Here is a look around the rest of the web with what others had to say about last night's game, starting with the opposing perspective:
The final game of the Bernie Bickerstaff era came to an end with a win over the Phoenix Suns. It was a game without much of showing defensively from either team, but as it goes, the Los Angeles Lakers simply had more firepower. Pau Gasol set the tempo draining wide open jumpers in the first quarter showing the qualities he can bring to the floor when his future coach Mike D'Antoni takes the reigns going forward. The Suns went blow for blow with the Lakers through the first three quarters but once the final quarter rolled around there wasn't enough left in the tank to finish the game, finally conceding victory. Lakers over Suns, 114-102.
The Lakers used their superior size to win the rebounding battle and took care of the ball while limiting turnovers to defeat the Suns at Staples Center. Los Angeles (4-5) was active and energetic on both ends of the floor and used its exceptional length inside to overwhelm Phoenix (4-6) in the paint. The Lakers won the rebounding battle by a convincing margin of 48-38 and had a balanced effort as they embraced a watered-down version of head coach Mike D'Antoni's new offense.
Nothing shocking here. The Lakers are a team that was built to win a championship now...They have superstars galore and the luxury tax to go with it. The Suns, on the other hand, are a team looking to re-establish themselves with young and inexpensive talent on cap-friendly contracts that provide the team with flexibility going forward.
The Lakers underperformed to start the season 1-4, which quicly resulted in the firing on ex-head coach Mike Brown, and the hiring of offensive guru Mike D'Antoni to right the ship. The Suns, many will argue, had actually exceeded expectations to begin the season going 4-5 thanks in large part to the "never say die" attitude that this team has adopted as their own.
At some point though, the odds even out and the chips fall where they should. Tonight was a perfect example of that. Although the Suns fought valiantly for four quarters, the fire-power of the Lakers was just too much for them to overcome in the end.
Here's what some Suns-friendly sites had to say about last night's game:
The Lakers pulled away in the second half Friday night at Staples Center for a 114-102 victory over the Suns in their final game led by interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff but with D’Antoni’s influence all over the effort, with five Lakers scoring in double figures.
The Suns’ starters managed not to dig a double-digit first-quarter hole for a fourth consecutive game, but the defense was not any better. The Suns just kept up with a style that D’Antoni’s naysayers would argue is also his — lack of defense.
We have learned that there is no quit in this team and that for stretches in a game the Suns will outwork a team to fight their way back into the contest. Occasionally they will have enough in the tank to fight all the way back (see Cleveland), but more often than not the more talented team will make that one last spurt to finish Phoenix off.
Along with Paul Coro's take on the lack of defense...which was certainly a big part of the loss, again, we see a familiar theme develop.
Perhaps Suns' head coach Alvin Gentry said it best:
"That team is in another area as to where we are and where we're trying to get to,'' Gentry said. "They've got much bigger fish to fry, and we've got to get ourselves to the point where we become significant again. And the only way to do that is to be consistent.''
If nothing else, it's refreshing to hear this kind of honesty from the head coach. Gentry's right, the Suns simply aren't in the same league as powerhouse teams like the Lakers, Thunder, and Heat right now. Hopefully that is something they will continue to build toward, but as of now, the Suns are a mediocre team at best.
The Suns' effort and fight was commendable last night, and there were quite a few positives to take away from the game as well; but ultimately the better team won...as expected.
The Phoenix Suns started out the game hot offensively. Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley were both active as scorers and playmakers early in the game. In fact, as Paul Coro tweeted, "Each Suns point in the first quarter was scored or assisted by Dragic or Beasley."
Unfortunately though, the Lakers were even hotter and had outscored the Suns 35-30 by the end of the first quarter, in great part due to the hot shooting of Metta World Peace of all people, and especially Pau Gasol who scored 10 straight points for the Lakers going 5-5 on 20-foot jump shots one after the other.
The Suns continued to fight in the second quarter with Sebastian Telfair, Markieff Morris, Shannon Brown, P.J. Tucker, and even Jermaine O'Neal contributing in some way or another. In fact, Jermaine O'Neal started mixing it up with Dwight Howard and seemingly causing the Lakers' big man to get flustered and taken out of the game to a certain extent.
