Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Phillip Barnett —  March 22, 2011

Records: Lakers 50-20 (2nd in West), Suns 35-33 (10th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.5 (2nd in NBA), Suns 109.5 (9th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.4 (7th in NBA), Suns 109.8 (22nd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Suns: Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Channing Frye, Robin Lopez
Injuries: Lakers: Devin Ebanks & Theo Ratliff (out); Suns: Gani Lawal (out)

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers are coming off of a tough win that they had to gut out late in the fourth quarter against the Portland Trailblazers, one of their most impressive wins since the All-Star Break. It’s been widely reported that one of the Lakers biggest reasons for their post-break improvement was their new found commitment to defense — a commitment that began with Andrew Bynum. With ‘Drew out of the Portland game, many wondered if the Lakers ability to funnel opposing offenses to the middle of the court, forcing mid-range jumpers and contested looks around the rim would be as affective with out Bynum’s big body in the middle. Even without ‘Drew, the Lakers were able to hold the Blazers to 80 points, the ninth time since the break that they’ve been able to hold their opponent under 90 points.

Tonight, the Lakers will go into the game winners of four straight and 12 of their last 13 games. More importantly, they come into tonight’s game one game ahead of Dallas for the #2 seed out West and only a half game behind both Chicago and Boston for the #2 overall record in the NBA. While their recent success indicates that they’re playing the best, or at least close to it, basketball in the league right now, things aren’t exactly perfect. Kobe is still a bit hampered by his ankle, and if this Dave McMenamin report is accurate, we still may not know to what extent his ankle is bothering him. In the story, a team source told McMenamin that not only was Kobe’s knee drained that during the Oklahoma City first round playoff series, “but twice more — between the second round against Utah and the conference finals against Phoenix and again between Games 4 and 5 of the Finals.” This is just another thing we might want to keep an eye on as the end of the regular season rapidly approaches.

The Suns Coming in: The Suns haven’t been bad recently, but they definitely haven’t been good either, going .500 in their last 12 games. They’ve had some guys miss a couple games due to injury (notably Steve Nash and Channing Frye) and had Aaron Brooks sit out their game against the Clippers because of a suspension. Things have been rocky, to say the least, in Phoenix, a team fighting desperately for that eighth spot in the Western Conference. They come into tonight’s game, winners to two straight, but lost four straight before the two wins, a definite hit to their shot at the playoffs. Currently, the Suns are sitting in the 10th seed, just two and a half games behind Memphis, but have a tough five-game road stretch toward the end of the season, so every game for this team matters from here on out.

Suns Blogs: Valley of the Suns is a site worth your time if you want excellent thoughts on this team. Also check out Bright Side of the Sun.

Keys to game: I recently went back and watched Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals, a game that featured Allen Iverson leading the 76ers to a win over the Lakers, scoring 48 points in the Lakers only loss of the post season. The Lakers didn’t lose that game because the 76ers were a better team, we know this because the Lakers went on to win the next four games. We know this because they faced a team that already knew that they were on their backs before the series even started. The amount of fight in the 76ers, for one game, was enough to put the Lakers on their heels and steal away the Lakers perfect post season. The Lakers were up big early in the first quarter, but didn’t deliver the seemingly imminent knockout punch. Instead, they allowed a team with more fight to stick around and ended up losing the game.

Tonight, the Lakers will be going up against a team in a much tougher fight than the Lakers are. The Lakers, with the Pacific Division already wrapped up, already know that they’ve made it to the postseason, they’re just playing for seeding. The Suns know, if that with every loss, the reality of them not even making the playoffs is a little bit closer to being realized. No, this isn’t exactly the same situation as that Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals, if not only because the stakes aren’t even as close to being as high. But you do get the sense that, if the Lakers let this team hang around, they could lose this game, and more importantly, lose some ground on the Mavericks, Celtics and Bulls. With that being said, if the Lakers get the opportunity to put this Suns team out of its misery early, they absolutely need to. And of course, it all boils down to how they play on the defensive end.

The Lakers got a recent taste of a little of what the Suns may be doing tonight when they played the Orlando Magic. In that game, Stan Van Gundy opted to start Ryan Anderson to move Pau out of the paint. When Pau didn’t come out far enough, Anderson knocked down threes, when Pau did close out, the ball went in to Dwight Howard for an ISO on the block against Bynum. The Suns won’t have the same kind of post presence with Robin Lopez on the low blocks, but Channing Frye is the kind of forward that can extend the defense and make teams pay if left open. One of the positives of not having Bynum for tonight’s match up is that the versatile Lamar Odom will likely be assigned the role of covering Frye out on the wing, leaving Pau comfortably on the defensive block.

