It was the Lakers’ game to lose when Shannon Brown swung an overhead pass to Jordan Farmar for a three-pointer in the second quarter to give the Lakers a 41-35 lead. It was their game to lose when Robin Lopez elbowed Derek Fisher on the head and sent the Lakers co-captain after the young fellow who obviously wasn’t familiar with the “Scola incident”. It was their game to lose when Kobe Bryant hit a three late in the shot clock to get the Lakers within one, 78-79, in the third quarter. It was their game to lose when Lamar Odom hit two free throws in the fourth quarter to give the Lakers a 91-90 edge since they last led in the second quarter. It was their game to lose and that’s just exactly what they did.

Behind a lucky night for Amar’e Stoudemire, who finished with 42 points, and get this, 11 rebounds. The Phoenix Suns have avoided getting. The Lakers, who have ended their 8-game post-season winning streak, stayed within striking distance for the majority of the game, with no Suns lead reaching beyond 10 points. The Suns, however, were clearly the aggressors tonight, attacking the hoop every chance they got (and they got a lot with the Laker defense glaringly ineffective or just plain absent), and were rewarded with 42 free throw attempts to the Lakers’ 20.

“We gave them too many easy shots from the free throw line,” Kobe Bryant said. “We let them attack us.”

“Let them,” as in not doing anything to prevent or defend it. Defense, at its core, is simpler than the skills or instincts of the defender. Like Phil Jackson has said many times before, defense is about effort and the Lakers gave it in small doses when it came to playing on the Suns’ side of the court.

Stoudemire met little resistance on his way to a 42-point game. The player defending his jumpers often didn’t leave the ground for very long, his lay-yups and dunks were mostly uncontested, and even when they were, resulted in free throws — 18 of them of which he converted 14.

Pau Gasol, skillfully sound when he has the ball in his hands, allowed Stoudemire and Robin Lopez, who scored 20 points, to repeatedly slip by his watch. Getting no help from Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, who were both in foul trouble, Gasol received the brunt of the Suns’ rediscovered inside game and he did nothing to even try to prevent it.

The Lakers, who dominated the Suns in the first two games with their own inside advantages, decided that 32 attempts from beyond the arc would be worth a try and they suffered because of it, converting only nine. By halftime, they had already attempted 13 three-pointers and made three. The Lakers only scored 15 points in that second quarter.

While Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher kept the Lakers alive with their offense (they combined for 77 of the team’s 109 points), Lamar Odom and Ron Artest left theirs in Los Angeles with 1-11 from the field for the entire first half. A quiet offensive night is sometimes credited to a greater defensive effort, but Odom and Artest did little to stop the likes of Stoudemire and Jason Richardson, who hit 4-7 from downtown.

Odom, whose effort is often defined by the number of rebounds he collects, grabbed 30 boards in the first two games, but only had six tonight. He also settled far too much for perimeter shots rather than attacking the basket, where he has been so successful. Odom said after the first game that if he was going to have a bad game, he wanted to go down swinging. With 6 points, 6 rebounds and 6 fouls (talk about a foreboding combination of stats!), he had a bad game, but there was very little swing in him tonight.

By the third quarter, it appeared the Lakers had figured out how to work around the Suns’ zone defense, outscoring the home team 37-32 to make it a 2-point game before the final period.

“We adjusted ok offensively,” Bryant said, “but defensively we couldn’t get stops.”

And there, along with their overconfidence from the 3-point line, is where the Lakers lost this game — their lack of defensive efforts, not to mention their 17 turnovers to the Suns’ six.

While the Lakers may have lost this game, a game that often goes in favor of the home team in a best of seven series, they still shot a respectable 48% and the Suns shot almost the same with 46%. The goals for Game 4 should be obvious: limit the 3-point attempts and play Laker ball, defend… better, take care of the rock, and don’t come back to Los Angeles with the series tied.

Pre-Game Thoughts: A 3-0 lead in the series would be oh so sweet.

Half-time Thoughts: Lakers in a 7-point hole and appear a little out of sorts. No one but Kobe and Pau has had any kind of offensive rhythm tonight.

Most Thoughtless Player(s) of the Game: The Lakers frontline who let Amar’e Stoudemire and Robin Lopez do anything they wanted. Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and, despite his offensive efficiency, Pau Gasol did very little defensively to stop… anyone in a Suns jersey really.

