Game Recap: Lakers Fail To Execute Down The Stretch
The Lakers started off with a three by Steve Blake off an assist from Kobe Bryant but looked rusty allowing the Suns to get off to a quick 10-0 run. Things turned around quickly for the Lakers with Meeks providing most of the offense. After air balling his first shot attempt in his first game back, Bryant threw down a dunk for his first points in this game. The Lakers countered the Suns’ early run with an 11-4 run of their own. With Bryant and Gasol on the bench, the second unit provided some great plays with Hill knocking down a jump shot and Blake connecting with Johnson for an impressive alley-oop. Both teams exchanged buckets and kept the game close, but Markieff Morris hit a few field goals to put the Suns up. At the end of one, the Suns led the Lakers 26-21.
Phoenix came out strong in the quarter pushing their lead to 10 points after a Goran Dragic layup. The Lakers had an impressive play with a sweet pass from Young to Hill resulting in an easy bucket, but the team looked sloppy in the first few minutes of the quarter turning the ball over. After a nice start by the Lakers second unit earlier in the game, the bench took some difficult shots that did not go down and the Suns added to their lead. Henry and Young got the Lakers going after they each hit consecutive shots, but the Lakers did not close out on defense with Bledsoe hitting a three for the Suns. Bryant hit his second field goal of the game off a great pass by Gasol midway through the quarter. The Lakers cut the Suns lead to five after Gasol knocked down a jumper. On defense, the Lakers struggled to get back, allowing the Suns to get some easy buckets. The Lakers pulled within three after Meeks, who was doing it all offensively, hit a three. Phoenix continued to keep the lead with the Lakers unable to get stops on the defensive end. Gasol knocked down a jump shot to beat the buzzer and the quarter ended with the Lakers trailing 56-51.
The Lakers came out flat to start the quarter not getting anything to go down and letting the Suns get off to a 9-0 run. About three minutes in, the Lakers finally got their first points of the quarter with Williams getting a layup to go down off a pass by Gasol. Lakers started to find a rhythm scoring in the paint on consecutive positions. A 6-0 run by the Lakers cut the Suns’ lead to eight points. The Suns started to cool off, turning the ball over and had trouble scoring, however, the Lakers did not take advantage. Bryant started to look more aggressive and hit a beautiful bank shot to give him 12 points in the game. Phoenix had a 14-point lead but the second unit came out strong bringing the lead down to just five points. With some good defense, the Lakers brought the Suns’ lead down to one point after Hill put back a miss by Henry. After two quick layups by Bledsoe, the quarter finished with the Lakers still trailing, 79-74.
Henry got the Lakers started off in the quarter drawing a foul after getting a layup to go down. The Suns started to get their shots to go down with the Lakers struggling on the offensive end. Phoenix pushed their lead back up to seven but the Lakers got a much needed three from Johnson. With the game close, Young missed free throws to cut the lead to seven and turned the ball over. The Suns took advantage, with Dragic getting in the paint and scoring on a layup. The Lakers could not get stops on the defensive end and allowed the Suns to take control of the game. Kobe started to look like his old self knocking down a nice fade away to put the Lakers back in the game. Unfortunately, the Lakers continued to give up shots, a crucial offensive rebound and could not score when it was needed. Kobe records his 1st 20 point game, but the Lakers lose to Phoenix, 114-108.
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