Other than Frye, the Suns have four more guys shooting at least 37 percent from behind the arch, and one more (Vince Carter) shooting 34 percent. Running guys off of the three point line will be key, as it always is, against the Suns. In their last meeting, a 99-95 Lakers win, they didn’t do a great job of running guys off of the three-point line as six different Suns hit at least one three, and three of them hit multiple threes. The Suns shot 47 percent from behind the arch while shooting only 42 percent from all two-point shots from three feet and beyond. Simple math suggests that the Lakers need to force the Suns to take more shots from two point range, not only because the Suns shot better from three, but in the occasion that they did score from inside the arch, they received one fewer point. Funneling the likes of Steve Nash and Aaron Brooks toward the middle is never easy, as they frequently tend to get where they want when they want, but the defense cannot get sucked into watching these guys put on a show and get caught sleeping while guarding shooters. If the Lakers bear down defensively, the offense will come naturally. This is a team that tends to make shots when they’re in a good defensive flow.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Fox Sports West. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710am. Update: You can also view this game nationally on TNT.

Phillip Barnett

Posts

204 responses to Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. the zone was kind of effective against the lakers last game. if the lakers see it again tonight, i hope they attack it decisively.

  2. First of all, GREAT writeup on LO. He gets very little love from laker fans and even less love from the media. He is definitely, without a doubt, the 6th man of the year this year.

    Secondly, without him, we don’t win the last two years in the finals. Even game 7 last year, people never talk about how he ‘sparked’ the lakers comeback at the end of the third quarter. (Go ahead, watch that game on youtube and tell me im wrong)

    Im happy that one of the genuinely good people on the lakers is finally earning his respect, even if it did take him 12 years. If he wins the 6th man of the year, i can guarantee the refs will start giving him more calls. They simply don’t blow the whistle when LO gets fouled repeatedly.

    And if he does end up winning, his confidence will be at an all time high, which means we have an almost unbeatable team when healthy.

  3. For Warren!?

    I was amused by your typo “Pau Gasol?” in the starting lineup, as if to suggest whether we’ll see the real Pau tonight is questionable. Frankly with all this attention on Bynum being The Man, Pau has gotten away with not being strong and assertive in the post. He’s been guarded in March by small forwards like Josh Smith and Ryan Anderson, players that can’t match his length (Kevin Love) or his size (Lamarcus Aldridge). But I haven’t seen a stretch where he’s dominated so much in the post one on one that the opposition has been forced to send hard doubles, as was the case in the playoffs against the likes of Rashard Lewis or Channing Frye. He’s been content to be like a Bosh and settle for outside jumpers.

    Defensively, the Portland game showed too many opportunities where Pau was a step slow or got outworked for position and couldn’t secure the board. Pau has been playing well as of late, but he hasn’t been dominant. And even with Bynum and Odom playing better this year, I believe how far we go starts and ends with Pau.

    Tonight is as good an opportunity as any to start becoming Playoff Pau.

  4. hey guys,i have probably missed it,but was there any word on Ratliff status?Will he be back this season?
    thanks.
    Greetings from Croatia

  5. @jedinac

    Everything that I’ve seen has suggested that he is done for the season. Phil said that there was no way to determine where he was as far as ability to play this year. He had to begin his rehabilitation all over again. He was a wasted pick-up for us. He played 8 games and that was that. Too bad we didn’t go with someone younger like Sean Williams (credit goes to chibi).

    @nimble who wrote on March 21, 2011 at 4:54 am

    This referee disrespect against No 24 has been irating and mind boggling.

    The non-calls on obvious fouls are getting freaking ridiculous.

  6. #4 jedinac

    On March 20, Elliot Teaford reported that Theo Ratliff practiced for the 2nd time in a week’s time, but that’s about as much of an update that I’ve been able to find. While seeing that he’s practicing is good news, we still have no idea when he’ll actually be cleared to play, not even a timeline.

    Maybe someone else has heard otherwise?

