Points totaled by the Lakers, right in Mike D’Antoni’s preferred range of 110-115 as promised at his opening press conference. “I told the team if we’re not averaging 115 points per game, then we need to talk,” D’Antoni said Thursday. “That’s our goal and it should be easily done.”
More points for Kobe Bryant, in such an impressive early-season rhythm, on 10 of 24 shooting. He’d been close to 50 percent on the evening before some late misses when the game was in control. Bryant now leads the NBA in scoring (26.9), having come into the contest averaging 26.4, the same as Houston’s James Harden, who scored 29 in a loss at Portland. “Kobe played great,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry noted. “If you can get 31 points on 24 shots, I still think you’ve done a good job. That’s how good of a player he is.”
Free throw attempts for the Lakers, nearly doubling up the 15 for Phoenix, with Kobe hitting 10 of 11 and Dwight Howard staying at his 50 percent clip on the season with 4 of 8 makes.
Personal fouls drawn by the Lakers, no surprise for the team that leads the NBA in fouls drawn (23.4 per game). They committed only 15. Bryant and Howard certainly help in that area.
Lakers turnovers, a number the coaching staff can be quite happy with, as they began the year routinely going over 20. The Suns did punish those TO’s with 19 points, but L.A. notched 26 points of its on off 15 Suns mishaps.
Assists for Michael Beasley, a career high for the wing known for his scoring. He added 14 points, with Phoenix paced by 22 from Goran Dragic, who also notched seven assists for a team that had 27 on 45 field goals. L.A. was right there percentage wise, tossing 25 dimes on 42 field goals.
Three-pointers drained by Metta World Peace towards a season-high 22 points, second only to Bryant’s 31. MWP added six boards, three assists and three steals in an impressive individual performance. “He’s just being aggressive,” Kobe said. “He’s taking his shots that are available to him, and he’s not thinking about it.”