Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to what became a comeback win in double overtime against the pesky young Sacramento Kings squad.
The Lakers are 11-2 in the month of December and are facing a Suns team that is tough to beat at home. This is the third of the four game season series; the Lakers have handled the Suns in the first two games winning by a combined 39 points.
Phoenix is trying to bounce back from its third loss in four games in a defense-less 132-127 loss to the Warriors. The Suns committed 21 turnovers that were promptly turned into 35 points.
Phoenix had a fast start and has been one of the surprise teams so far this season, but their record for December is 5-9. The Suns are back in their element so to speak, relying on their speed, and playing the way they played four or five years ago. The return of the fast pace style has brought back some early success. Their success has come with a healthy Steve Nash, Grant Hill, wing players that can rebound and sharp shooting big men.
Their also not playing anything resembling what is known as defense as evidenced by allowing an opponent to score 132 points in one game.
This is just the right opponent for Andrew Bynum; he has struggled lately and needs to turn things around. The time is now seeing as the Suns don’t have a post presence to slow him down. Bynum has averaged 19.5 points and 10.5 rebounds against Phoenix, the Lakers need him to meet and exceed these numbers tonight as well as on a consistent basis. Bynum needs to make his presence felt as opposed to continuing what appears to be a vanishing act. Pau Gasol will exceed to above-mentioned numbers, but for the Lakers front line to dominate Bynum needs to join the party.
The trio of Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown will have to slow down Steve Nash & Leandro Barbosa, stay in front of them to stop the dribble penetration and be prepared for a lot of screen roll plays. The Lakers must get back in transition and rotate out to open shooters.
The reserves as a whole have to trust the offense, get into a rhythm and start to make an impact with the time they’re given.
The return of Luke Walton will help more than some would imagine. He is excellent at facilitating the offense and getting his teammates the ball where and when they can do something with it.
It is to the Lakers advantage to establish both Andrew & Pau in the post and run their offense through them. As a team memo, the Lakers need to get closer to the basket and attack the rim. The Lakers have relied on lay ups & jump shots too much as opposed to being aggressive and attacking the basket. I would like to see the Lakers make a New Year’s Resolution to play like seven footers and attack the basket early and often.
Tip-off: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Phoenix: FS Arizona (Gary Bender & Eddie Johnson)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Phoenix: KTAR 620 AM (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
- Luke Walton (Back) Out
- Ron Artest (Suffered Injuries to his head & Left Elbow) Out
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion fracture, right index finger)
- None to report.