Most Thought-filled Player(s) of the Game: The Phoenix Suns, for reminding everyone that they are not to be mistaken for the Orlando Magic.

  • tatak lakers

    it makes me feel bad we lost game 3, but i’m pretty optimistic that this loss will prepare us for future battles..(like that eastern team)

  • tatak lakers

    thank god i can share my comments now..lakers fanatic from the Pilipinas..:) go lakers!

    • seankobe

      welcome kabayan!

      • lakerville213

        wassup kabayan…sana si manny laker fan din…celtics siya…=(

        • bc18

          yeeeeeeeeuhhhhhhhhhh PINOY PRIDE on TLN! hahahaha fo sho! GO LAKERS!

  • tatak lakers

    great work Anna…keep it up!:)

  • si pepe

    kumusta kabayan..mabuhay ang lakers..

    • bdmf

      FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUKKKKKKKKKKK
      NO TAGALOOOOG ITS ANNOYIN
      I HEAR IT EVERY DAAAAAY
      MOST ANNOYIN DIALECT EVEERR

      • si pepe

        and the way you write is more annoying..jejemon!

      • bc18

        LMAOOOOOOOOOOO! i agree! PINOY PRIDE though all day! hahahaah GO LAKERS!

        • LEADERFISH

          yes filipino pride is cool to have just learn to speak English in this country and abide by the laws and you can have all the filipino pride you want just like italian, german, czech, etc… americans have. Join the party don’t desecrate the country and learn its history. Then maybe you can have american pride.

          • bc18

            fo sho foo! i could speak english hahaha….gotta tell that to the ILLEGALS that yo!

    • mark

      mabuhay ang lakers!! lets get game 4!!

  • http://Www.YouTube.com/michaelperez8882 Michael Perez

    I knew the suns would win one. I predicted lakers win in 5. Look at this way: they gave us their best shot and played the best they can possibly play and we were still in it at the end. It’s all good :-)

    • si pepe

      That’s why i still feel optimistic after this game 3. Hopefully it will teach us to be more defensive and hardworking.

  • seankobe

    then who’s gonna be blame? it’s just 1 game but someone is responsible with the loss!
    amare 42, lopez 20, jrich 19, and nash 17?
    Kobe did superb game again 1 rebound shy…he’s really back! so lamar should say amare had a lucky game! they have the best match-up in a pound for pound inconsistent player…can’t wait tuesdays game!

    • si pepe

      no one to blame brother..just like we don’t blame who caused our wins…its a team effort.

      • http://www.twitter.com/TLN24 Marwan Marzina

        Sir, I love your optimism. You don’t blame players for wins and losses. You are a true fan sir! There are people that could use some lessons from you.

      • 242LakerFan

        You also have to realise it’s one game in a seven game series. You don’t go looking to assign blame unless you lose the series.
        Welcome to our Philipino brothers /sisters!

    • Toni

      Not blaming the refs or anything, but the FREE THROW disparity didn’t exactly help the Lakers out last night.

      I mean 20 times for the Lakers compared to 42 for the Suns, it’s not too hard to do the math.

      • seankobe

        I’m not to blame anyone on the lakers on this loss they had a good game than the suns anyway 48% to 46% fg of suns, 28%-25% in 3’s(but way too much ), FT hurts us, although they had 80% on 20 ft agains suns 42( ? ). The suns are the aggressor last night by attacking the basket. this is about lamar vs. amare who’s got lucky game series, so lamar should step up and attack the basket.

  • Aaron

    Phil should’ve replaced Brown with Sasha given our inability to knock down open shots the zone gave us. Kobe should’ve penetrated earlier in the 4th, and Pau should’ve flashed high post first every trip down the court. We were just caught off guard. I guess we will win it in 5, rather than sweep.

    • http://www.twitter.com/TLN24 Marwan Marzina

      I think Stan Van Gundy needs ‘shoulda’ scenarios more than Phil does. Phil is the master of adversity and even though he isn’t facing it, he isn’t hitting the panic button like Stan Van Gundy.
      Its just one game, people hit the panic button straight after a loss. Have faith in the team!

      • Aaron

        Hardly any concern on my part: merely pointing out my observations on tonight’s happenings. I always have faith in the team.

