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NBA Playoffs, Lakers Suns Game 2: Dazed and confused Suns try to figure out what's next

May 20, 2010, 1:30 AM EDT

Richardson_loss.jpgThe Suns played straight up man-to-man. They mixed in some zone. They tried to front Pau Gasol in the post. They played behind him. They tried to double team Kobe, both aggressively and once he picked up his dribble.

They tried every defensive gimmick in the book — and the Lakers scored 124 points on 57.7 percent shooting. From three they shot 56 percent. You win doing that. Game 2 was pretty much a repeat of Game 1 despite the Suns adjustments.

So what now?

“I really don’t know what the answer is,” Grant Hill said. “They had a lot of points in the paint (52). Our rotations aren’t great and we’ve just got to play better.”

The Suns seemed stunned and a little confused. They said the right things — to a man kept noting that all the Laker have done is exactly what they were supposed to in winning their two games at home. If the Suns can do the same, this series comes back to Los Angeles next Thursday tied up.

But that totally ignores how those two games looked. The Lakers were able to do what they wanted when they wanted on offense. And they wanted to go inside where the Suns are not as long. When pressed for things the Suns could do to slow the Lakers offense, the answers were execution and variety. And say a few prayers.

“We’ve got to be earlier, we’ve got to be earlier on our help rotations…” said Amare Stoudemire, a guy who looked particularly in a fog defensively at points. “That was the game plan, to stay in front of Gasol and have them throw it over the top and our help was going to be there and kind of trap him. But he threw it over the top and the help was a little late and he just finished. It was a little frustrating at points.”

The Suns had a period of success in this game — they tied the game in the third quarter, going with a small-ball lineup that had Jared Dudley at the power forward spot. It worked beautifully on the offensive end, stretching out the Lakers defense and getting Dudley and Hill open looks that they knocked down. But it didn’t solve the core problem of slowing the Lakers offense.

“It makes us very small defensively,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of the small lineup, but adding he might go back to it. “And with Lamar (Odom) in the game at the four, we either have to have Jared or Grant Hill guarding him and, obviously, that is a big advantage for them.”

Dudley picked a lot of fouls in that stretch, and ended up fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Back at home, the Suns tend to play faster, something the Lakers got sucked into for a part of the second quarter and may well again. But defensively, Gentry emphasized just continually giving the Lakers different looks as the only real option.

“We’ve got to throw different looks, because we did front he post and then they went to what they call solo, which is posting up Pau, and there’s a lot of action on the weakside,” Gentry said. “And they were able to throw it over. We got a smaller guy trying to rotate in. So they had some success with that.

“We’ve just got to keep changing it up and hopefully they won’t shoot as well in our building as they do here.”

Gentry did have one new wrinkle to throw out.

“We just have to take a look at the tape tonight and maybe we’ll decide that we let Kobe get 80 and try to guard the other guys,” Gentry joked.

Well, we assume he was joking. On second thought, might as well do that. Not like anything else has been working.

  1. Ron - May 20, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    The Suns continue to say “we got to be better.” I contend they have played as well as they can and it isn’t good enough. They cannot defend this Lakers team, no two ways about it. It’s a mismatch. Just because the Suns made it this far doesn’t mean they can compete at this level. This series was over before it started. Maybe the Suns get one win, maybe two…but not four, not three.

  2. Jon - May 20, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    Series is over. I’m ready for a Lakers-Celtics finals series. Will be attending game 1 at staples center. No matter how ridiculous ticket prices will be. Well worth it to witness the best finals rivalry in NBA history. GO LAKERS!

  3. Lakers4Lyfe - May 20, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    Does Nash just looked tired to anyone else? He looks like he left his best games on the floor against San Antonio and Portland. The Lakers have too many ways to beat the Suns, the post, big in the paint, from range, the Kobe factor … and their bench has finally stepped up. For the jackasses here who say Kobe is a ballhog, he just had his best career-playoff assist high with 13. Honestly, if I was Gentry, I might even start Dudley. Fyre looks lost, Amare talked too much smack then didn’t deliver. Lopez was a non factor tonight. His rebounding is horrible and so is Amare’s. I expect the Suns will find the hoop in Phoenix, but won’t win both games at home. The Lakers still have another gear and so far its been on cruise control with the Suns. The Lakers have to lose one so they can beat themselves up. But thuis series is over. Suns are outclassed.
    Honestly, David Stern … if you are listening. Just bring on the Celtics, bro. We want the Celtics … and you’re just prolonging the inevitable.

