Lakers/Suns: Game 4 Preview & Chat

Darius Soriano —  May 25, 2010

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The difference between being up 3-1 and tied 2-2 is monumental in a 7 game series.  For the Lakers, it’s the difference between a sure trip back to Phoenix for game 6 and the prospect of closing out the series on your home court.  It’s the difference between a series becoming a best of 3 where anything can happen and the chance to have three contests to earn a single, elimination inducing, victory.  It’s the difference between being in control and facing a very uncertain path to advancement.  After the Lakers were up 2-0, this series looked well in hand but if the Lakers don’t win tonight they’ll be back to square one and tied up with a team that will have a boatload of confidence for the remainder of this series.  For the Lakers, winning this game is tantamount to winning this series.  Sure, getting that final, closeout win will be difficult, but the Suns’ hopes would be reduced to a sliver if they fall tonight and that should be the only thing that’s on the minds of the Lakers.

And in order to get the win tonight, the Lakers need to get back to playing smart and focused basketball.  We’ve already discussed how settling for the easy play will not work against this Phoenix team, so the Lakers must be willing to outthink and outwork their counterparts to secure the victory.  If they do those things, they’ll be fine.  If they don’t…you get the point.  So, what are the keys to outthinking and outworking the Suns?  I’m glad I asked…

First and foremost, the Lakers need to understand that the Suns approach has changed from the first two games of this series.  In game 3, Phoenix was much more active and decisive in their offensive sets and the Lakers spent nearly the entire game reacting to what the Suns were doing and not nearly enough dictating.  So, the Lakers must get back to setting the terms of how this game is played and that starts on defense. 

Against the Suns’ P&R, the Lakers must make Nash hold the ball for that extra second to allow the help defense behind the primary defenders to get into position on a diving Amar’e (and Lopez).  The Lakers can accomplish this by fighting harder over the top of screens and having more active hands in the passing lanes when Nash attempts to turn the corner.  In the last game, both Fisher and Farmar got caught on the Suns’ screens much more frequently and that gave Nash the “pocket” that he needed to execute the bounce passes that fueled the success of Amar’e and Lopez when they rolled to the hoop.  By fighting harder on screens the Lakers will 1). be forced to switch screens far less often 2). make the screen man hold his position, which ultimately disrupts the timing of the P&R action and 3). make Nash go to his 2nd and 3rd options on this play rather than allow him to make the simple (for him, at least) bounce pass to a player on a direct line to hoop. 

But, it’s not just in the team defensive schemes where the Lakers need to perform better.  Individually, the Lakers must also be less giving in their approach and not allow the easy driving lanes that broke down their interior defense and caused all of the Lakers bigs to get into foul trouble.  Both Amar’e and Lopez drove hard into the paint and took it to the bodies of the Lakers bigs, but they were only able to get that far because their defenders didn’t play defense in a way that showed an understanding of what these players like to do.  I mean, both Amar’e and Lopez are strong hand dominant players off the dribble.  Both almost exclusively to go to their right hand and then make their offensive move based off getting an advantage with that first step.  They must also understand what each player likes to do when he drives – Amar’e likes to stay to his right and then use his elite athleticism to elevate and finish while Lopez is much more comfortable going to a counter move where he ends up with his back to the basket so he can execute a little jump hook over either shoulder.  The Lakers bigs need to understand these tendencies and respond accordingly.  But, they’d be better off if they just denied penetration to these players’ strong hands entirely.  So, Pau/’Drew/Odom all need to force these guys to go to their left hand and then contest without fouling.  In the last game, the Lakers not only let these guys get to their strong hands, they often reached in when they were beat and committed fouls.  More discipline and smarts will be required this evening.

And this concept of playing smarter also applies to the offensive side of the ball.  When the 4th quarter of game three started, the Lakers were only down two points.  And in that final frame, Pau Gasol shot the ball one time while the Lakers wings unsuccessfully bombed away from behind the three point arc to the tune of two makes in ten tries.  And this poor play was only compounded by the Lakers trying to force passes and playing an overall sloppy period where turnovers gave the Suns the extra possessions they would need to create the cushion that could not be overcome.  Tonight, the Lakers need to recognize that settling for the easy play is not the answer and work the ball around the court and into the paint to get the types of shots that will break down the Suns defense.  For examples of how to do this, they need only watch the game film from the 3rd quarter where the Lakers used the high post flash to great success and were able to create easy baskets by hitting baseline cutters or wide open shooters after the defense collapsed. 