The Suns' bench helped the Suns not only keep the game close, but they helped orchestrate a 15-0 run that helped the Suns eventually pull ahead by as many as five points, up 55-50 with four minutes left in the second quarter. However, the Lakers battled back as the Suns started missing the same kinds of shots they were making earlier in the quarter, and L.A. was able to regain the lead up 62-57 at the end of the first half.
In the third quarter, the Suns and Lakers continued their back and forth scoring, with the Lakers holding serve and playing well enough to keep the lead. The Suns were kept alive mostly by the play of Luis Scola and Goran Dragic who hit difficult shots to keep Phoenix within striking distance and even tying in once again 84-84 at one point. The rest of the Suns didn't necessarily play poorly, but watching them you definitely noticed they were missing some easy opportunities at times...I'm looking at you Gortat.
Then came the Kobe Bryant who once again turned into the Black Mamba to hit a couple difficult shots, draw the foul to get to the line, and then steal the ball from Shannon Brown to score on a fast break at the other end...all in a matter of minutes. The Lakers were able to extend their lead to 92-84 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the same Suns bench that was able to make a 15-0 run against mostly Lakers' starters was out-matched by one of the weakest benches in the league. Largely behind the play of Jordan Hill, yes Jordan Hill, the Lakers were able to extend the lead early in the 4th quarter to go up by as many as 15 points (101-86) with nine minutes left to play.
The Suns starters returned after a disappointing showing by the bench, minus Marcin Gortat who they left on the bench in favor of Jermaine O'Neal, and were able to at least stop the bleeding if nothing else. However, they were unable to ever mount any sort of comeback this time, and Alvin Gentry finally waived the white flag with around two minutes to go bringing in Kendall Marshall, Wesley Johnson, and Luke Zeller to finish out the game as the Lakers were able to hold on to win it 114-102.
The Suns were led by Goran Dragic's 22 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals. Luis Scola also posted an impressive 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant's 31 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. Metta Word Peace also played his best game of the season posting 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
Both teams shot the ball at around 50% tonight, but L.A. shot the ball slightly better from three going 8-21 compared to 5-14 for the Suns. The Lakers also capitalized on their trips to the free throw line shooting 22-28 from the charity stripe compared to an abysmal 7-15 for the Suns. In addition, L.A. also won the rebounding battle 48-38, and committed less turnovers than the Suns by a margin of 11 to 15.
The Lakers improve to 4-5 on the season as the Suns drop to 4-6 before heading back home to play against the Miami Heat tomorrow.
Hang in there Suns fans...
For the Suns, it's all about the resurgent Markieff Morris and his sore ass. Morris fell hard and said ass late in the game on (whenever the hell that game was) against the Bulls. Now, we all well know that Morris is a hardass from Philly so it's difficult to believe that a bruised ass would have him sitting on his butt watching this game.
Morris confirmed his reputation with this quote as transcribed by the unstoppable Paul Coro of the undeliverable (?) Arizona Republic:
"I'm just going to see how I feel when I work out," Morris said. "If I'm more than 70 percent, then I will for sure go. They can't hold me down. This ain't nothing."
That's the spirit! A hard fall on his ass is not going to keep Markieff Freakin Morris out of an important basketball game to see which of these two teams will hold on to third place in the division in mid-November! Must win, baby!
In other injury news, the uninjured Jermaine O'Neal is ready to play after missing the last six games due to the illness and subsequent funeral of his aunt. Thoughts and prayers, JO!
The big fella is looking to assert himself offensively off the bench. He wants post touches -- something yours truly called for weeks ago when he was matched up against Carl "Tiny" Landry but was ignored in favor of Shannon Brown Mad Bombs.
On the Lakers front, their starting point guard and two-time MVP from British Columbia, Canada by way of Santa Clara, Phoenix, Dallas, and Phoenix, is out with a broken leg. You would think the training staff in Phoenix would have fixed that shit by now with some magic powder but sorry, Steve, you picked L.A. and so now you are subject to the laws of mortal medicine.
And remember, this is a family show so please keep your comments civil and avoid gratuitous use of bad fucking language.