  7. Mason and Ireland today discussed Fish’s value to the team and whether or not he was over the hill so to speak. While I am of the camp that watching him get torched all the time is hard to watch, I know that we currently don’t have anyone to replace him. Someone who can run the offense (Blake), play tough defense (Blake), and hit the critical shot (there went Blake).

    His leadership and connection with Kobe and Phil cannot be undersold. They trust him and that’s the bottom line. That’s what I love about our team, the parts may be spare parts but they fit us perfectly.

    Look at the careers of Rony Turiaf, Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza, or go back to Travis Knight, Glen Rice, and even Shaq. Did the increase in money or playing time somewhere else translate to better success? Sometimes is better to be a bit player in a major motion picture than to be a star in a “B Movie”.

  8. Any thoughts on Duncan missing extended time?

  9. I’m pulling for the Hawks @ home tonight vs the Bulls. If they can pull that off while the Lakers beat the Suns at home, we’ll slide ahead of the Bulls in the league-wide standings….and that would be a beautiful thing.

    Any updates on the health & availability of the O’Neal’s of Boston? As far as Duncan, I think the Spurs will be ok. Can’t see them losing more than 4 games off their lead, leaving them with plenty of room to spare in order to hold on to the #1 overall seed.

  10. 8,
    You mean Tim Duncan is still in the league?

  11. #9 – It doesn’t look like you’re getting your wish in Atlanta. The Bulls are ROLLING.

  12. I stand corrected. I looked at Shawn Williams’ stats and thought that he would be a nice young change of pace foward/center (like Turiaf, Antonio Harvey (old school), or Mbenga) but his face seemed sooo familiar.

    This my friends in the picture of someone we don’t want.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4295

    This would be the poster boy for a guy with a bad attitude. When you think lazy, self entitled athelete this picture will now come to mind? If I were him, I would try and get rid of this picture. Take a new one once (or if) you get back into the NBA.

  13. Kobe on Fisher on Lakers FYI LaTimes:

    In the three seasons point guard Derek Fisher was away from the Lakers — he played two years with the Golden State Warriors and one with the Utah Jazz before signing with L.A. in 2007 — his ability to knock down clutch shots was missed by Kobe Bryant.

    ” … I was throwing it to Smush” Parker, said Bryant, referring to the wayward point guard who played two seasons with the Lakers. “I shot with three [defenders] on me. That’s the difference [with Fisher]. Now I only shoot with one, maybe two.”

  14. For those who forgot what we looked like in 2007 as a team:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4oXChU2AHM&feature=related

    Yes that was Luke with the great line.

    Remember when we used to sign players that killed us in a game when they became eligible? Terry Teagle, Derrick Strong, Vlad Radmon, Mo Evans, now Blake. I hope Blake turns out better than the others.

  15. I too listened to the Mason and Ireland show this afternoon and could easily answer their questions about the Laker fans wanting to replace Fish. Increasingly fans today come from two different, but similar, perspectives that have nothing to do with team sports…
    1) The ESPN highlight evaluation of talent
    2) The dominance of fantasy leagues

    What these two things have in common is statistics. They have practically nothing to do with team. If we want players at each position with the best statistics we will have the best team – so the argument goes anyway.

    This concept is so fallacious that I don’t know where to start, but…
    1) It takes absolutely no account of any system of basketball – every championship team has had a system.
    2) There is no such thing as chemistry with this type of team selection.
    3) The salary cap is completely ignored with this method.
    4) Exactly which coach would be able to keep this team in line?

  16. FISH is irreplaceable. He is a god send for this team. A laker for life (we dont count the ‘other years’).

  17. its sad to see kobe with less mobility than a 38 year old grant hill…

    the amazing part is he can still average 25.

  18. Is there a link for this game?

    Craig W.

    There is a move that addresses everything that some wonder about. That is Deron Williams coming out in 2012. He is a young Fisher is so many ways except for he’s better off the dribble. That could work if you renounce veterans and the current rookies. He couldn’t buck the system because the system works, plus our veteran leadership would not allow him to rock the boat even if wanted to (which he wouldn’t). That is the ideal move for the Lakers providing the CBA allows such a move.

  19. Busboys4me,
    My issue with that is…who would we get rid of? By that time we probably wouldn’t be able to keep Lamar and possibly not Gasol. That leaves an aging Kobe and Bynum. Ok, that might be a good team, but would Deron join that group? I’m not sure.