The Lakers must also take a page from the Suns game 3 notebook and get aggressive themselves.  Besides always looking to penetrate the zone via the pass, the Lakers must also get into the creases of the Suns’ defense off the dribble.  Much like the Lakers did in the last two games of the OKC series, using the dribble with the purpose of getting into the gaps and forcing help will go a long way in breaking down the Suns defensive sets.  Whether they’re in a man or zone scheme, the Suns can be beaten off the bounce and are susceptible to giving up points in the paint off of dribble penetration just as easily as they are from standard post ups.  And when their big men rotate to help, it will leave the Lakers bigs alleys for offensive rebounds or open up the passing lanes for easy dishes that lead to dunks and lay ups.  And speaking of the Lakers big men, it’d be nice if the ones not named “Pau Gasol” showed up in this game.  Andrew Bynum has already said what he plans to do tonight (hint: it involves attacking), but I’d also like to see Odom come out and be the difference maker he’s capable of being.  No one can argue what his effectiveness meant to games 1 & 2, tonight, that level of play (or close to it) would be a welcomed sight.

In the end, tonight is a game of attacking.  Whichever team can force the action the most will come out on top.  From the Lakers perspective, that means playing with patience and poise, but also with passion and determination.  The first two games of this series were not a fluke, but neither was game three.  If the Lakers don’t play smart and allow the Suns to dictate the tempo on both ends of the court, the Lakers will have a lot to think about on their flight home tonight.  But if they play the way that they showed capable, I think we’ll all be able to live with the results.


Darius Soriano

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258 responses to Lakers/Suns: Game 4 Preview & Chat

  1. This series has gotten ugly fast.

    I expected the Lakers to go back to the movement that cut apart the zone in the 3rd quarter in the last game…instead they look just as clueless against it as they did in the 2nd quarter of Game 3.

    Even Kobe did most of his damage just shooting over the top of it.

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  2. Okay, I know, I normally always say that we don’t need the refs to help us win, so it’s not their fault when we loose, but this evening… I have to complain.

    This evening our bigs did attack the paint, and they were hacked, fouled, and they didn’t get any calls going their way… which makes them timid, and before you know, everyone who’s not Kobe is gone.

    GRRRRRR!!!!

    I know I said Lakers in 6, and I know that means we lose two… but I didn’t expect those two to be this ugly.

    I’d say something bannable, but I’m reluctant to use Swedish here.

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  3. lets give it up to this pheonix team and their incredible bench: #43 Dan Crawford, #19 James Capers, #41 Ken Mauer.

    also, congrats to their soon to be HOF coach david stern.

    sorry, i absolutely HATE making cheap excuses, but this game was really decided by the suns bench and the refs.

    yes, we shot too many 3pt shots and yes, our defensive rebounding was really, really bad. but i think everyone who plays basketball understands how much energy these bad calls get out of you. the whole team defends perfectly and then they get screwed by a 2 second on the shotclock touch foul. how many times did that happen tonight? also, it was disgusting with how much grabbing the suns came away. its hard to drive to the cup and create with hands grabbing you everywhere and no calls going your way. of course you will start jacking up threes.

    disgusting game, cant belive i watched from 3 to 5:30 in the morning to realize once again, that the nba does everything to avoid sweeps and get the ratings up

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  4. We have two stars who do well either at home or on the road (Kobe and Pau). We have two players able to consistently hit clutch shots (Kobe and Fish).

    The rest of our players are role players, able to excel at home, but very suspect on the road.

    If I am going to go down with role players on the road, I want Bynum in there at the end because he disrupts the Suns offense and will put a body between the player and the basket much moreso than will Lamar. However, Phil just keeps going to the same well. At least Gentry stayed with his bench when they were getting it done. Phil is too inflexible.

    Against this team Phil needs to change up because what he likes to do just isn’t working – at least away.

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  5. Kobe played outstanding tonight. That’s really the only thing worth commenting on. However, the Lakers, I mean the Suns, did a great job of slowing Kobe down in the 4th.

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  6. “we lost this game on the boards and effort”

    How many times do we hear that from fans, writers, announcers, coaches, and even Laker players?

    How many more games are the Lakers going to show up without the effort? Do they think they are going to win a championship with effort only on certain days in certain arenas?

    We said from the beginning that this is playoff time, and it is time to turn on the switch. But, this team thinks it only has to worry about the switch in LA. But, what if the switch doesn’t work in LA, then what? They go back to Phoenix down 2-3 they ain’t comin back.

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  7. zone defense shouldn’t even be legal. it was illegal for 54 years! the 90s bulls never dealt with zone!

    they legalized it in 2002 so teams could throw zones at kobe and shaq!

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  8. The only silver lining I can find out of this is that maybe being tested by the Suns will be better prep for the Finals than the cakewalk Boston has had vs. the Magic.

    Am I completely crazy for thinking that? Bueller? Bueller? Someone throw me a line here, I’m still tee’d off at this game.

