Shooting Barrage By Phoenix Sends Lakers To Second Straight Loss

The Lakers suffered their first home loss of the season.

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Lakers' Lamar Odom To Have MRI Monday On Right Foot

As if losing their second straight game wasn't enough bad news for the Los Angeles Lakers, they received more bad news after the game, when it was revealed that forward Lamar Odom will have an MRI on his right foot on Monday. Odom has a bone bruise on his right foot that has bothered him this week. After the game on Fox Sports West, Odom said in an interview that the injury wasn't a big deal and that "hopefully this was the last time we have to talk about this," but that seems to be more of a company line than anything.

Odom did have 22 points and 11 rebounds tonight in the Lakers' 121-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. On the season, Odom is averaging 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Losing Odom would leave the Lakers' front line wafer thin. Andrew Bynum is out until after Thanksgiving as he recovers from knee surgery, and backup Theo Ratliff has been battling a sore left knee. It was revealed after the game that Ratliff would also have an MRI on Monday.

If both Odom and Ratliff are out, the Lakers would have to go to a smaller lineup, likely with Ron Artest sliding to power forward and Matt Barnes playing small forward. Rookie Derrick Caracter could also see a sharp increase in minutes. The Lakers begin a three-game road trip on Tuesday that will take them to Milwaukee, Detroit, and Minnesota.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Phoenix Three-Pointers By The Numbers

On one hand, it was quite frustrating to watch the Phoenix Suns hit three after three in their 121-116 defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. Sure, the Lakers' defense left a bit to be desired, but the Suns really were extraordinary from beyond the arc. If the Suns make a mere 50% of their 40 three-point attempts, that's six fewer points in a game the Lakers lost by five. You do the math. "You put guys in a gym by themselves, it's tough to shoot that percentage from three," Kobe Bryant said. "They shot lights out." Here are some numbers breaking down the Suns' three-point barrage:

  • 1st quarter: 5 for 9 (55.6%)
  • 2nd quarter: 7 for 11 (63.6%)
  • 3rd quarter: 6 for 9 (66.7%)
  • 4th quarter: 4 for 11 (36.4%)

The Lakers by comparison really put the clamps on Phoenix in the final quarter, but to no avail. Here are the three pointers broken down by player:

  • Jason Richardson: 7 for 10
  • Hedo Turkoglu: 5 for 7
  • Channing Frye: 4 for 9
  • Goran Dragic: 3 for 5
  • Steve Nash: 2 for 3
  • Jared Dudley: 1 for 5
  • Grant Hill: 0 for 1

"Our philosophy is that those things even out over time; they didn't tonight. A team is going to make a certain percentage of threes. If they make 10 in a game, that's a high number. This team averages nine, so that's a really high number," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after the game. "The real issue is about those other 80 points that come in the paint [in a normal game], so we try to work with that."

Neither Kobe nor Jackson were pleased with the technical foul called on Lamar Odom with 53.7 seconds remaining in what was a two-point game. Kobe called the technical foul "disgusting," which seems like the kind of thing that could draw a fine from the league.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Suns 121, Lakers 116: Phoenix Sets Franchise Three-Point Record In Win

The Los Angeles Lakers used Sunday as a day of rest for their defense, and as a result were handed their second straight defeat, by the hot-shooting Phoenix Suns, 121-116 at Staples Center. The Suns set a franchise record with 22 three-pointers made, many with the Lakers either content to watch or caught in a defensive switch. The loss was the first for the Lakers at home this season, and dropped their record to 8-2 on the season.

The Lakers cut the lead to two points, thanks to a driving layup by Lamar Odom with 53.7 seconds left. However, Odom was incensed that there wasn't a foul called on the play, and he was assessed a technical under the NBA's new no-whining rule. Steve Nash hit the technical free throw to put the Suns up three, and Hedo Turkoglu hit a three-pointer to give Phoenix a 115-109 lead with 34.7 seconds left.

The Suns made 22 three-pointers in 40 attempts, the second-most threes made in a single game in NBA history. The Orlando Magic hold the record by making 23 three-pointers in a game against the Sacramento Kings on January 13, 2009. The common thread on both teams is Hedo Turkoglu, who made five threes for the Suns tonight and hit three three-pointers for the Magic.