  20. transition defence not great

  21. guess we are getting the lazy lakers tonight…

  22. Craig

    Given the bi-annual, Steve Blake, and the Rookies I don’t think it would be more than that. He would be around $10 million a year.

  23. Shannon Brown’s constant gambling on defense is infuriating.

  24. Not a great 1st quarter there. Hope that the bench can eat into the deficit a little.

  25. Wow, 4 3’s in the lineup. Barnes, Walton, Artest, Odom.

    (I know Odom’s not really a 3)

  26. I don’t know if trying to match Phoenix from deep is going to get it done.

  27. 19, Gasol is under contract until 2014, same as Kobe.

    22, Wait, Deron will make $16M in 2011-12. No way he’ll be around $10M in 2012 unless he takes a massive paycut, which won’t happen. Absolutely no way he takes less than the max, so unless the new CBA drastically changes the max contract, no way Deron goes anywhere at that price.

  28. am i watching footage of the November home game against Phoenix? :P

  29. The defense is pathetic so far tonight.

  30. the only way we get deron or dwight…

    is if the lakers do not pick up the option on bynums contract in 2012. that would happen if bynum gets another serious injury anytime between now and next year. that is the only way i believe.

  31. so much for our defense.

  32. 66-60 at the half reflects the game pretty well. Non-existent defence and a lot of shots going up. Here’s hoping that the Lakers start locking down a little in the 2nd half. If they do that, it should be an easy W.

    Still hard to watch a team that gave up 80 for the game 2 nights ago give up 60 in a half tonight!

  33. While we definitely coulda been contesting some shots better, Phoenix’s offense was just that good early on, to the point where I couldn’t get too mad. If Nash is going to make passes like that, what can you do? They won’t (knock on wood) sustain that impeccable level and I’m looking for us to really put the foot down coming out of the 3rd quarter.

  34. 29, not possible even then. They already have $67M in contract obligations in 2012-13 assuming Fish and Artest both pick up their options and both Lamar and Drew decline, which is over the cap.

    The only way we get another all-star caliber player is if they take an unimaginable paycut or if we trade one of our players (probably Andrew). In other words, almost certainly won’t happen.

  35. Q: What do you label Kobe-Bryant-like talent with insufficient heart and drive?

    A: Vin-sanity.

  36. Deron is the choice not Dwight. Dwight changes the complexity of the team. Deron does not. If you were him would you take say $15 million to play with an established championship calibur team or would you hope that New Jersey gets the pieces to make a champion?

    The other choices is to go to New York and hope that experiment works (how’s it going so far?) or to Miami with three already maxed players and no one other than Mike Miller to waive, plus you will be part of three people who need the ball in their hands at all times.

    The Lakers are his best bet to win it all and fit into a system that best suits him. The money can be worked out the same way it was for Shaq. Remember they had to renounce the rights to Sedale Threatt, Derek Strong, Pig Miller (ah Pig Miller good times) and Frankie King. The same can be done say for Walton, Caracter, Joe Smith and Theo (and Blake if necessary) to get Deron. Kobe, Deron, Drew, Pau, and Artest (starting). Odom, Fisher, Shannon, Barnes, Ebanks (bench) and find five people.

  37. 38 – what if Lebron, Wade and Bosh all take massive paycuts to take their collective talents to L.A.? They want to win a ring together really badly, so maybe they’ll realize they need to find a winning organization to do it with.

  38. Now that’s a good start to a quarter.

  39. Lamar is playing out of his mind.

  40. lamar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. LAMAR!!!!!

  42. lamar is so talented its crazy, best player ever not make an all star game?

  43. James – I reckon that Lamar would have to be in that conversation. I think he and Derek Harper would both be on that list.

    I think that this is the 3rd quarter that we all wanted to see…

  44. lamar, my favorite laker!!!!!!!!!!!

    aka the goods
    aka the candyman

    and kobe needs to stop trying to steal lamars thunder!!! ha ha jk…sorta

  45. Kobe with ANOTHER trey!

  46. Oh my!!! Don’t get caught up in a Steve Nash shooting contest. Keep doing what you were doing guys!!!

  47. You know, I always want him to lose against us, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Steve Nash light up teams – even if it’s us.

    Still – really good to see the good guys dialed in so far this quarter. Good Lamar is in the house.

  48. @38 Zephid

    Read my post in #40. It would be the same way we got Shaq.