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  9. Differnce was the bench play. The Suns bench was great and the Lakers bench was not. The Suns starters all had a minus +/- and the bench all had a postive +/-

    Lets see if the Lakers bench plays better at Staples. I still like the Lakers chances with home court advantage.

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  10. I was watching the Lakers’ body language. Aside from Kobe, all I saw were slumped shoulders, heartless shrugs, and dejected facial expressions – even when we were still in the game. That’s not saying much though, because the only reason we were even in the game was because of the one person that showed determination.

    I am very surprised that the Lakers cannot find a way to beat the Suns’ zone. You’d think that’s all the Lakers worked on between Game 3 and Game 4. As many other comments have pointed out, without Kobe, the game would have been over before halftime. It’s a shame that another extraordinary performance by Kobe is wasted.

    I thought Gasol looked intimidated, and he was an absolute non-factor on the glass tonight.

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  11. 195, seriously I could not believe through most of the 4th period NONE of the Lakers players were looking for Kobe, which was the ONLY reason the Lakers were even in the game.

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  12. What it all comes down to is keep the Suns under 110. If the lakers do that, they win. Hard to simply outscore them on their own floor by an upwards of 120 points.

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  13. Hey jaybird- lay off Mike. Just because he thinks this Laker team isn’t going to repeat he’s not a Laker fan? That’s nonsense.

    I think they will repeat– but watching games like this I would respect the opinion of any fan who thought they wouldn’t, because against Boston, this kind of effort would have resulted in Boston blowing us out of the water completely.

    This was the second incredible game in a row from Kobe that was wasted by everyone else. He’s literally doing everything out there…scoring extremely efficiently, making great passes and rebounding far more than he should have to. But Gasol, Odom and Artest just didn’t bring it.

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  14. 189. This is unfortunately a trend for the Lakers this postseason. Not only the FT disparity but also the ”random” momentum killing calls on d and the non calls on o. it is easy to say ”don’t concetrate on the calls/non calls made” and play your game but this is a fact that cannot be ignored. This was not the only reason we lost as it never is but it was certainly one of them and a big one on all of our playoff losses.

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  15. honestly, even if we are down 3-2 i like our chances. we have the better team and over 7 games it will show. its just sad that we cant rest a little bit until the finals, thats all.

    heads up, please dont panic the next couple of days

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  16. FTA Lakers: 13
    FTA Suns: 32

    That is an embarrassment. For any major professional sport to have that great a disparity between the home and road team is outrageous!

    And Stern wonders why the fans still believe the refs are in on the take, even after the jailing of that other ref that got caught for betting on games (I can’t remember his name).

    That stuff has to stop if they want people to believe they run a clean game.

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  17. It’d be nice if we had a dude who could hit a three.

    Still, even in a loss, what a performance by Kobe. Fire, will, and consummate skill all on display.

    I thought the Suns’ defense on Gasol was brilliant. They’re the first team in a long time that’s been able to double Pau effectively and not get killed by his passing skills. The way I saw it, they did it with angles and energy. They swarmed Pau on the catch with 2 or 3 guys. Normally, it’s a recipe for Lakers success. But the activity and angles of the guys swarming him really cut off his vision and bothered him in a way I haven’t seen before. Pau would eventually find the open guy, but because of the intensity of the defenders, his crosscourt pass would be slow and off-target enough to give the Suns time to recover. And they really did an excellent job of doubling and then covering the open man. There was a play in the 2nd half (I believe it was the 4th quarter, not sure) where Fish was open in the corner after Pau caught the ball and drew the attention. The pass was slow enough that Nash – who was doubling Pau on the other side of the paint – had plenty of time to run back and close out on Fish. There’s a reason we’re having difficulty against the zone beyond just Lakers ineptitude. We’re not that horrible. Let’s give the Suns some credit. Whether or not you believe it’s a gimmick defense, they’re executing it well, and their activity and movement across the court is incredible.

    That defense really took Pau completely out of his game. When he got semi-open jumpers he normally makes, he missed badly. No rhythm at all, and credit the Suns D for that.

    I know it sounds weird, but if the Lakers continue to struggle against this defense, I want them to push the pace. Fill the lanes, run drag screens, something before the Suns have a chance to set their defense. At home, I expect the whistles to go more favorably for us – which means I expect our frontline to rebound from these performances.

    There are seams in this defense, but who do we have that’s great at penetrating? Really, truly great? That’s no longer the strength of Kobe’s game. Lamar can do it with the right matchup. I actually want to see more of Shannon taking the ball aggressively to the hole. I can remember one play when Shannon took his man easily off the dribble, and found a big under the hoop for an easy layup. We need more of that. Shannon’s probably our most explosive guy off the dribble. He has to harness that, and with proper instruction from the coaching staff, find the seams and create for other players.

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  18. 200: I agree. Pau looked like an eight year old whose dog just died and Shannon also looked just hopeless.

