As one might imagine, Phil was not pleased with the night’s result, but “Phoenix had a lot to do with it. They played really well tonight. We played tired and reacted poorly to the ball and to the things we have to do.” Among those things is to make Nash a shooter rather than a distributor, but he tuned the Lakers to 20 assists (to just 18 for the entire Lakers team). Things were pretty dismal until the fourth quarter, when as Phil said, “We just had to find a line up that could shoot the ball and do some things.” But the rally fell short as, “at a couple of critical plays that would have put the game into perspective, where we could of had a one or two possession game didn’t happen for us,” explained Jackson.
In game two of the Andrew Bynum is injured tour, things turned sour for Kwame Brown, playing more minutes in Bynum’s place. He was greeted by a chorus of boos after a series of bad plays in the 3rd quarter. Thereafter he was booed each time he touched the ball. As Phil noted, this hadn’t ever happened, “Not on a team that I’ve coached. I’ve seen it in other buildings and teams, but not in my situation.” When asked why he didn’t pull Kwame out when things started to go downhill, “I wanted to let him work himself out of it and his teammates wanted to help him work out of it. They gave him the ball and gave him opportunities, but it wasn’t going to happen. Not tonight.”
The Lakers now sit a half game behind Phoenix in the Pacific Division at 26-12. While on the bright side, Lamar did assert himself as Phil had hoped against the Suns, tying his personal best in rebounds, the takeaways from this game are largely negative. The bench continued to struggle, the team hasn’t found balance in the 2+ games since Bynum when down and their defense has been even more affected than their offense.
Now it’s on to Denver on Monday as the Lakers continue to feel out their team, depleted by injury and facing stiffer competition.