The Lakers shot 48% from the field. The Suns shot 47%.

The Lakers collected 46 rebounds. The Suns grabbed 43

The Lakers handed out 21 assists and the Suns did the same.

They even have the same number of turnovers with 10.

In tonight’s box score, the Lakers and the Suns appear evenly matched, from shooting percentage to assists, etc. That, however, is where the similarities end. Where Phoenix’s offense is heavily reliant on point guard, Steve Nash, the Lakers offense is dependent on ball movement, which is not specific to one player or position. In a point-guard driven league, the Lakers showed again tonight why they are the defending champions.

The last time the Suns and Lakers met was in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Back then, Phoenix had a second All-Star caliber player in Amar’e Stoudemire and an up and coming center in Robin Lopez. This season, Stoudemire has been replaced by Hedo Turkoglu and despite new additions to fill in the roster, the Phoenix is still no match for what the Lakers have – size. And not just brute size, but skillful, crafty size.

Gasol, seven feet of midrange jumpers, left-handed baby hooks and point guard abilities, with his back to the basket, spotted Kobe Bryant cutting in from the right wing and sent a timely pass that resulted in a quick layup. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Derek Fisher running a baseline cut and tossed the rock over his head just in time for Fisher to catch and flip it into the hoop. Gasol finished with 21 points on 10-17, 8 rebounds and nine assists.

Lamar Odom, six feet and ten inches of rebounding instincts and point guard tendencies, had 18 points on 8-12, 17 rebounds and five assists. With Odom, it’s all about effort, and his numerous putbacks off missed shots were a product of just that.

Kobe Bryant, playing with more bounce in his step and more lift in his legs, played almost 35 minutes and managed 25 points on 9-19, seven rebounds and three assists.

All the starters scored in double digits and the star of the Lakers bench this evening was Matt Barnes, 11 points on 4-5 (including 3-4 from downtown), five rebounds and a steal.

The game started with countless lead changes, but in the end, just like the last time they met, the Lakers were no match for the undersized Phoenix Suns.

Box Score

Pre-game Thoughts: It’s a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals. The Suns are minus Amar’e Stoudemire, but plus Hedo Turkgolu – an inside presence replaced by another outside scorer. We’ll see how that goes.

Half-time Thoughts: 57-50 – Both teams are scoring relatively easily, but maybe it’s because neither is defending the other.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: The Lakers when they have a lead. What is it about a lead that makes players lazy?

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: Lamar Odom – who led the game in rebounding with 17, and added 18 points and five assists.

  • showtime4eva

    Our team runs well oiled and precise.Unlike the pretenders in the east.We will last through June, the flash in the pans will burn out in May.Our KILLER B’s bench (Blake,Barnes and Brown)make life on the G.O.A.T easy, while he re-coops from surgery.Lamar and Pau are playing so well,I almost forget about Drew sometime. so far,so good. GO LAKERS!

  • Cedar Block

    ahhhhh it feels so good to beat PHX every time we play them Where That homo at? I’mma track u down Laffs atu I’m gonna beat the bitch outta you

  • http://therealkobebryant24.com trkb

    It was an exciting game, but I felt the same way, felt like we played to their pace instead of initiating our own. But a Win is a Win.

  • Robert.

    It was a pretty smooth game, compared with heat/Magic which was clunky and hyped. (the Magic played so poorly, and I was hoping they would have at least given the heat a good run).
    .
    The Lakers look like Champs, and are beginning to move like it’s a ‘walk in the park’ (or, a well oiled machine), which means that they’re ‘there’ NOW (pretty early in the season).
    .
    The ‘new bench’ kept pace with the Suns, which is a great sign, because recall years ago (2007) when our ‘speedy’ bench mob would outrun opponents, and wear them out, and the starters would take over in the 4th and blow the teams out. I think our new bench is similar to that. They will outrun opponents, and wear them down, etc. (plus, Blake is a potential scoring machine, and looks pretty good as a PG in the Triangle).
    .
    So, Anna, — I think we still need a good name for our new bench. I’ll try to give a couple of ideas (I’m going to risk sounding ‘lame’, but here goes): “Bench Press”,
    “Killer Bee’s” (or B’s), “Those Bench Guys”, “Hoop Stars”, “Killer Bench”, “Fast & Furious”, “Speed Demons”, “Bench G’s” (for ‘gangsta’ instead of ‘mob’),
    etc.
    OK, some of these suck, but maybe someone else has some ideas too.

  • 242LakerFan

    Boy, does Phx miss Am’ar”e”’e”e”’e’e!(POW!)
    They still think that zone defense did something for them last year. What they failed to realize (like a lot of people, including the talking head crowd – Hi Chuck!) is that we scored a lot against their zone last year. The problem was that wee stopped defending on our own end and gave up more than we scored.
    No, the only thing missing from this game was a pat on the ass for an exasperated Coach Gentry, okaaaaay?
    NWA, except you forgot to finish the paragraph about Lamar for some reason.
    Robert, I do like “Killer B’s”, but that’s because I’m a Dolphins fan and they used to have the Killer B’s Defense back in the 80′s. So how about “The Swarm”? That would have been good back at the GW Forum, huh? The Forum Swarm.

    • 242LakerFan

      Oh, and great to see Shannon finally throw one down! Sweeeet!!

      • MECKA

        242Lakerfan,

        How much would u pay me if i strip naked for u..

  • lakers0828

    Great Game well Played by the Bench LO and Pau both had big nights keep it Up Lakers

  • pillzmayn

    funny how laffs atu his a ghost right know

  • si pepe

    we always laff at it..

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    wow you beat phx who is undersized and playing 2nd of a back to back?????????????at least the heat beat the magic a playoff team….when do the lakers play ANYBODY???hey , si penis..more LEMON PLEDGE?

    • MECKA

      Look at your comment, now back to mine. Now back at your comment now back to mine. Sadly it isn’t mine, but if you stopped trolling and started posting legitimate comments it could look like mine. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re scrolling through comments, writing the comment your comment could look like. What did you post? Back at mine, it’s a reply saying something you want to hear. Look again the reply is now diamonds. Anything is possible when you think before you post

    • showtime4eva

      your teams number will come up..if they make that far.

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    M I S S E S, no wonder your daddy left you at an early age….now read my comment ,and tattoo it to your douche bag face. read my comment.now back at your retarded laker shot missing boring comment.

    • MECKA

      lol i ruined someones day……..

      • MECKA

        I am Roy’s lover boy.. dont say shit to me , my Roy will come and poke ur A ss…

        • MECKA

          typical somone hacks my name

          • MECKA

            Roy please remember to user protection next time u poke some one else.. i dont want to catch something from u..

  • http://57.amklac laffs atu

    just your moms…………..

    • MECKA

      Laffs Atu ,

      Please dont remind me of my mom.. she is busy servicing clients in TJ so she can take care of my scrub ass..

      • MECKA

        lol good one,,keep them coming

  • si pepe

    laffs at it..coz ur not human, ur lowest type of organism