  49. actually the lakers have a team option for bynum after the 2011/2012 season ends. so that would free up lots of money.

  50. Pelvic instability? WTF Kevin Harlan.

  51. Not the way you want to end the quarter.

  52. that was some crazy pelvic instability lol please tell me someone else heard that~!!!!!!

  53. Way to blow a big lead. Good job.

    Might want to try covering Nash. Or the roll guy on the P&R. Just give it a shot. See how you like it. Geez…

  54. @54 You’re not saying they would not sign Bynum???!!! Bynum is a must. Trust me it works with renouncing the rights to those I mentioned.

  55. man is nash ever good

  56. lol 58.

    not saying that at all. just stating a fact. If bynum can stay healthy there is no way in hell i would want him traded or not signed.

    on a more serious note, lakers need to wake the eff up.

  57. Well, just as I was really starting to enjoy the game, the end of the 3rd and the start of the 4th happened.

    Not ideal. Need to steady things and just grind out the win.

  58. phil this is a terrible lineup what are you doing

  59. hey any chance we could sign nash to a one year contract? when is his contract done with the suns?

  60. that lead went away fast.

  61. Hmmm, I have seen the Lakers lose just a little more than the 21 point lead that they have just lost, remember a certain Finals game.

  62. what is with Aaron brooks playing against the lakers? the defense on him hasn’t been bad, he’s just makin shots

  63. It’s amazing that the bench can enter the game and play with zero signs of intensity and IQ on defense.

  64. 40, Um, even if that were possible to just “renounce” players, which it isn’t at least in Walton’s case, Walton + Theo + Caracter + Smith is <$8M. That puts the Lakers at $59M, which is still $1M above the current cap. In other words, no where close to the $16+M required to sign Williams or Howard.

    I don’t remember the Shaq case exactly, but the CBA was very different back then. I do know that it wouldn’t work with today’s CBA.

  65. 8 points in the first 7.5 minutes of the 3rd, got up by 21 then give up 28 in the next 7.5 minutes… not gonna cut it

  66. Luke Walton is painful to watch right now.

  67. shannon and luke single handedly losing us the game

  68. 65.
    that was tottaly uncalled for.

  69. Why is Luke Walton playing so many minutes? I just…don’t get it.

  70. I would imagine that we’ll be riding with the starters the rest of the way, with perhaps a dash of Barnes & Blake.

    I also cannot understand how the team so easily gets sucked into these 3 point shootouts whenever the play Phoenix. I know that sometimes we get hot (see the first 7mins of the 3rd quarter), but it’s just not the ideal method for this team to be using.

  71. lamar looks tired out there.

  72. Play the freakin’ game. Stop with the 3s!!! Sheesh!!!

  73. @69 – as opposed to the times that he’s *not* painful to watch?

  74. Did fisher just block frye?

  75. 75

    For some reason it’s a lot more painful to watch him when he’s actually on the court…

  76. Zephid

    Walton and Blake are $10 million themselves. Caracter, Theo, and JSmith are just say $3 million. The Bi-Annual and the Mid-Level still there. You still don’t think it would work?

  77. man. gasol was open in the corner for 3, kobe. damn it.

  78. The real sign that we miss Drew – giving up 20 and 10 to Channing Frye.

  79. kobe should give the ball up to lamar….

    and kobe shuts me up again with another clutch shot.

  80. Wow how does Nash make that off the dribble PnR 3 like a layup and nobody else in the league has that shot?

    Edit: same for Kobe’s turnaround mid-range fallaway

  81. Steve Nash is a bad man.

  82. stupid shot attempt. stupid stupid stupid.

  83. Shoulda let Vince take that shot. Crap.

  84. Wow. Just wow. Not how I envisioned this game panning out. Time for a real gut check.

  85. This would be a really bad loss

  86. They deserve to lose. Who the hell blows a 21 pt. lead in the 3rd qtr?!

  87. have we learnt yet that running kobe of screens is much better then iso

  88. that last attempt by kobe was a joke. im sorry but it has to be said. ron artest in the corner WIDE OPEN!!!!! PASS THE BALL!!!!!! and on the way back no one looks at him

  89. Great, now it is OT, another five minutes of BB.

  90. That’s gotta be one of the worst 4th quarter finishes I’ve seen all year. Absolutely mindless on both ends of the court.

