PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Jared Dudley #3 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after hitting a three point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Nine times out of ten, a double double is a good thing in basketball. Acquiring double digits in two different statistical categories is usually positive. Points and assists, points and rebounds, or some crazy combination like rebounds and assists, or points and blocks, no matter what, its almost always a good thing. Tonight, Kobe Bryant pulled the rare negative double-double. He got his points, 32 in all on a relatively efficient 11-24 shooting ... or at least it would have been efficient if not for the other "double", which was turnovers. 10 turnovers for the Mamba, more than half of his team's 18, and nearly as many as Phoenix's entire team. Some of them were due to over-aggressiveness on Kobe's part, some were due to just the right amount of aggressiveness on Phoenix's part, and some were just really stupid and/or lazy passes. The turnovers led to transition opportunities for the opponent, and a pace that spelled doom for the elderly Lakers playing a contest on the road.
Kobe is hardly the only person on whom this loss falls, as the entire team around him played with the kind of lackadaisical energy that is inexcusable in any situation, much less the only game in the next four in which the Lakers will be a) better than their opponent and b) well rested. This was a throwback game for the Suns (give them credit for playing an energetic style of ball the Lakers could not match). The Suns were running after turnovers, running after missed shots, and I'm not quite sure what they did after made shots because the Lakers didn't make enough for us to find out. Every time Phoenix took a quick shot, it was wide, wide open because the Lakers defense was still getting set up. The Lakers outside shooting was once again nowhere to be found, hitting just 3 of 18 opportunities despite having tons of good looks all night due to the aggressive double teaming of Kobe Bryant.
Thus, Phoenix built up a huge 23 point halftime lead that the Lakers spent the entire 2nd half chipping away at as the Suns shooting went cold, but the mountain was way too big to climb. It's another road loss for the Lakers, one they could ill afford let slip away.