Lakers Outlast Suns In Triple Overtime Thriller

The Lakers are 13-1 since the NBA All-Star break.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: About Those Three Overtimes Last Night

Last night's triple-overtime thriller at Staples Center was quite a game. That the Lakers won helped ease the sting of blowing a 21-point lead with under 17 minutes to play, but even had they lost to the Suns it was a wild ride. The Lakers prevailed 139-137, in what was the third three-OT game in the NBA this season, and the first triple-OT Lakers home game since February 1969.

Just how did the Lakers build that 21-point lead in the first place? C.A. Clark of Silver Screen Roll explained:

In short, every big name player the Lakers are blessed with did their part in driving an extremely potent offensive attack.  Kobe Bryant had 26 points on 9-14 shots through three quarters.  Lamar Odom had 21 points on 9-11.  Pau Gasol had 20 points on 8-18 shooting (what a chucker, amirite?).  By and large, these were not dunks or layups caused by poor Suns defense.  These were jumpers, open jumpers mind you, but jumpers none the less.  And nearly every single one of them went down.  There are shoot arounds that don't go this well.  The Lakers (and Suns for that matter) were ripping the nets so often with drained jump shots that they may have caused a nylon shortage the likes of which we haven't seen since World War II.

The Suns are three games out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The folks at Bright Side of the Sun had a rather bleak recap of last night's game:

This loss pretty much sums up the story of the season for these Phoenix Suns; getting off to a decent start, falling away, making a comeback, taking a brief lead, giving it up again, fighting to get it back and never giving up, but falling short in the end.

The Lakers have two days of rest before hosting the Clippers on Friday night. This is where the benefit of being home for nearly three straight weeks is realized.

For more news on the Lakers or tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Kobe Bryant Leads Lakers To Triple Overtime Win Over Phoenix, 139-137

In the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Phoenix Suns, 139-137 at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 42 points and nine assists, and added 12 rebounds in the win. The Lakers are now 13-1 since the All-Star break, and have won five straight.

Tonight was the third triple overtime game this season in the NBA, joining a pair of games in New Jersey. The Nets and Thunder dueled for 63 minutes on December 1, and the Nets and Raptors did the same on March 5. It was the first four-overtime home game for the Lakers since February 1969.

The Lakers led 89-68 with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter, and looked headed for an easy win. However, the Suns staged a furious rally, outcoring the Lakers 33-12 over the next 11:33 to tie the game at 101. Each team traded misses at the end of regulation (Vince Carter missed a three) and overtime (Lamar Odom missed a turnaround jumper), and then Bryant hounded Grant Hill, who didn't even get off a shot at the end of the second extra period.

In the span of less than a minute in the third overtime, Ron Artest made two inexplicable plays that turned the tide. The Lakers were up one when Artest stole the ball with 1:56 remaining, then drove the length of the court and finished with a left-handed slam dunk that brought the house down. Then with 1:08 remaining, Artest made a jumper from just beyond the free-throw line after jumping off his wrong foot.

The game was so long, perhaps it's best to capture some highlights in note form:

  • Pau Gasol had 29 points, 16 boards, and five assists, while Lamar Odom had 24 points and 13 rebounds. The duo combined for 107 minutes tonight and they have played 193 total minutes in the two games of Andrew Bynum's suspension.
  • Despite the game lasting three overtimes, the Lakers had just six turnovers on the night. It was tied for their third fewest turnovers this season.
  • Steve Nash had 19 points and 20 assists for Phoenix. It was the first 20-assist game in the regular season against the Lakers since Nash dished out 20 on January 17, 2008
  • Channing Frye scored a career-high 32 points for Phoenix and had 14 rebounds. Frye and Vince Carter each attempted 13 three-pointers tonight, two more than any other Laker opponent this season.
  • The Suns made 17 of 41 three-point attempts tonight. It was the most attempts this season and the second-most three-point makes this season for Phoenix, who made 22 of 40 shots from distance on November 14.
  • Each team had three players with double figures in points and rebounds. Marcin Gortat (24 points, 16 rebounds) and Grant Hill (11 points, 10 boards) turned the trick for Phoenix.

The Lakers are off until Friday, when they host the Clippers at Staples Center.