    When I look back at the box score I’m amazed we were even in the game until the bottom of the 4th; we got crushed on the glass, their bench annihilated ours, Pau was a non-factor and they got all the calls.

    A lot of it is a subpar performance by Nash, them bricking FTs and Lopez coming back to earth, but a massive game from Kobe was what kept us in it. The other Lakers looked like they were ready to pack it in, but he kept us afloat through the middle of the game until the Suns decided to just swarm him if he came anywhere inside the 3pt line.

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  19. 202. I really didnt know what more kobe could do in the 4th. Some really bad calls by refs but he gets doubled, doesn’t force a shot kicks it out to lamar, fisher, artest for WIDE open 3’s which the suns bench were knocking down all night. Sometime he drew as many as 3 players and still the rest could’nt do anything with it. Gasol’s last shot summed up the night for me. Kobe was going till the end unfourtunately cant say the same about the rest

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  20. You aren’t going to win many conference final games when you give up 115 points. All the whining about the refs is misplaced. The Laker effort and execution in the last two games was pathetic, and Phoenix, by contrast, took the ball to the rim. That produces fouls.

    If the Lakers don’t step up on the defensive end, they will lose this series. Move your feet, stop reaching and BOX OUT.

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  21. the fact that we won’t get any rest for the finals is precisely why this series is bugging me. it wasn’t until today that there was a doubt lingering in my mind as to whether or not we’ll even make it out of the regional finals.

    the lakers are a bit banged up and we need the rest. we do have the better team, but the suns have the better play. game 3, we had an excuse: we had to adjust to the zone. what happened in game 4? we still don’t know how to break that zone… won’t be optimistic until the lakers show me that they know how to penetrate and attack the rim against the suns’ defense.

    lamar and artest are NOT here for 3 point shooting. we brought artest on board for his defense and strong body when he’s attacking. lamar is supposed to be the aggressor off the bench to give our other attackers a breather.

    not rocket science….

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  22. 188, Jaybird, this is the mental weakness that Darius and I have been having to wade through this entire season. People that don’t have the courage to support their team, and would rather protect themselves and be assholes than let themselves feel the full sting of a loss. There’s nothing objectively wrong with feeling that way, I guess, but let’s just say that if we ever have a zombie apocalypse, I wouldn’t want one of those people to be one of my co-survivors.

    201, Lakers8884, I saw that too. The Lakers just went away from Kobe in the end, with too much “half-mooning” as the TNT crew put it, passing the ball around the perimeter. I hope this team realizes soon that we don’t need a three when we’re down 9 with 6 minutes to go, we just need a score and some defense.

    I don’t see why the Lakers don’t just give up the contested inside shots over giving up wide-open threes. More than a few times, Lakers were caught cheating into the paint (Lamar), and got burned on the perimeter because of it. Contested two pointers are bad to give up, but threes give the opposing team huge amounts of momentum, and that’s the one thing you don’t want to give a hot shooting team.

    The Lakers played so well in the 3rd quarter. Why? Because they went right at the weak point of the Suns zone: the side defended by Amare Stoudemire. Why did the Lakers go away from that? I will never understand.

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  23. The Lakers gotta stop this habit of solid 3rd quarters followed by getting steamrolled in the 4th. Deja vu.

    Kobe – great game, he facilitated, he was on fire, he deserved more support. As Zephid said, the Lakers really went on a run when he was deployed and attacking the wing where Amare was defending.

    Frustrating that the Lakers missed so many threes (Odom, artest, brown, everybody) but they seemed to make every shot they took shots with a toe on the line.

    Regardless of the extra hustle Phoenix may have had, they were rewarded disproportionately by the referees throughout the game. the last two quarters phoenix ended up in the bonus and shot a lot of free throws because the lakers were whistled for incidental/minimal contact away from the hoop while the refs forgot to be consistent for both teams.

    Bummer of a game, but gotta believe the Lakers will come back stronger next time.

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  24. Awful effort.

    I haven’t been this mad at this team all season. How do you not come to play 2 games in a row in the WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS? What are they saving themselves for? When are they going to realize that settling for 3’s just makes it easier for the suns to run? When will Phil come up with a way to break a freaking 2-3 zone?

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  25. Also, I hope all of those fans chanting “We want Boston” feel real good right now. I remember urging calm after game one and having about 4 people give me angry replies on this site.

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  26. I don’t comment a lot on this site, but I’m a huge Laker fan and cannot believe that I just watched this hatchet job from the refs.

    Zone defense, blah, blah, blah. Kobe needs help, blah, blah, blah.

    The Lakers played well enough, and deserved to win. The zone was a challenge, but the Lakers played with sufficient intensity, especially early on — and were clearly mentally superior.

