It was a great win for the Phoenix Suns over the Los Angeles Lakers. Any win for Phoenix over the Lakers is a great win. But when it takes a franchise-high, 22 three-point shots, you don't exactly have a recipe for success. It was just one of those games where the guys made shots and the Lakers, for whatever reason, refused to defend the three-point line until it was too late. The vast majority of the Suns threes were wide open attempts.
It is certainly worth celebrating the win, but it doesn't really change much and is not a blueprint for a successful Suns season. The Suns will need to get better on the glass and in the paint to beat good teams. They will need big games from Robin Lopez, who continues to struggle as he continues to recover from last season's back injury. Still, great win and a ton of fun.
The hot shooting for the Suns was led by yet another great performance by Jason Richardson, who led the team with 35 points and eight rebounds and leads the Suns in scoring this season. The team, overall, set a franchise record for three-point shots made with 22-of-40 falling from behind the arc. Richardson had seven, followed by five for Hedo Turkoglu, including a clutch late long ball to seal the victory. The only Suns player not to shoot well from range was Jared Dudley, who went 1-5. The Suns made 22 threes compared to 21 two-point field goals.
Rebounding, on the other hand, was huge problem for Phoenix. The Lakers advantage was 49-32 in total rebounds and 20-10 on the offensive glass. That led to a 25-14 edge in second chance points. Defensively, the Suns weren't able to stop Lamar Odom cutting to the basket or prevent Pau Gasol from scoring in the paint. He finished with a monster 28 points and 17 rebounds. The Suns have no answer for Gasol, but neither does the rest of the league.
Robin Lopez was looking a tad bit more mobile and athletic than he has so far this season, but picked up an early second foul that limited his minutes. When he came back in the game, Jared Dudley fell into the side of his knee, which sent him to the bench for the rest of the night. It was reported that Lopez has a left sprained knee, but it doesn't seem too serious since he was on the bench during the game and moving around.
Instead of bringing in Garret Siler and trying to match the Lakers on the glass and in the paint, Alvin Gentry doubled-down and went even smaller. Channing Frye played a solid 37 minutes (20 points, six rebounds) and Josh Childress even got minutes at the power forward position in a small ball lineup.
The loss is the second in a row for the Lakers, who are now 8-2 on the season, while the Suns record improves to 5-4 with the win. The Suns return to Phoenix and will face the Denver Nuggets Monday night in a home game against the only other team to beat the defending NBA champions this season.
For more post game reaction, visit Bright Side of the Sun.