  4. oneadjustment - May 20, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    don’tofworry,…it will be four. Go Suns!

  5. Anonymous - May 20, 2010 at 2:50 AM

    I’m looking forward for the Celtics to win back the crown and dethrone the FAKERS once again.

  6. Anonymous - May 20, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    Do you think Kobe was as good in court as he raped that girl in Colorado, Faker Fan Ron boy?

  7. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 20, 2010 at 3:22 AM

    “Fakers?” You use it loosely like you know squat what the term Fakers mean. Go back to school and get a decent education from your English teacher. Your vocabulary sucks. In case you haven’t noticed, the Lakers franchise is the only one in recent years to repeat as champs. The other ones would be the Bulls and the Rockets. Hardly what you call “One-Hit Wonders.” I wasn’t even born yet when the Celtics last REPEATED as champs. I will set up some tables at Hollywood and Vine and prepare some Boston Tea Party during our parade in June. Want biscuits to go with your tea?

  8. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 20, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    The ultimate hallmark of real champs is when they can validate their status even more by repeating.

  9. Da Real - May 20, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    The Lakers should beat the Celtics this year.
    Artest won’t have much trouble shutting down Pierce. Pierce is neither quick nor athletic, the two things Artest can struggle with. I anticipate a poor showing from Pierce.
    Gasol has a slight advantage over Garnett at this point in their careers.
    Kobe has an extreme advantage over Allen.
    Lamar Odom/Andrew Bynum have an extreme advantage over Alice the Goon and Big Baby Fat.
    Rondo has an extreme advantage over Fisher. Well who doesn’t? It’s not like the Lakers aren’t used to this. For the last 3 years Fish has stunk up the joint.
    Still the Celtics might give the Lakers almost as much trouble as the Thunder, but I doubt anymore.

  10. LakerGuy - May 20, 2010 at 3:36 AM

    Here we go again with the Kobe rape thing. Mr./Ms. Anonymous, your comment just made everyone that reads it a little more stupid. The possibility obviously just doesn’t occur to you that Kobe was just like every other man married or single and sees a nice piece of @$$ that they wanna tap. And the possibility that a woman seeing the opportunity in front of her would wanna cash in. Woman sleep with men for free all the time, why not hit a big payday by just accusing one of rape? I personally do not take into consideration a pro athletes off the court troubles when it comes to playing their game. I know they need to be role models and watch their images, but I’m not concerned with their sex lives at all. Tiger loves women just like I do. Having said that, grow some balls and enjoy the NBA playoffs.

  11. Ron - May 20, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    Sorry anonymous Suns fan…resorting to the sublime won’t change the way the first two games went.
    As for the term “Fakers” that would apply to a team that can’t win a title. And who in this particular series would that apply to? Instead of bringing up false allegations and name-calling, maybe you have something more than nonsense to serve up in argument. Or perhaps that is the best you can do. If so, step away from the keyboard, please.

  12. davidly - May 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM

    The only hope the Suns have is if they win the turnover game and by extending the series (which they obviously have to do), LA’s starters are logging too many minutes and would be worn down. That’s how they did it in ’06: by wearing the Lakers down over the long hawl. Still, this is a different team with Gasol, so it’s a pretty big if.
    I say LA sweeps, with another exciting game four win away from home (like in Utah). Boiler up!

  13. Ray - May 20, 2010 at 7:43 AM

    Maybe if the Suns get all their illegal alien fans to meditate simultaneously, it will help.g

  14. Skids - May 20, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    Maybe they need to try their hands at immigration law. They don’t appear much better at it.

  15. pfffft - May 20, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    Hey Steve, maybe get some of your illegal mexicans to help bail out Los Suns. Way to go, Lakers!!!

  16. Over g - May 20, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    Go Lakers. Kick these worthless Suns into oblivion. I hope the Suns never win another game for being total frickin idiots in supporting illigal immigration. I am from Arizona but will never support the Suns again. I hope they get what they deserve and hope their fan base goes bye, bye. They can move to Mexico maybe, or they might get kicked out for not having their papers.

  17. StevenR - May 20, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    Phoenix is being PUNISHED BY GOD for the evil policy Arizona has adopted to harass Hispanics.
    I hope the lose in four. I will not watch any games they play as a demonstration of my hate of HATERS.