    What I saw was a situation where the refs made calls at CRUCIAL junctures, such as calling fouls on LA with 3, 4, 6 seconds on the shooting clock.

    I know its the B**** thing to do in fandom in sports but guys: our guys came to play and got dejected once the whistles took complete control.

    What Kobe was angry about there towards the end was not only the refs, but his teammates response to the clear bias in officiating: particularly I believe that much of his ire was reserved for Pau.

    The refs won this one, as any professional NBA team can get hot if they get enough shooting opportunities given to them. Our bigs got manhandled, but they will have to rise above even blatantly bad officiating if they are to survive in a place like Boston, so really this will turn out to be good preparation after all.

    Still, the refs absolutely suck! But we have the best player in the NBA, mentally, and physically, KB. Lakers in 6.

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  27. few interesting facts for those that were complaining about the refereeing.

    12 fouls on the suns tonight was the 2nd lowest of the entire playoffs. and so far, there have been 71 playoff games. lack of aggression, result of the zone defense. maybe. maybe not.

    and here’s something else. since the inception of the best of 7 first round series in 2003, this year marks the least number of games played in the playoffs coming up to game 4 of the conference finals.

    2010 – 71
    2009 – 76
    2008 – 77
    2007 – 72
    2006 – 79
    2005 – 73
    2004 – 73
    2003 – 80

    the nba ain’t making as much money. of course they want to extend the series! 12 fouls called!

    how was the officiating in the boston orlando game 4?

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  28. It is now accepted as fact that the Suns bench is vastly superior to the Lakers bench. With that in mind, what is the explanation for Sasha not getting any minutes? He hustles, he shoots better than Farmar or Brown, and he hasn’t had the chance to suck it up the way the rest of the reserves have. What gives?

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  29. Kobe played 45 minutes tonight.

    This will hurt even worse than tonight’s loss.

    Only a win would’ve justified him playing 45 minutes.

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  30. it really isn’t about the zone d.we are generating enough points and at a high % even better than them.

    FT through 2 games
    Phoenix 74
    LA 33

    I guess they were very, very aggressive and we were very very passive right?

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  31. 212, they couldn’t go after Amare in the 4th because he didn’t play until 2:36 left in the 4th.

    One thing I can guarantee, it won’t be 32-13 Phoenix in free throw attempts in game 5.
    \
    Those hustle plays and getting loose balls really made the difference, it was hard for the Lakers to sustain a run when the Suns kept getting 2nd shots.

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  32. Lakers are hungry and Suns are starving, but NBA is feasting on its preys.

    What more could be entertaining than watching the gladiators kill each other for a chance to bite a piece of O’brien meat.

    Who am I? Just another speck from a dust of spectators.

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  33. This game is on Phil. Down by 1 at the end of 3. Not until the 6:47 mark of the 4th that Gasol, Artest and Fisher were subbed back in. By then they were down by 9. In the meantime, Kobe goes 0-1 from the field while Brown and Farmar go 1-5. The latter were a combined 2-12, 1-8 from 3, with 0 FT taken. And look at the box score. The Suns starters were all – (Nash leading the way at -9).

    The Suns won this game because Phil had a lineup there for nearly half of the 4th: Kobe, Lamar, Bynum, Brown, Farmer.

    And in the 2nd quarter, from start to 7:36, no Gasol, Artest, and Fisher, so Kobe, Lamar, Bynum, Brown, Farmar. Tied at the end of 1 and Phoenix up by 4 when Fisher returns. Their possession and they score to go up 6.

    Then at 5:59, Gasol and Artest return, with Phoenix up by 10. Lakers then go +1 for the remainder and trail by 9 at the half.

    Gasol and Artest were both +10 on the game. Kobe at -4, Fisher at 0 and Lamar at -12. Brown at -21, Bynum at -16 and Farmar at -9.

    You can’t have Brown, Farmar and Bynum on the court at the same time. You just can’t. The first two will simply jack up shots, witness today again (the 0 FT taken is testimony to how little those two tried to penetrate the zone), and Bynum simply doesn’t have the mobility where he can move around the court to better provide scoring help for Kobe and Lamar. And if Phil thinks that Brown and Farmar can be in together, then Gasol in lieu of Bynum.

    Lastly, re Lamar sucking, he went for 15 and 10. Most games we’d be hailing that as a signal success. Kobe was, again, -4, though he scored 38. Not their fault. And so you all well and truly get the point, the two souls who didn’t play today with Famar and Brown were, again, Gasol and Artest, both +10. I can “forgive” Phil somewhat for the 2nd quarter, but when it didn’t work then, why on earth do you back to it for half of the 4th?

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  34. Laker Home Games:

    Suns: 44 Points on 58 Free Throw Attempts.
    Lakers: 43 Points on 56 Free Throw Attempts.