        • http://www.twitter.com/TLN24 Marwan Marzina

          I know, I’m not picking on you. I’m just telling those that read my comment because there are many that just bash, bash and bash on the team after a loss, and they can’t admit that the Sun’s played a better game. I’m telling everyone, just have faith.
          If you don’t have faith, then get off the bandwagon that many of you are likely to be on and go to some other team’s bandwagon. I hear the Celtics are doing well. People should look up Darrell Bailey, a.k.a. Clipper Darrell, he is the most down to earth, biggest Clipper fan and more importantly, the TRUEST fan. He is not a bandwagoner. Learn something from him

  • trippleocho

    The Suns won this game but I don’t think they’ll win again this series. We just did not adjust to the zone but we will find a way next game. I mean Lopez ain’t scoring all them points again.

    The free throws killed us, we shot 48% and they shot 46% but still lost. We need to attack that zone better next game. We are fine though, not worried at all.

  • uwee

    NICE ME FILIPINOS NA…….WELL BE FINE…..LETS GET D NEXT GAME

  • Rio Rondo College

    Haha!!! The Lakers are garbage. They dont have the heart of a champion. Tune in tonight and see how a REAL team closes out a series. GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Treyball824

      What? the lakers dont hav the heart of a champion but they r the defending champs? doesnt make sense to me… Looks like we gotta prov ppl wrong again in this playoffs

    • Toni

      Uh Rio, if you compare the way the Magic are playing the Celtics to the way the Suns are playing the Lakers, the Lakers have more of a series matchup to get through than your beloved Celtics do.

      Why don’t you do all of us Laker fans a favor and come back and irritate us on this board when it is time to meet up in the Finals and then you can talk all the smack you want because you do know that we will kick your green a**es with our Home Court Advantage!

      • seankobe

        hey rio, where you at last year? bulls take you in game 7, and the magic beats you in game 7, but good to have you back co’z payback coming on june….

    • mulan

      adversity will make the team stronger. so far, the leprechauns are having an easy time. but this will not prepare them for the ultimate battle.

    • TOUCHING_MYSELF

      Hey Remedial… you’re still here? Never did see a response to my post earlier! I know, kinda intimidating to take on an honor student when you’ve only been attending RIO HONDO… that’s ok, not everybody’s meant to be CEOs, management, or heck in your case… anything that will get you out of the welfare line would be great!

      Yeah, we all tuned into the game tonight, and saw that heart of your leprechauns just flat lined! Just remember the Cockston Bruins this year… leading 3-0, then 3-1, then 3-2, then 3-3, and what happened on home ice for game 7? Leading 3-0 in the final game and blew it against the Phillies! Hahahaha!

      It was an epic meltdown! We all loved it! And I mean GLOBALLY! No one likes Cockston, because you guys are wanna be Lakers and wanna be Yankees! You guys are just a bunch of pretenders, and the masks are finally being pulled off!

      Be prepared for an epic meltdown of massive proportions. It just might happen! Magic’s winning game 5 and if they somehow pull out game 6… not only will your sorry team lose game 7, but you guys will go back to where you were in the 90s!

      Well, even if the Magic don’t send you there… our Lakers will!

      GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Toni

      Hey Rio:

      Well I watched your game last night. – So exactly how does a “real team” close out the Easter Conference series?! … Oh that’s right, by going back to Orlando for a Game 5!

      HA HA HA!!! – With your Celtics supposedly “teaching” our Lakers how to close out games, we all might as well drop out of the class because they don’t know how to “practice what they preach”!

      He who laughs first, laughs last!

      • Toni

        ** Eastern **

  • toto

    its just a wake up call perhaps, a mindset game of being unlucky sometimes.. i predicted lakers in 5. so its quite ok haha

  • Blackmamba824

    plus on top of eveything the suns were making close to every inside shot the got… only at home.. They will NEVER do that in L.A

  • 242LakerFan

    This was a very disappointing loss, not for the fact that it was a loss, but for the fact that the Lakers slipped into tendencies that I thought they had left behind in the regular season: early clock threes; not feeding the post or working the triangle; too much one on one, jacking three after three; matador post defense.
    I don’t know if they thought Phoenix was just going to bend over and grab their collective ankles like the Orlando Tragic, but they didn’t seem to understand that those first two games were won NOT because the Suns played really badly, but because we played BETTER!. Phoenix was still scoring over 100 a game and shooting pretty well, but they were below their averages because we were playing good D and dominating the paint.
    Okay, vacation time is over, let’s get back to work, guys. Seriously.
    Nice job again, Anna. Beginning of the second paragraph is a bit iffy, but good stuff overall.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      They’ll be ready for Game 4.