The Lakers had several good offensive performances, but couldn't get a stop on defense when it mattered, never drawing closer than two points in the fourth quarter. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 28 points and 17 rebounds, the first time as a Laker he grabbed double-digit rebounds against the Suns. Kobe Bryant was one rebound shy of a triple-double, with 25 points, nine rebounds, and 14 assists. However, Kobe also had eight turnovers, more than he has had in any two-game stretch this season. Odom added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers.

Jason Richardson led the Suns with 35 points, making 13 of 20 field goals, including seven of 10 three-point attempts. Richardson scored 34 of his 35 points in the first three quarters. Steve Nash had 21 points and 13 assists for Phoenix.

The Lakers begin a three-game road trip in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Phoenix Sets Three-Point Record Against Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are staying away from Phoenix Suns shooters tonight like they have the plague, and as a result the Suns are shooting the lights out at Staples Center. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Suns lead the Lakers 95-89 thanks to an astonishing 19 three-pointers made so far tonight.The Suns, with nary a Laker hand in their face, have made 19 of their 30 field goal attempts from beyond the arc (63.3%). Phoenix has made 16 of 33 two-point field goals (48.5%).

The Suns tied the Lakers' franchise record for allowing the most three point shots made is 19, which was also set by Phoenix on April 11, 2005. As bad as the game has been defensively for the Lakers, they still have a chance to win, down by six with 10:44 remaining, if they actually play some defense. There have been numerous poor rotations, leaving Suns' shooters wide open all night.

Pau Gasol has 24 points and 15 rebounds through three quarters. Kobe Bryant has 18 points, six rebounds, and 10 assists. Lamar Odom has 19 points and seven boards through three. Jason Richardson leads all scorers with 34 points for the Suns, on 13-of-17 shooting, including making seven of nine three-pointers.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Suns 56, Lakers 53: Phoenix Shoots Lights Out In First Half

A barrage of three-pointers by the Phoenix Suns gave them a 56-53 halftime lead over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday night in Los Angeles. The Suns, who took the lead with a 16-2 run near the end of the second quarter, made 12 out of 20 shots from beyond the arc. Phoenix was led by Jason Richardson, who had 18 points and made four of his five three-point attempts.

The Lakers, who lead the league in lowest turnover percentage (12.0 per 100 plays), had a whopping 12 turnovers in the first half. Pau Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers. After 15 games as a Laker without collecting 10 rebounds against Phoenix, Gasol reached double digits in the first half! Kobe Bryant seems is well on his way to another triple-double, scoring 14 points, getting five rebounds, and dishing out seven assists in the first half.

Phoenix shot 50% in the first half, including 68.4% in the second quarter (13-of-19 from the field). The Suns made seven of their 11 three-point attempts in the second period. The Lakers shot 48.9% in the first half, and out-rebounded the Suns 25-16. Lamar Odom led the Lakers with 15 points.

The Lakers have won their two previous Sunday night home games this season by a combined 49 points, but tonight has been a much closer affair. In defeating Golden State on October 31, the Lakers were up by 18 points at halftime en route to a 24-point victory. Last Sunday, against Portland, the Lakers led by 22 at halftime on their way to a 25-point blowout.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Steve Blake Out, Look For Sasha Vujacic Vs. Goran Dragic Rematch

The Los Angeles Lakers will be without the services of backup point guard Steve Blake tonight, as they battle the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. Blake is out with a stomach virus, per Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. Blake has been an effective member of the second unit so far this season, especially shooting from the outside. Blake has made 15 of 30 three-pointers this season.

With Blake out, look for Sasha Vujacic to play more minutes tonight. Vujacic has played sparingly this season, appearing in only four games and has played just 17 total minutes. Blake has averaged 18.2 minutes per game so far this season.

More importantly, more minutes for Vujacic means potentially playing against old friend and fellow Slovenian Goran Dragic of the Suns. The two tangled in Game 6 of last year's Western Conference Finals:

"I heard somebody talking in my language and talking something about mothers and family,'' Vujacic told NBA Fanhouse after the incident. "That's only to be expected from a low human being to do something like that." Get your popcorn ready for tonight's game!

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Will Pau Gasol Get 10 Rebounds Tonight?

Pau Gasol has been very good so far this season, one of the keys to the 8-1 start of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is averaging 22.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game so far this season, all while leading the Lakers in minutes played. However, as the Lakers prepare to host the Phoenix Suns tonight at Staples Center, in a rematch of last season's Western Conference Finals, there is one Gasol stat that stands out.

