For about 42 minutes of the game, the Suns were right there with the Lakers on their home floor, but the only problem for Phoenix is that the NBA game is 48 minutes long. Los Angeles would run away from Phoenix in the final six minutes and would get their seventh victory of the young season, 99-83.
There were some good things for the Suns and some not good things in their fifth loss of the season. Here is a rundown of the positives and the negatives from the 48 minutes of action that I watched.
It looks as though Channing Frye has left behind his early season shooting struggles. The Suns starter forward was 4-of-23 from three-point land in his first seven games of the season, but is 7-of-9 in his last two, including going 3-for-5 on Wednesday. Frye’s 17 points led all Suns scorers.
Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat looked good as well. Nash just missed out on another double-double with 13 points and eight assists. Gortat was arguably Phoenix’s best player on the court. The big man got his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ever since he had the splint removed from his finger, Gortat has been a much different player on the offensive end.
In his return to Staples Center, Shannon Brown had a relatively nice night. He got off to a real tough start shooting the ball in the first half, but he did a much better job in the final 24 minutes. Brown was the Suns only bench player to get double figures in points with 11.
Take away the nights of Frye, Nash, Gortat and Brown, the rest of the team was terrible.
Grant Hill had probably his roughest night since putting on a Suns uniform. He went 1-of-12 shooting from the field, putting five points on the scoreboard. Hill also had his problems on the defensive side of the court guarding Kobe Bryant. Bryant had to work for a lot of his shots, but the future hall of famer still scored 48 points, which was a season-high.
Both Markieff Morris and Robin Lopez were bad, really bad. Morris didn’t make a single shot in four attempts, which included a terrible air ball. Morris’ lone two points on the night came from the free-throw line. Lopez was held scoreless and had a porous two rebounds in just under 13 minutes. Morris and Lopez probably would have been better off staying at the team hotel.
Phoenix’s rebounding was horrific too as they were outboarded by Los Angeles by 14. Remind you, this is with Andrew Bynum playing only 30 minutes. 14 of the Lakers 49 rebounds were the offensive variety. Pau Gasol had four of those, which was to be expected, but giving up five to Luke Walton is just inexcusable. I was a fan of his when he was at the University of Arizona, but I am still surprised that Walton has been in the league for this long.
Overall poor job by the Suns rebounding.
After a brief one-game road trip to La La Land, the Suns will have back-to-back games at home. They will open up their two-game homestand on Thursday against an improved Cleveland team and then follow that up with a matchup against a bad New Jersey squad.