      And that 2nd paragraph – I think some partial phrases got lost when it was copied and pasted. It’s supposed to say, “Behind a lucky night for Amar’e Stoudemire, who finished with 42 points, and get this, 11 rebounds, the Phoenix Suns have avoided getting swept.” Weird. Thanks for being so observant so I could clear that up =)

      • 242LakerFan

        Okay, I figured it must have been something like that.

    • lakerman1

      This is the adversity that Plaschke was talking about. No doubt they will bounce back Thursday. On another note Cleveland just fired Brown the coach. Wonder what brought that on.

      • lakerman1

        I meant Tues

  • gugy

    Well,
    I did not expect a sweep. i knew the Suns would win one game, at least I hope one game in this road trip.
    They had their season on the line and Amare play like a monster. Not sure if he will be that effective on the next game. Also I think the zone D took the LAkers by surprise. They will adjust. we were close most of the game so I think we can steal the next one and close it at Staples on game 5. I just want the team to rest as much as Boston.

  • justdogm1

    the way lakers love jacking up threes, really a zone is to blame for this loss?

    • King ME

      The way you all on our dicks our nuts are hurting Bitch!

  • j.dizzle

    If ppl really expected a sweep then they are pretty dumb. Phx isnt just gonna lie down & lose the series without trying ,they did just sweep a pretty hot Spurs team. This is a good thing IMO, the last thing you want is the lakers sweeping then going into the finals overconfident. A little adversity is a good thing, especially if its gonna be Boston in the finals. Just look at last season, that Denver & Houston series really tested the players & helped the team out in the long run. Only thing that really bugs me is that Bynum cant shut his trap to the media…Why the hell is he talking how amazing the Boston series will be when the Lakers were only up 2-0??? & then he goes at puts up 2 points while playing half assed..Its pretty sad that Lopez can be out for 2 plus months & put up 20 while Drew is basically a no show. Odom needs to be more consistent on the road too.

  • http://purpleandgoldblog.com TP&G Blog

    Nice work, Anna! Like 242 said, one loss in a 7-game for the Lakers means nothing. The Suns did everything they could to stay afloat but needed every bit of Robin Lopez’s production to beat a Laker team that clearly played their worst game of the series.

  • Touch ME

    The Celtics – Lakers rematch is coming closer than we think. And when this happened in 2008 all Lakers fans thought b4 the series started that the Lakers were too good and make easy work of the C’s and they recieved their punishment and discipline for their ignorance. Boston is alot better now than they were than especially with the addition of Rasheed. I speak for all Lakers fans that we have learned our lesson and will respect the C’s because they made us respect them. The C’s have made quick work of the 2 best records in the NBA. As the spokeman for all Lakers we will admit a Celtics 4-1 series win because we don’t matchup well against them. Bynum is still hurt and Kobe is still not 100%. We will honor the Celtics 2010 championship and hopefully the Lakers will do more in the offseason to improve the team. I expect all Lakers fans to hands down admit my statement is correct. As the Lakers fan spokeman we admit defeat and hope that the Celtics don’t make the championship next year. I dare any1 to challenge this Lakers defeat and we as fans will not act like fools and say we won it this year. I’m sorry fans to have to break the news this way but thats they way it is and when LA loses the Ship don’t run from this site.

    • lakerman1

      Can’t you think of anything else to say. This is just a Regurgitation from one of your previous posts. No originality at all.

      • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

        He/She is just re-iterating. No need for bashing.

        And this Lakers team, if we are fortuante to make it to the Finals for the 3rd season in a row, is not the same team they were in 2008. Yesterday was a set-back that could’ve been much worse. We all know how familiar Phil and the coaching staff are when it comes to adjustments. We’ve got Phoenix’s number tomorrow =)

      • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

        Or was that directed at me? If so, I’m just relaying the facts of the game and apologize if it sounds repetitive.