For more news on the Lakers or tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: Kobe Bryant Isolation At End Of Regulation A Point Of Contention

The Lakers and Suns are headed to double overtime at Staples Center. But a play at the end of regulation brought up an interesting point of debate in recent weeks. After building a six-point lead with 1:17 remaining in regulation, the Lakers allowed the Suns to tie the game again, with a pair of three-pointers. After Grant Hill's tying trey with 31.8 seconds left in regulation, the Lakers ran a play that pretty much symbolizes the point Henry Abbott of ESPN tries to make with Kobe Bryant in late game situations.

The Lakers ran an isolation play for Bryant rather than run their normal offense, which is the second-most efficient in the NBA on a per-possession basis. Bryant took a highly-contested nine-foot jumper. While Kobe may make that shot under duress more than most, it's hard to imagine how the designed play was good from a basketball standpoint, even had he made the shot. He missed, and the Lakers dodged a bullet when Vince Carter missed a potential game-winning three at the buzzer.

For more news on the Lakers or tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Suns: With Or Without Andrew Bynum, Defense Is The Key For Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are in search of their fifth straight win tonight as they host the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. They will have to do so without their defensive stalwart, Andrew Bynum, who is serving the final game of his two-game suspension for a flagrant foul on Friday against Minnesota. The Lakers have turned it up a notch defensively, thanks largely to Bynum, and are 12-1 since the All-Star break.

During that span, the Lakers have allowed just 87.9 points per game, and have held eight of their last 13 opponents under 90 points. They have allowed a paltry 1.02 points per possession since the break, while maintaining their offensive efficiency at 1.13 points per possession during that time (the Lakers are second in the NBA on the season with 1.115 points per possession).

On Sunday, the Lakers held Portland to 38.6% shooting from the field, the seventh foe since the break to shoot under 40%. That was without Bynum, but the Lakers still came through defensively, holding the Blazers to 80 points. Dexter Fishmore of the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll was impressed:

In the decisive moments, the Lakers as a team ramped up their ball pressure and started aggressively jumping the Blazers' passing lanes. The Blazers, in turn, let their composure slip. After turning the ball over just six times in the first three periods, they coughed it up eight times in the fourth quarter alone. Not only did this result in empty offensive possessions they couldn't afford - in the second half, the visitors scored only 0.78 points per trip - but it allowed the Lakers to get running in transition and push toward the hoop before that annoying zone defense could get in place.

Tonight, again without Bynum, the Lakers will need their defense again as they face the Steve Nash-led Suns. Phoenix is ninth in the league in offensive efficiency (1.09 points per possession), so the Lakers will have their hands full. But, the Suns are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league (third-worst in offensive rebounding percentage, fourth-worst in defensive rebounding percentage) so Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom should be able to clean up tonight. Look for double-doubles from both big men as the Lakers try to win the season series against Phoenix.

For more news on the Lakers or tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Streaking Lakers Host Suns At Staples Center

The Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Lakers look for their fifth straight win tonight, hosting the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. Tonight is the final game of the four-game season series between the two teams, and the road team has won every contest. Back on November 14, the Suns established a franchise record by hitting 22 three-pointers in a win in Los Angeles.

Lamar Odom has averaged 17.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game against the Suns this season, and has a double-double in all three contests. Odom started two of those three games, and he averaged 20 points and 14 rebounds in those two. Odom will start again tonight, as Andrew Bynum is serving the second game of his two-game suspension. Odom had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in a start on Sunday against Portland.

The Lakers are 12-1 since the All-Star break, and currently hold a one-game lead over Dallas for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix has won two straight games after a four-game skid, and are two and a half games behind Memphis for the No. 8 seed in the West.

The Lakers on Sunday clinched the Pacific Division for the 22nd time in 41 seasons. The Lakers have made the playoffs in 58 of their 63 NBA seasons, and in 30 of the last 32 years under the ownership of Jerry Buss. The Lakers have 50 wins for the fourth straight year and 31st time in their history. Phil Jackson has won at least 50 games in 17 of his 20 seasons as an NBA head coach. Tonight's game will be televised on both Fox Sports West and TNT.

For more news on the Lakers or tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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