    Suns: +1 Point on +2 Free Throw Attempts at Staples Center.

    Suns Home Games:

    Lakers: 23 Points on 33 Free Throw Attempts.
    Suns: 59 Points on 74 Free Throw Attempts.

    Suns: +36 Points on +41 Free Throw Attempts at US Airways Center.

    Series Overall:

    Lakers: 66 Points on 89 Free Throw Attempts.
    Suns: 103 Points on 132 Free Throw Attempts.

    Suns: +37 Points on +43 Free Throw Attempts. (Averages to +9.25 Points and 10.75 Free Throw Attempts per Game).

    Those are the numbers.

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  35. i was disappointed last game, now I’m disgusted.

    As much as I want to point out all their deficiencies on offense. It’s the defensive end that’s killing the lakers. Gasol was once again out muscled by Amar’e. Amar’e just faces up and it’s over, Gasol can’t defend him. This was by far the worse defensive I’ve seen Odom play. He was turned around by the pick and roll on at least 3 occasions. He never closed out the shooters. He never hustled back on the defensive end. Lamar epitomizes what a role player is. He plays well on the home but just disappears on the road. When Phoenix has Frye and Amar’e in, Phil needs to put Odom on Amar’e and put Gasol on Frye.

    Gasol wasn’t aggressive on the offensive end until it was to late and wouldn’t get a body on players defensively and had so many rebounds taken away from. Gasol has to step up, but that’s been the story of Gasol, whenever the tough gets going, he just goes more often then not.

    I just don’t believe the lakers still can’t adjust to the zone. Although they did a somewhat better job it, they still couldn’t establish a rhythm. Some will also look at the Box score and say Odom and Gasol played ok, but that absolutely isn’t the case. Almost all of their buckets were because of Kobe.

    The officials were absolutely terrible as well. Whenever the game got close, all of a sudden the suns got 6,7,8 freethrows in a row. I don’t believe in conspiracies, but officials know they can at least affect the momentum of games with their whistles and purposely do so. This was terrible officiating. There were so many blatant non calls and so ticky tack fouls against the lakers.

    It’s tough to win when the game is so one sided, but the lakers once again didn’t attack the rim. Let’s hope it’ll be a different story on thursday (i said this on sunday to about today)

    Oh let’s not over look bynum. That guy is giving maximum effort, I just wish we could say the same about Odom.

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  36. Anonymous, yes, that is exactly right. The Suns were A LOT more aggressive in games 3 and 4. Forty more free throws is about 20 extra foul call over 2 games, or 10 extra fouls per game against LA. If you don’t think that the Suns went to the basket HARD enough to earn a couple of foul calls per quarter, then you are not being objective.

    Kobe shot jumpers. Ron shot jumpers. LO shot jumpers. Pau put up weak layups. Those shots don’t draw fouls, and swinging the ball aimlessly around the perimeter instead of attacking the basket is no way to draw fouls.

    Quit complaining. The Lakers were THOROUGHLY outplayed in games 3 and 4. Turning this around should be easy–stop being so passive. If they play this way in game 5, then game 6 will be a closeout game, for the Suns.

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  37. Lebron should take notes from Kobe on how to do a post-game interview

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  38. The last 2 games they shot 74 ft to our 33. Zone d will not do that to any team.
    As Phil and Kobe said it’s not about their zone d. it’s about our d and the ft attempts.
    We are scoring enough and at a high % against them , zone or no zone d.

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  39. I counted 6 hit 23 footers with a foot on the line that came out to be 2’s instead of 3’s. That’s 6 points, which is pretty much the entire difference in the game (except for intentional fouling). I say we contest a couple extra shots, grab an extra offensive board (or defensive), or hit another open three and its a different ballgame, one 50-50 ball or one questionable foul call. I really don’t see what the Suns can do better, but I see a lot of things we can do better, most of which are within our control. We do a couple of these things and we win.

    Great effort & shooting by the Suns though. As much as it pains me, I’m happy for them that they had their moment.

    It really pisses me off that according to TNT (mostly Barkley) whenever a Lakers opponent wins it’s that they had better execution or better effort, whereas whenever Lakers win it’s that we were “just big.” How many 7 footers can do what Bynum, LO, & Pau do? But nvm, TNT doesn’t like LA, what else is new..

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  40. For anyone who insists on blaming referees, go back and listed to Kobe’s postgame press conference. There were no complaints about foul calls, or non-calls. Instead, his answer to virtually every question was that the Lakers need to play defense. They are scoring enough points, but you cannot win a title playing defense the way they have been in games 3 and 4.

    Quit acting like there is some grand conspiracy. This is simple. Tighten up the D and this series will be over in 6. Continue to give up open 3’s, uncontested layups and offensive rebounds, and the Suns have a very good chance of eliminating the Lakers.