    • andyhank

      Even if the celtics did win, 4-1 is a pretty substantial claim.

      The series is going 6-7 games and its most definitely not set in stone that boston will win it.

      I’m confident to say that it will our series to lose if we go up 2-0.

      If they do the stupidest thing in the world and go to boston tied 1-1, they would probably come home down 3-2.

    • LakerLand Nostradamus

      This guy is just a reta-rd and Laker hater. He cannot wait to see the Lakers lose and tell that my prediction is wrong. He only shows up here when the Lakers lose a game. Fu-Ck you Touch Me! LMAO!!!!!

    • KindSir

      Come on people, it’s obviously a celtic fan trolling us.

      • LakerLand Nostradamus

        I am telling you man, this Touch Me is a joke. He tries to say he is a laker fan. Poor guy.
        No worries, we will take care of him at the finals.

  • WOW

    It’s sad when a team shoots almost 50 free throws in a game. Everybody watching the game at the bar said Suns are going to win because of the FREE THROWS.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Well, they’re getting to the hoop. If the Lakers used up half of those 3-point attempts and gone inside, we might’ve gotten a lot more freebies.

  • xtro

    this is what the lakers need to kick the suns’ buttocks manana.

  • lakerville213

    TLN loves anna…

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Haha! Thanks. TLN ARE THE BEST SPORTS FANS OUT THERE! =)

  • mr.laker19

    I disagree wit Kobe, by the way he had an amazing game, he is back. But I dont think the Lakers adjusted well to the zone as a team. Kobe and Pau have proven they just are unstoppable together, but Lamar, and artest in particular looked confused and that hurt us. But im always encouraged when amzaing things happen like Amare goes for 42 and Lopez goes for 20 because they barely beat us even with that type of production. Point is, that will not happen in game 4, so we just have to adjust to the zone and we will be fine. Lets focus on the Suns before we start to move on to the Celtics guys.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Thank you, yes! Can we please finish this round before we start salivating about the next one?

      • bc18

        Hey Anna,
        Just cuz i know people are gonna be saying it, 2nd paragraph…mistakes…lol
        Still readable, just a warning, maybe change it before they start whining about it haha
        Great article though, as usual. PEACE!

        • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

          Yes, I saw it and someone pointed it out earlier. I can ask them to correct it tonight. Thank you =)

  • JFK-analysis-at-TLN

    Is it just me or do others think that we might benefit from a tough series with the Suns? I’m not saying it should go to 7 games;5 is enough. I know we have to beat the Suns before we start looking at the Celtics but, we might learn and benefit from a few things.

    The Suns have a really AMAZING offensive team which requires a lot of focus to slow down. Gasol guarding Amare will help him if he has to guard a “slower” KG.

    Artest chasing J Rich vs Guarding a slower PP?

    I just think that a good battle with the Suns can better prepare us for the finals. The Celtics are not as talented offensive as the Suns. And the Suns great offense can help our defense prepare for a slower “half court” type Celtic offense.

    • LEADERFISH

      NO conspiracy from JFK. Yes I do think a tough series with Phoenix will benefit the lakers.

  • http://www.VensinGray.com Vensin Gray

    If you think the Refs are two-faced outside of L.A. here’s some proof!

    http://vensingray.blogspot.com/2010/05/whistleblowers-lost-outside-of-la.html

    • si pepe

      woooh! cranky huh!

  • ENCHANTED UNICORN REMIX

    GAME FO GON B MUST WIN FO DA LAKESHO CUH.

    • si pepe

      it should..

  • edsel

    Rio Rondo College says:
    May 24, 2010 at 6:38 am
    Haha!!! The Lakers are garbage. They dont have the heart of a champion. Tune in tonight and see how a REAL team closes out a series. GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ———————

    yah right oh orlando won haha…
    and they’ll win again next game…
    paul pierce is so full of himself “i am the best player in the world”

    what ? who? sa pilipinas nga ung mga di mxiadong mahilig sa basketball kilala si Kobe, si pierce? baka
    piercing sa ilong.

    haha The Truth hurts!

  • edsel

    edsel is currently out of work and applying as a an article writir in this site..

  • edsel

    could not even spell correctly hehehehe