  18. NRESQ - May 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Here’s someone who knows about Playoff Basketball in the NBA. Its about matchups. The Suns are obviously a good team, as they showed in the first 2 rounds. The Lakers are built for the playoffs: They present matchup nightmares for every team in the league. If they get there, Boston will get a HUGE series from Rondo because talented speedy guards can exploit the triangle. But where else does Boston have a matchup advantage? And if Rondo is scoring, then his teammates aren’t. Bottom line, neither the Suns nor the Celtics can OUTSCORE the Lakers, even if they are playing well. If they both make it, LA and Boston is the dream matchup for the NBA, TV, and Lakers’ fans since we should get a little revenge for 2008!

  19. JD - May 20, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    This isn’t new. The Lakers did what they were supposed to do by holding home court. The true test comes in Games 3 and 4, when the Suns need to hold home court. I expect the Suns to shoot better and execute better at home. The score should be in the 130s to 140s with the Suns winning both… Now if they can only steal Game 5… Not losing faith in my team now when they need it most. Los Suns in 6 baby!

  20. Omnius - May 20, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    The Lost Suns shouldn’t be dazed and confused about what’s coming next, they should know that they only have two more games before they’re gone fishing. The Setting Suns should never have believed the media overhype about their improved defense, the Lakers are showing that the Lost Suns have lost their will to play defense against the best offensive team in the NBA.
    The Showtime Lakers are back and once again they’ll win another title as they get to gain revenge on Gang Green.

  21. mick the ripper - May 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Suns will mount a comeback at home no matter what these band wagon bros say. Bynum is breaking down more everyday while Lopez is getting more healthy. Suns need to stop double teaming Kobe and leaving L.A.’s shooters open, Dudley and Hill are doing a decent job on him. Lets face it Suns, Kobe will get his points anyway lets not have these other mediocre players from getting open looks by double teaming Kobe. Also, I’m not sure why Suns coaching staff have not realized you cannot front Gasol in the post with Amare. This is the reason we are getting no rebounds. The ball is just being tossed over his head into the long arms of Gasol for an open look at the basket, leaving Amare already boxed out. I’m beginning to think PHX needs to make coaching adjustments rather than saying they just need to play better.

  22. Larry - May 20, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Steven R is a beauty. He says the Suns are punished by God. I believe the Suns are being punished by the 91 Million in payroll the Lakers can spend. Those checks are being written by Jerry Buss and his partner.
    What other team can bring a player off the bench in his prime with lifetime averages of 15 ppg an 9 rebounds besides the Lakers. The Suns have 63 M in player contracts who are available. If you took out Gasol’s and Odom’s salaries from the Laker payroll the Lakers have about 65 M in players who are available. four other teams in the league have payrolls over 80 M and two of them are in the E. Conference Finals.
    Any wonder why David Stern comes out and tell people that the owners are losing 400 M with a 1.8 Billion TV contract. Payrolls are out of control and those who spend the most win the most. Expect a lockout in 2011. The 25 teams with payrolls less thhan 75 M will make sure the playing field is more equal, or the doors will stay locked. Paying for titles is about to go out of business in 2011.

  23. Lobo72 - May 20, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Don’t worry. That’s the finals matchup David Stern and the NBA want as well. Even if we did find a way to stop the 5 Lakers on the floor we would still have to overcome all the bad calls and/or no calls that help keep the Lakers on top. Howard and the Magic are getting the same raw deal. The NBA has no integrity. Good luck in your marquee final with the Celtics.

  24. steve - May 20, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    hey mick if you are calling the other lakers mediocre ,that must mean the other suns players just suck.. i know a way the suns can get more rebounds. they just need to grow 12 inches by sunday. they also need some luck!!!!!! just ask odom. they hav not played defense in 7 years. i think it is a little to late to start to teach and coach defense now. oh by the way lopez is getting healthier every day. do you really think hall of famer lopez is the answer. he must be a great 3 point shooter. he is going to be good some day, just not now. the suns are in the big league now, and i am sorry but they are over matched.

  25. Ron - May 20, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Funny you should say that. I saw only one bad call the entire game and it went the Suns way.
    Your comment is typical of the immature, frustrated, and sometimes ignorant fan of the losing basketball team who has nothing better to say except some variation of the usual conspiracy theory. If you really believed it, you wouldn’t watch the games at all. It just isn’t in you to give credit to the superior team in this round. Is this also what happened when the Suns won in 2006 and 2007 against the Lakers? Those Suns teams WERE superior to the Lakers. But you don’t see Laker fans accusing the NBA and Stern of a conspiracy.
    Give credit where credit is due, Lobo.

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