Since joining the Lakers in February 2008, Gasol has played against the Suns 15 times: nine regular season games, and six playoff contests. In those 15 games against Phoenix, Gasol has yet to grab double-digit rebounds in a game. He has come close several times, picking up nine rebounds five times and eight rebounds twice, but Gasol has never cracked the double-digit barrier.

This isn't really a big deal, as Gasol has still been effective against the Suns, averaging 19.2 points while shooting 58.9% from the field since joining the Lakers. The team is 11-4 in those 15 games, including 6-0 at home.On October 29 in Phoenix, Gasol had 21 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists, one of the best individual performances by a Laker this season, but came up just short on getting 10 rebounds.

Pau Gasol Rebounds As A Laker Against Suns
Split Offense Defense Total
Regular Season 1.9 4.5 6.4
Playoffs 2.5 4.7 7.2
Totals 2.1 4.6 6.7
Source: Basketball-Reference.com

As a Laker, Gasol is averaging 10.2 rebounds per game in 249 games, including the playoffs. In the 234 games that haven't been against Phoenix, Gasol has had double-digit rebounds 134 times, or 57.3% of the time. But, against the Suns Gasol is 0-for-15. Will Gasol snap that streak tonight?

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Probable Starting Lineups & Injury Report

When the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns get together Sunday night at Staples Center, not only is the game a battle of the NBA's top two offensive teams, but it is also a game featuring relatively healthy teams. In the early going, both the Suns and Lakers have used the same starting lineup in each game. Sunday night looks to be more of the same, as both clubs figure to run out their regular lineups. Here is a look at the probable starters and injury report for both teams:

Suns

Point Guard: Steve Nash

Shooting Guard: Jason Richardson

Small Forward: Grant Hill

Power Forward: Hedo Turkoglu

Center: Robin Lopez

Josh Childress is listed as probable with a fractured tip of his right index finger. Childress suffered the fracture on October 19, but hasn't missed a game because of the injury.

Lakers

Point Guard: Derek Fisher

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward: Ron Artest

Power Forward: Lamar Odom

Center: Pau Gasol

Theo Ratliff, who was inactive for the game in Denver, is listed as questionable with a sore left knee. Luke Walton, who was active but didn't play in Denver, is listed as probable with a strained right hamstring.

 

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Battle Suns At Staples Center Looking To Get Back Into Win Column

The Los Angeles Lakers look to rebound from their first loss of the season with a home game Sunday night against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. The Lakers, who lost 118-112 Thursday night in Denver to the Nuggets, are 6-0 at home this season. Tonight's game figures to be an offensive affair, as the Lakers and Suns are the top two teams in the league in offensive efficiency:

Rank Team Pts Per 100 Possessions
1) Lakers      
116.1
2) Suns 111.5
Source: Basketball-Reference.com

The Lakers beat the Suns 114-106 on October 29 in Phoenix, in their second game of the season. Lamar Odom, with 18 points and 17 rebounds, and Pau Gasol, with 21 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists, led the way in that game in Phoenix. Gasol had a season-high 20 rebounds in Thursday's loss in Denver, and is averaging 11.8 rebounds on the season, which ranks third in the NBA. Odom ranks seventh in the NBA, averaging 10.9 rebounds per contest.

Kobe Bryant on Thursday night became the youngest player in NBA history to score 26,000 points. He scored a season-high 34 points against the Nuggets, but made only 11 of 32 field goals. Kobe has scored 67 points in his last two games, but has also taken 60 shots to do so, with an effective field goal percentage of 42.5% in those two games. On the season, Bryant is averaging a team-high 25.2 points in just 32.8 minutes per game. Bryant's low minutes per game in the last 12 seasons is 36.1 (in 2008-2009), so any extra rest Bryant can give his knee in the early part of the season is a blessing.

The Lakers have won the season series with the Suns in each of the last three seasons, winning 10 of their last 13 regular season matchups with the Suns. The Lakers are 16-6 all-time against Phoenix at Staples Center, including 7-3 in their last 10 meetings in Los Angeles. Steve Nash has been hot in his last three games, shooting 65% from the field (26-of-40) while averaging 21.0 points and 13.3 assists during that span. Nash is averaging 19.9 points and 9.5 assists per game on the season.

The game is a 6:30 p.m. PST start, and will be televised by Fox Sports West. Tonight's game is the Lakers' seventh home game in their first 10 contests, but they begin a three-game road trip Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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