  91. A very bad loss indeed. A win though, would be a win I would take.

  92. A couple bad plays by Kobe + Fish down the stretch.

    Nash doesn’t take that shot, Carter has no chance, Nash is not penalized, whereas Kobe definitely forces a bad shot in Nash’s situation, which would be better than what V.C. got.

    Pau is always so aware – so good on those last second switch, closeouts on D. I don’t recall seeing him lose track of the clock and sag off instead of switching.

  93. wtf is kobe doing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  94. Kobe’s turned an efficient night into a barely 50% night. We are just not executing down the stretch or in OT. Wasted our crunch time moments on the Blazers maybe?

  95. Huge steal by fish!

  96. First good decision from Kobe in a while.

  97. LAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!

    RONNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!

    SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRUST YOUR TEAM KOBE?!?!

  98. Why the eff are we acting like Phx is Boston on D?! Seriously?!

  99. Why did Kobe take that 3 with 2 people on him and Gasol open?

  100. odom is saving Kobe. if not for odom… urgh.

  101. 102. Exactly right.

    and just a side thought, lamars career high was 34. If kobe wasnt such a ball hog in this game lamar would have easily gotten that.

  102. no matter how close this game is there is this kind of a feeling that the Lakers are in NO WAY of losing the game

  103. Did the entire team fail basic math? You don’t need to wait until there are only 5 seconds left on the shot clock to get into your offense! Wtf?! It’s as if they’ve never played the game before!

  104. Noles – It has been a baffling last few minutes of the 4th and OT. Not sure why they’ve approached it like this.

  105. From a veteran championship team too, AusPhil!

  106. Wow, the Lakers just sent an 81% FT shooter to the line.

    Hey there is 1.1 seconds left, give it to Fisher, right?

    Edit: double OT, more great BB tonight!

  107. Oh my goodness. How did we let that happen?

  108. And now they’re laughing with one another? Wow.

  109. ok sending good karma now…kobe will make this last shot and end this charade!!!

  110. The way Lamar Odom is playing this season shows his Value to this team. We can have a PF who can either start or come off the bench for. Discussions as to his value of bagging the sixth man award shows what a gem he is for any team. I for one cannot imagine how some laker fans always include Lamar’s name in trade rumors. I sure am glad we kept Lamar over Ariza.

  111. Did they want to know what it feels like to lose in OT?

    Or do they want to pad their stats with extra time?

    But all’s forgiven if they win this one.

  112. Can we resume running the offense now? Please?

  113. strap in boys, this is war. enjoying the hell out of this game.

  114. Glad to see them feel confident enough in Lamar to laugh about the boneheaded play and subsequently draw up a play for him for the game-winning shot. Shows his consistency has earned him an immense amount of trust.

  115. I will be surprised if the Lakers win this game. It has to be demoralizing at this point.

  116. Shannon will get an earful from Kobe, I bet.

    On the other hand, Kobe is 1 assist shy of…

  117. another stupid turnover by KOBE on a fast break!!!

  118. Black Swan!

  119. maximus decimus meridius!!!!! what a move by pau!

  120. 4 point game with a little over 2, does anyone else still not feel comfortable?

  121. Pau is quietly having a 9/24 night…

    you’d expect such numbers from Kobe, but Pau…

    Kobe, you NEED 1 MORE ASSIST. Go get it.

  122. Don,
    I have no problem with going to Lamar on the last play considering the game he’s had. But I don’t see what the players find so damn funny about having to go to double OT at home against a team with 33 losses and currently out of the playoffs. That, actually, is pathetic to me.

    Now just win this damn game!

  123. what a crazy game.

  124. maximus decimus meridius!!!!!

  125. Best NBA game of the season. Has to be

  126. oh man. i thought for sure pau was about to miss 1.

  127. My heart can not take a 3rd OT, but I want that soooo bad now.

    Edit: Great a 3rd OT, the third time is a charm, right?

  128. me too chibi. Maximus came through. big time.

    DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE!

  129. on one hand – great game. on the other hand – we shoulda won this by 10 in regulation

  130. 260 points worth of basketball

    +5

    this is interesting. will Kobe get his triple double, or will he just shoot away?

    Odom is on pace for 55 minutes, Gasol for 52, Kobe for 47.

    * not sure when we felt ‘small’ compared to the suns…

  131. This game is bananas.

  132. Incredible!!!!

  133. 127,
    I’m with you on your 2nd point.