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  41. #193 Lesha: “disgusting game, cant belive i watched from 3 to 5:30 in the morning to realize once again, that the nba does everything to avoid sweeps and get the ratings up”

    If you really think the games are rigged by Stern and the NBA then what in the world are you doing watching? SERIOUSLY! Watching a sporting event you think to be rigged is about as silly as it gets.

    I’m sorry, but this whole ‘the refs are intentionally helping the Suns win’ is total bul…, well, I stopped believing in that stuff when I got old enough to stop believing in Santa Claus.

    The Lakers lost because they didn’t play as hard, or smart, or efficiently as the Suns. End of story.

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  42. This just in: Chris Bosh spotted in the shower talking with Kobe. Artest was told to stay out of the shower.

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  43. i definitely think the lakers lost this game on their lack of effort and defensive rebounding and on subpar games by gasol (for his standards) and odom as well as terrible outside shooting by artest, brown, farmar and odom (as usual) but man, i can’t get over the officiating the more i do research.

    laker regular season 21.7 opp FTs a game
    laker playoff season 30.8 opp FTs a game.

    9.1 more FTS allowed.

    among the other playoff teams left, the disparity between regular season and playoffs tops out at 3.0 maximum.

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  44. We shot damn near 50% from the field. So it wasn’t necessarily the offense that cost us this game (Even though, in my eyes, we still look shaky against their zone).

    Bottom Line: Their Bench shot lights out 2night (20-32). It was bound to happen. They were definitely due. But with that being said, Our Defense has been Awful over these last 2 games. As Kobe said, “We’ve lost our sense of Urgency Defensively …. Offense doesn’t Win ‘Chips. Defense does.” On that note, what more needs to be said.

    We were out-rebounded 51-36. Gave up damn near 20 offensive boards. There were a few instances when they just snatched the ball right of our hands in order to secure a rebound. They were Tougher & wanted it more. As I continue to preach, “Effort is something that can’t be taught. It has to be in You.”

    My prediction of Lakers in 5 was shot to death (Literally) 2nite. So now it comes down to the best 2 out of 3. To Hell with Adjustments. These teams have faced each other 8x’s already this season. There is nothing that they can do as of now that we shouldn’t/couldn’t expect; and vice versa. It’s all about Will & Determination now. Who wants it more. Starting Thursday night, We’ll find out.

    Respect Given: The Entire Phoenix Bench

    Standing Ovations: Kobe (Tremendous Game. Too Bad It Was Wasted) & ‘Big Drew (Hell Of An Effort On 1 Leg)

    BTW: What Doesn’t Kill You, Only Makes You Stronger

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

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  45. Is the zone the kryptonite for the triangle? Also to make matters worse we have players because of their decision making handle the zone very poorly (Shannon, Farmar, Odom, and Artest). In both games 3 & 4 the Lakers they had a decent first quarter and a strong third but a poor second and fourth quarter because the bench does not handle the zone well (particularly Farmar and Shannon) and because of bad offense created by the zone Phoenix is able to score easily.

    Also I am wondering since Kobe has played great for the last 10 games (this is the best I remember Kobe playing in the playoffs in his career over a 10 game span) will he be due for a poor shooting game.

    I predict we will win game 5.

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  46. 230)-While some may be getting a little over-zealous with the conspiracies, the facts are there. Unless the Lakers are a bunch of mindless brutes it boggles the mind see such a free-throw discrepancy. If I am wrong I am sure someone will correct me, but I have yet to see the Lakers a get nearly 20+ free throw advantage at home (or on the road) during these playoffs. But we have seen it twice with the Suns and at least once with OKC. In fact, when the Lakers are at home the Suns STILL shoot more free throws. It is what it is. But don’t insult our intelligence and act like it’s not a major factor.

    Still the Lakers have to adjust. Gasol will have to play better, in particular. The Lakers have to accept that for whatever reason this kind of thing comes with the territory and just go with it.

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  47. This is really good refs:)work harder for the boys and STERN us.

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  48. Win 6 games in a row, fans feel that the Lakers are storming to the Championship.

    Lose 2 games on the road, now the Mike Penberthy’s of the fandom claim that they knew the Lakers don’t have what it takes to win.

    I don’t understand how “fans” of a team can prepare themselves to lose (unless you’re a Clipper fan). I mean, why follow the team unless you want them to succeed? Every year, I’ve always had hope for the Lakers to play well and that includes the Sedale Threatt years (which were the most fun in my opinion, cuz every win was awesome). But man, get spoiled with a championship, and all of a sudden, we can’t win another one.

    We lost two games in a row. Away. Lakers are undefeated at home so far and are 3-4 on the road. The same naysayers are back from being 2-2 against OKC.

