1:17 PMLakers 99, Suns 95: Jan. 5 Running Diary
Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday night game at Phoenix as the Lakers looked to for their fourth win in five games since Andrew Bynum returned to the starting line up, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
4:00 After letting Bynum carry the heavy load inside to open the quarter, as he drew three PF’s and scored four points despite missing 4-of-6 free throws, Kobe Bryant started to take advantage of the open space on the court with Phoenix packing the paint. He sank his next three shots, including a three from his favorite spot of last season’s Western Conference Finals, kicking off a run that would continue in earnest once he went to the bench.
1:24 Since entering near the at the 5:27 mark, Lamar Odom amassed six rebounds with four points and an assist, leading a 16-0 Lakers burst capped by five straight points from Shannon Brown out of transition run outs. Though L.A. had played the night before, their legs looked more than fresh in building a 29-17 lead. Phoenix managed a put-back layup from sub Jared Dudley to stop the run, and he added two free throws with 0.8 seconds left to cut L.A.’s lead to seven (31-24) at the break.
7:45 Tough break for the Lakers with Odom’s third personal foul, his going to the bench immediately followed by Phoenix getting a transition layup from Hill off Blake’s turnover to tie the game. Blake, however, drained his third shot of the game at the other end in four attempts, a triple, to put L.A. back up three at 42-39.
2:01 Phoenix continued a much better second quarter thanks in large part to Dudley, who buried his second triple after converting his second offensive-rebound layup to reach 16 points. Nash followed a triple of his own to give the Suns their first lead since early in the game, and after Nash drew Artest’s charge, Dudley hit yet another to make it a 50-46 Phoenix lead. L.A. would pull three points back before halftime to trail by a point at the break. Bryant had 10 points, while nine of his teammates scored at least one bucket.
3:30 Ron Artest continued a solid individual game by hitting his second triple of the game, and following up by working the offensive glass to earn L.A. two extra shots on a possession, even though he wouldn’t be credited with a rebound as he forced Gortat to knock the ball out of bounds. Meanwhile, Matt Barnes would enter to give Artest a break, charged with limiting Dudley at the other end after Phoenix’s SF scored 19 first half points.
0:08.0 Bryant’s 1-of-2 free throws allowed L.A. a 80-73 lead after the third quarter, thanks to an Odom-inspired 7-2 run featuring his ridiculous spinning, banked leaner and his pretty dish to Barnes on the next possession.
5:49 With the Suns’ second unit in, Alvin Gentry went to the zone defense he employed so often in the 2010 Western Conference Finals, to mixed effect. L.A. did settle for some long jumpers, they also penetrated the zone for a drop-in layup from Bynum and a reverse layup from Brown, who cut into the paint to receive Odom’s pass, putting L.A. up 90-82.
2:00 After shooting very well all game (9-for-12), Bryant missed three straight jumpers while the Suns scored seven straight to cut L.A.’s lead to one. But Brown, with two free throws, and Artest, with a clutch corner three, built the lead right back to six. Artest’s triple came just seconds after he subbed into the game, as Phoenix left him wide open in the corner. On the next possession, Artest earned L.A. a second shot with his offensive board, and Fisher dropped a deep two to make it a seven-point lead. L.A. would concede a triple from Frye in the final minute, but Gasol preserved a four-point win (99-95) by swatting Carter’s three-point attempt with 10 seconds to play, after which L.A. just ran out the clock.
That’s four of five wins for L.A. since Bynum returned to the starting line up.
16 More rebounds coralled by the Lakers (47-31), led by Lamar Odom’s 10, Pau Gasol’s nine and seven each from Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant.
21 Points off the bench for Phoenix’s Jared Dudley to lead the Suns, 19 of which came in the first half to keep the Suns in the contest.
40 Bench points for the Lakers, led by Shannon Brown’s 13, Lamar Odom’s 12 and Steve Blake’s seven.
47.1 L.A.’s shooting percentage, just below Phoenix’s 48.6 performance in a relatively efficient offensive game. Kobe started out hot, hitting 9-of-12, before missing his final five shots of the contest … not that it hurt the Lakers, thanks to Artest and Fisher’s late heroics.
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