The Los Angeles Lakers came out sluggish Monday night and were defeated by the Phoenix Suns to the tune of a 99-76 final score. Yes, the Lakers-mobile was running on fumes and did not even pass go on the Monopoly board.
The Lakers played like a team that was in the final game of five straight days of grueling basketball matchups, but in reality this was just game two of two. They looked every bit the part of a team that hasn't won both games in a back-to-back. Thankfully for them there aren't any back-to-back-to-back's that were sprinkled throughout the compact schedule last season, as that would likely end so terribly David Stern would have to step in for "basketball reasons".
That seven-man rotation was huffing and puffing, but it was the Suns doing all the destruction of houses.
Dwight Howard took the lion's share of the field goal attempts on the night, putting up 18 shots, but making only six of them. His streak of 12 or more rebound games was snapped. Howard looked about as stiff and exhausted as he has since the All-Star break after playing 40 minutes Sunday night.
Steve Nash had a game-high 19 points but only four assists to go with that. Jamison, who was huge in Sunday's victory over the Sacramento Kings, was a non-factor with only three points on one-of-six shooting.
Bright spots? There weren't many, but Steve Blake had a solid game off the bench. His 13 points and four assists helped the Lakers keep pace early through the first three, but the Lakers fell apart in the fourth quarter and no amount of Blake could have made a difference.
As a team, the Lakers shot only 33 percent on the night. L.A. made only five of their 22 three-point field goal attempts.Phoenix, meanwhile, cruised through the game as they shot 48.3 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. The Suns outscored the Lakers 28-10 in the final frame.
Phoenix had contributions across the board, but perhaps most notable was Luis Scola scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and outscoring the Lakers production on his own. The Suns' bench combined for 52 points.
On the bright side, the Lakers now have three days worth of rest. When the Washington Wizards visit the Lakers on Friday, the purple and gold could be welcoming back both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to the starting lineup. Sometimes a team just has to account for their wounds and move onto the next game, which will certainly be the case for Los Angeles after this one.
Another frustrating road loss to the Suns at a critical point of the season. Nothing new to see here. 18 turnovers, an atrocious shooting night filled with missed layups, the end of a back-to-back, the Suns shooting the lights out, and no Kobe or Pau wrap up this abysmal night of Lakers basketball.
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- Bright Side of the Sun is surely celebrating doing their part to dent the Lakers hopes this season.