Tonight was deemed "Mission Impossible Part 2" by a respected Suns journalist. The local commentators were hoping for a rain out (hur, hur). While there was no rain or Tom Cruise sightings at the game, winning was to be a monumental task. The "tired" Suns on the second night of a back to back didn't play a perfect game, and even if they did, they probably still would have lost to the defending champions.
There was certainly some good that came out of this game, and there of course, was some bad.
The Suns at least competed tonight. The first quarter witnessed an active Suns team, combatting a nearly flawless Lakers attack. Amare Stoudemire showed up, feeling his outside game and battling inside for rebounds. But five turnovers leading to a 9-2 Lakers run in the first 7 minutes left the Suns in an early hole.
The Lakers D held, as it did for the rest of the game, limiting any Suns inside penetration. Pau Gasol switched off on Steve Nash, thus alleviating any pick 'n roll success.
Still the Suns were making shots, ad held close. A Jared Dudley three brought the Suns back to a 2 point deficit, the Lakers still held a 29-26 first quarter lead.
The Suns battled in the second quarter as well, going on a nice little 6-0 run. Yet the Suns struggled on D, allowing Laker penetration and two wide open threes. Robin Lopez left his man too early, allowing the first, while Steve Nash went underneath a screen allowing the second. The Suns were still playing respectable and even managed a free throw, their first with 3.49 to play in the second. But this was as good as it was to get for Phoenix on this night as they ended the first half down 54-44.
The Suns were outscored by 11 in the third quarter and all was, well, finished at that point. The lakers continued to attack and get what they wanted on the offensive end while the Suns went cold from outside, and continued to have trouble getting in the lane.
The Suns second unit closed the lead to 13 midway through the 4th quarter, but back to back three pointers by Shannon Brown ended the Suns small run.
The Rest of the Good (which wasn't a whole lot)
- The Suns shot 57% 1st quarter, Nash had 7 Assists (who cares, I know)
- Goran Dragic had a nice little pick off of Shannon Brown, took the ball the length of the court for a layup. (It was nearly dropped. You gotta DUNK, Goran).
- Robin Lopez didn't look dreadful and confused, in fact he looked serviceable. Heis aggressive at the rim and has a nice little 5-6 foot jumper. I'm hoping he can get in shape and put in 10-15 minutes eventually this season. he could be valuable against the more sizeable teams.
- The Suns second unit played pretty well. Lopez, Dragic, and Dudley all played solid. Earl Clark had a nice 15 footer off the dribble.
The Rest: A Very Small Ode to the Lakers:
OK the Suns are tired and this was a back to back game on the road. We didn't expect much. But this Laker team flat plays defense. The cut off the lanes and the Suns simply couldn't penetrate to the hoop. The Lakers also rebounded and played good perimeter defense. The Suns couldn't shoot from the field, they couldn't make a three. Further, the Lakers executed their offense flawlessly. Ron Artest made threes, Kobe Bryant simply toyed with Suns defenders. Bynum was all over the glass, and Gasol confounded Amare Stoudemire. So...what in God's name were the Suns supposed to do tonight? They played the reigning champion and got trounced. I don't like it, you don't like, but that's the way the mop flops.
End of story.
- Suns shot 4-13 from three point land. The Lakers were 10-21.
- The Suns shot 11 free throws, making 10. The Lakers shot 22-26.
- The Suns had 14 turnovers, the Lakers 11.
- The Suns had 37 rebounds, the Lakers 42.
- The Suns had 36 points in the paint, the Lakers had 40 (maybe I missed them, but I do not recall the Suns scoring that much in the paint).
- OH, AND THE LAKERS HAVE PLAYED 16 OF THEIR FIRST 19 GAMES AT HOME. (yep, I'm just a smidge bitter).
Next up, @Dallas, 6.30 PM on Tuesday, 12/8
Suns vs Lakers coverage