The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns by the final score of 111 to 99 behind a prodigious game from Kobe Bryant, and an offensive explosion the likes of which we haven't seen all season. Kobe was strong in all facets of the game, dropping 36 points on 25 shots and adding 9 rebounds and 6 assists as well. As for the team, one of the best bench performances of the season keyed the highest point total the Lakers have seen all season, and just the 4th time this season the Lakers have scored more than 100 points. All this came despite twenty turnovers, but the Lakers shooting (and a little charity from Phoenix, who had 17 turnovers of their own), including 3-4 and 6-7 nights for Troy Murphy and Matt Barnes, was too much to overcome.
As has often seemed to happen this season, the advantage the Lakers have in the middle did not translate so much into on court success. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum both ended the night with double doubles, but Pau's 10 points and 13 boards involved having more shots than points scored, and Andrew Bynum's 17 and 14 included 4 turnovers, usually the result of picking up his dribble and getting trapped too often. Also, as expected, the Lakers were pretty well torched by the pick and roll, as they allowed Steve Nash to pick up 17 assists (he only scored 11 points), with Marcin Gortat as the benefactor, dropping 21 points and 16 boards.
But tonight was about the Lakers offense looking crisp and draining jumpers. For the 2nd straight game, there has been a poise about the offense that was lacking in the majority of the season to date. That poise didn't translate to success Tuesday against the Hawks, but it worked out well tonight. As it turns out, playing at team that doesn't defend very well was just what the Mamba ordered. Here's hoping Sunday's contest is just another dose of the prescription.