7:14 PMLakers 139, Suns 137: March 22 Running Diary
Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening home contest against the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers looking for a fifth straight win, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
6:03 Though Robin Lopez starts, Phoenix’s best center, by far, is Marcin Gortat. He checked in early, and promptly converted a dunk and then a layup in transition by beating L.A.’s bigs down the floor, putting the Suns up 18-15. The Polish Hammer, actually, is probably one of the league’s top seven or eight centers (try to think of eight that are better). Furthermore, the Suns have been much better of late with Frye in the line up. They went 1-4 with him out of the line up last week, but had won 8-of-11 with him on the court.
0:00 The Suns played very well in the first, looking like a team fighting for a playoff spot (which they of course are being two games back of Memphis for the eight spot) while scoring 31 points on 50 percent shooting. The Lakers did manage to stick around despite playing just average, going for 27 points behind eight from Gasol and five each from Odom, Bryant and Barnes off the bench.
3:14 The next stretch of minutes saw improved defensive intensity from L.A., led by an all-over-the-place Artest, which resulted in a 55-52 lead with Gasol and Bryant scoring on the other end. Both teams were shooting 54 percent a moment earlier in a well-played game with only five total turnovers. Artest then hit his second three-pointer to put the Lakers up 58-53, their biggest lead.
0:00 The Lakers got hurt in one category more than any other in the first half, fast break points, as they gave up 19 while scoring only two. Nonetheless, a 6-0 individual scoring run from Bryant allowed the home team to close the half with a 66-60 lead.
8:19 Odom kept going, forcing more entries here, nailing a three-pointer and then a tough and-1 through traffic to improve to 9-of-11 from the field for 21 points, a game high. In the process, L.A. opened a 17-point lead, taking full control of the game.
4:34 L.A.’s lead ballooned to as many as 21 points when Bryant hit back-to-back three-pointers (to reach 12 points in the quarter), but Phil Jackson didn’t like where the tempo was going as Nash answered with consecutive threes of his own, and Fisher took a triple early in the shot clock. Phil called time out with the lead down to 15 points, and drew up a play to get Gasol a left-handed hook inside that set the lead at 91-74.
7:43 With Odom in the starting line up, the only sub able to get anything going on offense was Barnes, who cut to the hoop before throwing down a one-handed dunk that had him up to 13 points on 6-of-9 field goals. Walton, however, was 1-for-5, and Brown 0-for-3. On the other side of the court, Aaron Brooks — who used to hurt the Lakers as a Houston Rocket — was up to 15 points off Phoenix’s bench, while Mickael Pietrus had 10 and Gortat 14.
3:54 Phoenix eventually tied the score at 101, the bench crew having trouble creating good shots against the Suns zone D … at least until Bryant and Gasol checked back in, which created an open three for Blake (swish), Bryant’s pull-up jumper, another Bryant jumper and then Odom’s hoop to push the lead right back to nine at 110-101.
0:47.0 The 14th three-pointer of the game for Phoenix, from Frye, cut LAL’s lead suddenly in half at 112-109, and a Fisher miss at the other end gave the visitors a chance to tie … which they did as Grant Hill hit a three from the corner. On the other end, Bryant missed a tough driving runner through traffic, and with a chance to win the game, Carter couldn’t get close on a three over the outstretched arms of Gasol. Overtime.
0:13.0 Terrific all game for Phoenix was Gortat, who scored off a pretty Nash pass to get the Suns within one … but even better all night was Odom, who grabbed a critical offensive board off Bryant’s missed three to earn two free throws for Fisher on the inbounds pass. Both went down, allowing L.A. a 121-118 lead. But…
0:01.1 … Phoenix ran an inbounds play to get Frye a look at a three, which he missed long, the rebound falling to Nash. He found Frye again, and Odom tried to foul him on the ground, but the refs said Frye was going up to shoot, rewarding Phoenix with three free throws and a chance to tie the game with 1.1 seconds left. Through the pressure, Frye hit all three. Odom missed a potential game winner on the other end from 20 feet, bringing us some double overtime.
0:02.5 A wild game continued to get more crazy, with the Suns going on a 5-0 run to take a two-point lead on a Frye three, before the Lakers got a stop and then two pressure-packed Gasol free throws to tie the game with 2.5 seconds left in the game. The Suns had a chance to win, but Bryant didn’t allow Hill to get a shot off, forcing triple OT for the first time since Dec. 26, 2009 at Charlotte.
0:14.2 OK, so, again … just silliness. After a ridiculous one-leg, falling-away jumper from Artest, Frye hit Phoenix’s 17th three of the game to cut the lead to two. So Bryant just ran up the court and pulled up for a jumper to push it back to four. It finally ended after a Suns’ layup with 1.8 seconds left, the final score 139-137. We’ll take a breath, and come back with Postgame Numbers shortly.
226 Combined field goal attempts in the game. The Lakers made 53-of-120 (44.2 percent), the Suns 51-of-106 (48.1 percent).
139 L.A.’s season high in points scored, aided by the three overtimes, of course. Both teams scored 112 in regulation, before L.A. managed 27 to Phoenix’s 25 through the three extra periods.
42 Points scored by Kobe Bryant, a season high, on 15-of-31 shooting. He added 12 boards and nine assists in a near triple-double effort, five of those points coming in the third OT. He took so many big shots it was hard to keep track of how many he made, though his final effort, a pull-up in transition with 14 seconds left in the final OT, sealed the game. It was Bryant’s third 40-point performance of the season, and 107th of his career.
39 Three-pointers made by the Suns in two games at STAPLES Center this year after they hit 22 in November, one short of the NBA record. Of their 17 makes on this night, Steve Nash and Channing Frye hit five each, with four other Suns making up the difference.
29 Season high in points for Lamar Odom, who was terrific for the Lakers in adding 16 rebounds, five assists and a block.
21 L.A.’s biggest lead of the game, attained in the third quarter, before Phoenix bombed away from three to eventually tie the game at 112 to force overtime.
15.3 Shooting percentage on three-pointers for Vince Carter, who made only two of the 13 he attempted.
9 Turnovers for the Lakers, a very low number for a three-overtime game. Phil Jackson cited the late turnovers forced by L.A. as keys to the game, as Phoenix had four in the extra periods.
8 Lamar Odom’s rank in the NBA in the field goal percentage category, helped on by another efficient night of 13-for-22 shooting that was at 11-of-14 after the fourth quarter before he tired in the overtimes, playing a total of 55:13.
|Total comments: 1|