    I agree with Zephid and Darius on the people who just say, oh, i knew the lakers weren’t going to win this year. Then why are you following them? They are in the Western Conference Finals for crying out loud. 2-2. And that’s enough for my rant.

    I mean, I usually laugh when ken makes a comment on how bad individuals are playing, but at least he wants to see the Lakers win.
    ————————

    It’s been a fact for the NBA for a while now. Home team gets the benefit of the calls. It’s happened. Lakers have gotten benefits from that as well (2002 WCF – the Donaghy game). So we’ll see how successful the Lakers are when they get back home. I don’t think it’s rigged, but just emotion of the referee being egged on by 15k people cheering. It happens.

    That being said, the defensive side of the ball is where the Lakers need to improve. How do the Lakers get outrebounded? Going against a zone defense, should open up avenues for offensive rebounding, yet in the first half , it was PHX getting the offensive rebounds. One play, Kobe was waiting for the ball while his man just ran past him (Richardson) got the rebound and put it back in. (I point out Kobe because if he is getting beat, then the whole team is.)

    The entire game plan by the Suns was illustrated in a Mic’d up segment with Gentry. Telling his players to keep the ball out of the free throw line area. That is where the zone can be defeated. But what I saw is a lack of confidence making that entry pass. There was one sequence where Kobe went from one side of the free throw line with no one around him, yet no one passed him the ball. Then the ball swung around, kobe went to the other side with some space. And again artest couldn’t make the entry pass. That needs to be done consistently. It is ok to make those 18 -20 footers. WE have plenty of guys who can hit that shot consistently, and we should keep going back to it.

    Like most people keep saying here, HCA is important right? So lets go get it on Thursday.

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  49. Now boys in media will sugarcoat it,that is the fun part..

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  50. RT

    the zone was created to take apart a zone defense actually.

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  51. I agree with Joel @224. Bynum showed real heart out there and played much better than I bet a lot of us thought that he would.

    Everyone will need to pick their game up on Thursday. Let’s go!

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  52. in addition, this laker team averaged

    30.8 opponent FTS – 2010
    28.3 opponent FTs – 2009
    27.3 opponent FTs – 2008

    as far as FT Attempts go

    29.1 – 2008
    27.5 – 2009
    25.6 – 2010

    from going to a + 1.8 to a – 5.2….

    ————–

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  53. Couple of coaching question?

    Anyone who can read knew Suns were going to zone in game 3 and 4. Except the Lakers. 31 3’s game 3 and 28 game 4 for the 18th worst 3 point team in the NBA.

    In the 2nd quarter when the Suns were scoring 41 and bombing 3’s, our 2 worst defender were on the court-Brown and Farmer and our best was on the bench for 8 minutes Artest.

    Finally with one minute left PHil calls a time out and apparently tells Ron to foul STEVE NASH 2 TIMES in 12 seconds. You know the 91% freethrower.

    Boy did Phil coach a couple of good games. What’s a Zone? What’s a open 3 pointer? What’s a 91% freethrower.

    Yes Ray as I now read your post I fully expect the Lakers to win in 7. Suns are probably the 3 rd best team in the NBA and did have one of the top records. They have great shooters and the zone confused us.

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  54. I was at game one and was grinning ear to ear when I heard the chant below as well as the sweep talk. Way to fuel the fire and give the Suns even more reason to beat you again. I hope those fans learned their lesson. There are a lot of smart fans that know what they’re talking about on this forum and a lot of the polar opposite. All this talk of referee conspiracy is laughable.
    Pressure is on now. Visions of 2006 and 2007??? We will see.

    quote from above”Also, I hope all of those fans chanting “We want Boston” feel real good right now. I remember urging calm after game one and having about 4 people give me angry replies on this site.”

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  55. If one just watches the first 5 mins of a Lakers game, one knows what kind of game it will be. There’s a liveliness in their legs and fire in their belly, when they are taking care of business.

    But, when they look disinterested or uncaring there’s no bounce in their step and they appear to be unfamiliar with each other as team mates, especially on the defensive end.

    I feel for Kobe because in these four games he has been unbelievable! Yet, when he is interviewed he gets none of the accolades that would have been poured on king James (little k’ on purpose). For no other reason than this, I want Kobe to win another championship and be crowned finals MVP!

    Lamar and Artest scare me more than Brown and Farmar in their recent play, because of their reputation for partying.

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  56. By the way, players and coaches should never complain about the referees.

    It only hurts your cause by annoying the referees, and leading to even fewer 50-50 calls going your way.

    And, of course, Stern and Co fine the utter crap out of you for doing so.

    What I have wished for now for a long time from this Lakers team is to emulate Boston in this one way: Foul hard when things are going against you.

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  57. Haha, DY, nice one

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