62 points on 32 shots. This game was a frustrating one as a laker fan but it was a loss to a team that is talented and was playing a must-win game at home. I think the lakers make the proper adjustments and win game 4.

  151. 149 – Isn’t young ‘Drew injured?

    Might that partially explain his problems on the court?

  152. Ok I respect your thoughts. He is not playing in game 4 and our best chance to beat Boston comes with him being at least on the court not fouling 3 times in 8 minutes.

    I just feel he is missing that intangable basketball IQ. He has talent but how long do the Lakers wait for it to show up for more then a few games a year.

    I would be surprised if we see Andrew again in this series.

    R-that is my point. He seems always to be coming or going from some injury in 4 years. When is enough enough? Sam Bowe, Ralph Sampson and Greg Odem had great potential also,

  153. Numbers that killed the Lakers tonight:

    35-suns free throw points

    32-Laker Three point attempts…..

    Darius, has reasonably so, called for a moratorium on indivdual call outs, so let’s stick to key “team sequences”

    To me, the Lakers closed the 2nd half poorly because of mental weakness-the suns’ zone held up for one pass and the Lakers were either trying to crack it with one sensational pass when two simple ones would have done the trick-this led to To’s= the only way Phoenix can slow our offense down or, as my friend has been calling it for years, “the moronic three.” Both lead to instant offense for Phoenix and by instant, I mean that the Lakers were taking the ball out of the net within 7 seconds of their foul ups.

    the other big sequence was the Lakers’ failure to create seperation at the start of the 4th. In Games 1 and 2, Phoenix stayed true to itself and sat Nash to start the 4th. In Game 1, he never made it off the bench. In game 2, the Lakers had seized control and a working margin by the time he came in. tonight, Gentry held to form, and the Lakers could do no better than play the Suns even, and that’s a win for the Suns. Phil strayed from his pattern of sitting Kobe for a stretch of the 4th, and the Lakers were ultimately done in by a 6 minute scoreless drought and fantastic offensive games by Amar’e Stoudemire and Robin Lopez.

    Moving forward, the Lakers need to return to the discipline that elicited two outstanding offensive performances and they need to pick it up defensively….the energy was not there on that end tonight and playing only 8 guys (essentially 7 given Bynum’s virtual no show in terms of court time) has opened us up to a significant challenge. The deeper team wants the series to go longer, so if the Lakers don’t answer the bell on Tuesday night, attrition becomes a serious concern. disappointing is the word tonight, because this was a very winnable road game. Credit to Phoenix, now we’ll see what happens on Tuesday.

  154. It is a bum deal about Bynum, because without him we go from a deep front line to a thin front line. But the kid just doesn’t look right out there, and from all reports, hasn’t even practiced in weeks. How can we expect much…. Kind of wish he would have had the little mini surgery and spent the two or so weeks recovering. He’d be coming back right about now – I think we could have beaten Utah w/o drew…

  155. damn I’m studying in Israel and there’s only one lakers fan that I know of in the entire city I live in (of 50,000)! I wish I could teleport some of you guys over to watch and discuss the intricacies of our beloved squad! Or vice versa teleport myself back over to LA (I live in Encino at home).

    I didn’t see the game, but as others have said, the way you break the zone is really quick n’ crisp passing, which shannon, jordan, and ron are not always capable of. Hopefully fill and the staff can make them a little more aware of that, because unless the suns are idiots – which they’re not – they’re going to do the same thing next game. So we’ve got to have 5 guys on the floor that are going into our offensive set knowing the ball will be passed quickly at least 4 times before a shot goes up. The only exception would be if a wing player sees an opening. I always loved zipping it to a post player down low from the top of the key if I saw that opening- such a tight-looking play. Anyways, if we can make that basic adjustment, we win game 4.

    And obviously, we need to continue doing defensively what we did in the first two games, and hold ‘em to their season average or less. I haven’t checked but I would imagine they had a losing record in the regular season when they scored less than their average, and especially if when they scored less than 100.

  156. Sweep huh? Automatic series with Boston? Hell no!! Maybe the Lakers fans will now realize this is an actual series. Go Suns!!