  134. GREAT D BY MAMBA

  135. 3 OT..what a game

  136. I wont be comfortable unless the Lakers are up by 10 with 2 seconds left

  137. Don’t you just love Gortat’s face? It just said:

    “zomfg I can’t believe we tried to throw it in to a 38-year-old guarded by Kobe effing Bryant. I mean, I know he doesn’t usually play defense, but this is the last play with one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders.”

  138. What’s worse than having to stay up for west coast games on the east coast? Staying up for triple overtime west coast games on the east coast.

    I hope they don’t expect me to accomplish anything at work tommorow.

  139. lol simonoid

    best game of the season. easily. terrible game by the lakers.

  140. Well regardless of the outcome of the game, at least Kobe put up a really nice line and gained on his old buddy Shaq in the all time scoring race.

  141. Everybody is ice cold at this point.

  142. cant we run the offense???

  143. Artest!!!

  144. Ron with the tomahawk slam!!!!!

  145. To answer your question harold, it appears kobe is going to shoot himself out of triple double

  146. Wow.

    Let’s see if we can defend this possession.

    Kobe’s assist still not coming.

    *on a side note, what’s the record for most over times?

  147. It takes Artest 4 quarters and 3 overtimes to warm up enough to be able to dunk like that.

  148. Kobe with the trey, then Ron-Ron with the dunk!

  149. OMG Ron canNOT do that in practice if he tried.

  150. when was the last time ron dunked that OMG

  151. everybody say it with me,….

    QUEENSBRIDGE!

  152. Not super worried about minutes at this point since we’re off until Friday and it’s only the Clippers, plus we’ll have Drew back

  153. Ok, Artest is clutch.

  154. How about just 6 turnovers for us this entire game, including 3 OT’s?

  155. That last make by Ron-Ron?

    Uglier than Kendrick Perkins’ mom.

  156. QUEENSBRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  157. QUEENSBRIDGE!

  158. Great shot by Ron Ron, and I’ll certainly take it! But seriously, why are they acting like they have no clue how to run the offense against a team that hasn’t played defense since the inception of the franchise?!?!

  159. Never doubt lamar or Ron everrrrrrrrr!

  160. Why did Kobe shoot?!

  161. That’s just a terrible decision.

  162. FINISH HIM

  163. Wow. Good thing Kobe made that one because I have no idea why he took it.

  164. Kobe! Artest!

    I’m pretty sure Suns fans everywhere cringed when Carter had to check back in, much like when Luke has to when Artest fouls out.

    121 noles, its because exactly that – the Suns are not a playoff team – it’s not like we are a young team who has to be more serious and can learn from boneheaded plays. This is a veteran team that knows who they are, they know what they’re capable of.

    Yea, we lose focus sometimes, but we’ve been there, call it confidence, call it hubris, but I’m happy to see they’re not making a big deal about it. I’d rather you understand that it’s the exception, instead of overthinking it and doubting yourself.

  165. That was a tuurible decision by Kobe to shoot

  166. at least he made it. stupid decision. great shot.

  167. Exactly, Simonoid! What the hell was he thinking?!

  168. That was needlessly difficult, but at least we won.

  169. Love you Ron Ron

    Ugh herm…. Odom…..

  170. I hate to say this, but Kobe just got a LeBron-esque statline tonight:

    42 points (15-31), 12 rebounds, 9 assists.

  171. Nice Win, the best game of the year, for sure.

  172. 168. i cant tell…are you dissing lamar for tonights game?

  173. Thank goodness this game finally ended with a W.

    But if there’s a recap, the first sentence should definitely read “why the hell did it take triple OT to beat a scrub team at home after leading by 21 in the 3rd?!”

  174. On both of those replays of big shots – Kobe floater and Artest dunk, Frye trying so hard to avoid contact. Thought maybe he was saving himself due to foul trouble. I checked his line and he only had 2 fouls.

  175. Odom and Gasol went 107 minutes and Pau has played 97 minutes during the suspension.

    Thanks, Phil.
    Thanks, Andrew.

