From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The Lakers’ cavalier approach Sunday night was first evident in their high turnover total. There would soon be a statistic that really showed how they were a step behind. The Phoenix Suns made 22 3-point shots – one shy of Orlando’s 2009 record for one team in an NBA game – and dealt the Lakers their second consecutive loss after an 8-0 start. Phoenix won, 121-116, behind 34 points by Jason Richardson, who hit 7 of 10 3-point shots. “They shot the ball lights-out,” Kobe Bryant said of the Suns. Lakers forward Lamar Odom was called for a technical foul after scoring inside – arguing he’d been fouled by Hedo Turkoglu – and Steve Nash’s free throw off Odom’s temperamental moment gave the Suns a 112-109 lead with 53.7 seconds left.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: The sequence soon became as monotonous and predictable as a blow-’em-up summer blockbuster. The Suns dribbled up the floor, swung the ball around the perimeter and then waited for an open cutter to appear beyond the arc. Whether taking place from the corner, the top of the key or from 25 feet out or more, the Suns wouldn’t see a three-pointer they didn’t like. The Lakers’ 121-116 loss Sunday to the Phoenix Suns gives them their second consecutive loss and points to a problem that’s bothered them all season long — a failure to defend. Sometimes that’s entailed the Lakers messing up on defending screen and rolls, failing to block off driving lanes or performing on help defense when needed. But against Phoenix, the Lakers’ most egregious defensive problem was their failure to overplay the perimeter.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: By the time you finish reading this sentence, the Phoenix Suns will have buried another three. You should know what that looks like by now. It only happened 22 times in the Lakers’ 116 to 121 loss to Phoenix at Staples Center tonight. Three days after cordially allowing the Denver Nuggets to run a 48-minute layup drill, the purple and gold again enraged their fans with a shameful lack of defense. Their perimeter D tonight was as lazy, haphazard and slow-footed as you’ll ever see, and the Suns’ array of shooters seized the opportunity to bomb the living hell out of the defending champs. The Lakers fall to 8-2 and third place in the Western Conference. Oh, and Lamar Odom has a bone bruise on his right foot that he needs to get MRI’d. Other than that, how was the ride, Mrs. Kennedy?
From Sebastian Pruiti, NBA Playbook: Down by six with 34.7 seconds left in the game, Kobe Bryant made the catch and from 32 feet away (according to ESPN’s Play-by-Play data), let fire a three that barely grazed the rim: The ball went out of bounds off of the Suns, and the Lakers were able to maintain possession. After inbounding it to Kobe in the corner, he let another three rip, again not being able to connect. At first, these two quick shots had me scratching my head, until I realized what Kobe was trying to do. His first shot came with about 34 seconds left, and if it goes in there will probably be around 30 seconds left in the game, with the Suns’ lead cut down to just three points. This means that the Lakers wouldn’t have had to foul, and if they were able to get one stop, the Lakers would have had a chance to send the game into overtime. When you think about it, you understand why Kobe jacked up those threes.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: With the Suns periodically swarming the post, the Lakers occasionally found it difficult to get Pau the ball, but he responded by consistently crashing the glass and creating second-chance opportunities for himself and the Lakers. Nine of his 17 rebounds came on the offensive end, as Gasol stuck with virtually every shot the Lakers hoisted from the perimeter. He was extremely efficient with his shot, finishing 12-for-17 from the floor, en route to 28 points. No question, Gasol was part of the team’s defensive breakdowns as well, but when he made mistakes, he certainly had plenty of company. Gasol was also smart about his movements against Phoenix’s defense. On one first-half play, he turned a front from Channing Frye into a screen for Shannon Brown, who was driving from the wing. Gasol sealed off Frye, leaving nobody there to defend the rim. He was also good moving the ball out of traffic to create chances for teammates.
From J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: You know the old saying goes: Live by the 3-pointer — absolutely flourish by the 3-pointer. Set a franchise record for shooting the 3-pointer. Beat the defending champions by the 3-pointer. The 3-pointer was Phoenix’s sole form of sustenance on Sunday and the Suns thrived on it. They made 22 3-pointers, one shy of the NBA record set by the Orlando Magic in January 2009, enabling Phoenix to hand the Lakers their second consecutive loss after opening the season 8-0. Three-pointers accounted for more than half of the Suns’ 43 field goals. Their long-ball accuracy was enough to overcome a 49-39 rebounding deficit and enough to overcome the Lakers’ 68-28 advantage on points in the paint.
From Robert Karpeles, NBA Fanhouse: The Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers 121-116 Sunday night at Staples Center by doing what they do best: making 3-pointers. In fact, the Suns made 22 of them against the Lakers, a franchise record and second most all-time in NBA history. The Orlando Magic hit 23 three-pointers against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 13, 2009. Twenty-two is also the most threes the Lakers have allowed in a game in their franchise history.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom will undergo a MRI on Monday to examine his sore right foot. “It’s been aching, especially in the morning,” Odom said. “I’ve played a lot of basketball. Hopefully it’s just wear and tear, hopefully, and there’s nothing wrong.” Odom removed his sneaker and had his foot re-taped on the bench during the second half Sunday, but went back into the game. Odom finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday’s 121-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns. It was the fifth double-double in 10 games this season for Odom, who is averaging 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds on 58.6 percent shooting from the field this year. The extra basketball Odom referred to was his gold medal run this summer with Team USA at the FIBA World Championship in Istanbul.
UPDATE: Kelly Dwyer just updated Ball Don’t Lie with this short post on that play Kobe threw the ball off the backboard to himself. One of the cool plays to go back and watch.