There’s really not a lot to say about this game so I’m going to keep this short.
Against the Suns the Lakers played like a tired team. After playing only 7 players against the Kings the night before, the same tactic was tried against the Suns and they simply didn’t have the legs to make it work.
They were beat to nearly every loose ball. Their jumpers hit front rim or rattled in and out. They were caught flat footed on defense and were barely moving to grab rebounds. The Suns, meanwhile, looked fresh. They cut hard and chased rebounds out of their area. They got out in the open court and finished on the break. They hit jumpers and moved around the floor freely. The difference in the two teams was reflected in the score, with the Lakers falling 99-76.
Really, my summary of this game could be summed up in two tweets:
Mike D’Antoni deserves a lot of credit for how this team has played in turning their season around. He’s established roles, gotten the necessary buy in from his players, and has made countless tweaks to his scheme to try and get the most out of the skills of his guys. Many ignore these things when evaluating this team, but none of these positives are lost on me.
That said, tonight he didn’t put his team in a position to succeed. That hasn’t happened much lately, but it did against the Suns. The result was a loss.
Getting into the X’s and O’s of this game, then, really is pointless. What matters now is that the team doesn’t play again until Friday and the hope is that by that point they’ll not only be sufficiently rested but will also have Kobe and Pau back.
So, as frustrating as this loss was, it’s best to just put it behind you as quickly as you can. This team is still in the playoff hunt and is still a team that has a workable plan for success moving forward. Tonight was not a good showing from the players nor the coach. I’m pretty sure that won’t be the norm too many more times this year.