  176. Crazy game, Lakers survive and win

  177. Next game is a trap!

  178. I meant that for Odom since we wouldn’t be in this over time from that bad foul…. oh well we won all is forgiven

  179. WHOA! what a fun, entertaining high-energy, high quality game from both teams! I remember Phoenix running the Lakers out of the gym sometime in November-December with 22-3pt shots. I feel that they played even better today. But great to see our Laker team clawing their way back time and again. It was great to have caught this game. Big win for the Lakers. When is their next game? Good thing Drew will be rested and ready to go for the next game

  180. 81, No it won’t work. 1st of all, maybe you’re thinking about trading Luke Walton and Steve Blake for Dwight Howard? Because you can’t just remove their salary from our cap.

    Second, you can’t combine exceptions with player salaries, ever. Not in trades, not in free agent signings, not ever.

    So in other words, no, it won’t work.

  181. chibi

    Pau looked terrified on the second free throw!!!

  182. 184. That was one mistake. There was another player on the floor for the lakers tonight who made MANY mistakes.

  183. Analysts can be so lame. Yeah, Brent Barry. Clearly Grant Hill won the battle with Kobe tonight. Kobe basically shot 50%, had 42 pts and a near triple double. And got the W.

  184. 226 total shots, 68 from three, 47 free throws. Triple OT makes stat lines hilarious.

    Also: Lamar and Gasol combined for 53/29/8.

    The +/- is really strange: Phoenix’s starters are all around +1 to -5, except for Vince Carter with a sterling -20. Their bench is mostly +1 to +3, except for Dudley (Carter’s backup, I’m sure there’s no connection) with a +10.

    The Lakers’ starters are +4 to +15, the bench is -6 to -14. Matt Barnes with the low +/-, which is surprising.

    Also, shockingly low turnovers lately. A game like that, and the Lakers had 6. SIX! It wasn’t so long ago they were averaging 15 or more a game. Not to go all Joel Myers on y’all, but I think that has just as big of an impact on the recent success as the other, more-discussed factors.

  185. jane. kobe almost lost the game for us tonight. He played just well enough for us not to lose. i guess thats all that matters in the end.

  186. Thank you Jane

    How does someone win a battle and give up 42 points on 48 percent shooting? The guy almost has a triple double, plus he team wins. BB has always hated the Lakers. Same goes for McHale who was better than BB, but you can tell he wanted the Lakers to lose. Chris Webber was a Laker hater but gave it up by saying the rest of the league better take notice. The Lakers are not giving anything away.

  187. six turnovers in 63 minutes is unbelievable as is fish playing 46 minutes without a basket, neither of which are as unbelievable as how bad Luke Walton was

  188. LO_fan, this game was not winnable without Kobe, mistakes or not.

    At least the team doesn’t play again until Fri & Bynum will be back. These guys must be just beyond spent.

  189. Lamar played 55 minutes w/o a turnover. Incredible!!!

  190. 194. i agree with you jane. just dont think the numbers tell the whole story.

  191. eventhough Lakers won the game, the play of the night was Nash assist on the sideline..That was sick

  192. Lo fan, get off your horse already. This isn’t a Kobe loving or bashing site, but haterz get real annoying no matter who the player.

    That game was tiring but fun, Frye and Nash were smoking hot from outside and our bigs couldn’t get a tip in for their lives. Nash was just amazing tonight, a shame he is wasting away with no other players around him.

  193. high horse? I didn’t say anything disrespectful and gave kobe plenty of props throughout the game. Scroll up if you want and you will see that. I didn’t like his decision making in this game. Big deal! No player on the lakers is exempt from criticism.

  194. Drew owes LO and Pau BIG TIME for this game. They missed his inside presence. Phoenix outscored us in the paint 56-48 mostly on dunks that would not have taken place with Drew in the game. The rest between now and Friday is a Godsend.

    Sucks to be Phoenix who has to fly to the East Coast for a game tomorrow.

  195. Best & Most entertaining game of the season thus far. Neither team deserved to lose but luckily for us Laker fans, they were on the winning side.

  196. These are statement games. The last two were games that we normally (earlier in the season) would have just chalked up to experience and allowed them to slip away. To be champions, you have to find ways to win every game. Sometimes, we have to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat or we do what we did tonight and just sieze the opportunities. They were tired and not playing basketball the Laker way, but they fought themselves and won the game anyway. It pays to be able to win in a variety of ways. A barn burner (tonight) and a grindout (against Portland) are two excellent examples of the intestinal fortitude of our Lakers. DAMN it feels good to be a LAKER FAN!!!

  197. DAMN it feels good to be a LAKER FAN!!!

    I will second that. :)

  198. @202, Busboys4me

    Best post of the night.