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The Los Angeles Lakers gave up 125 points this past Saturday to the Pheonix Suns. 125! The Suns had 99 by the end of the third quarter! This came after Mike Brown called out the team for their lack of defensive rotations against the Houston Rockets. Kobe Bryant missed the game due to a painful shin injury that had been bugging him for a couple of games. Obviously Kobe's presence means a lot, as he has averaged 38 points per game this season against Pheonix; however, Kobe's absence still provided no excuse for their lackluster defensive performance.
The Lakers gave up numerous open looks off of transition looks, drive and kicks, and not showing on screen and rolls. The Suns capitalized and knocked down these open jumpers down on a regular basis. Obviously, any team featuring Steve Nash is going to get open looks due to his great ability to run the pick and roll and drive and kick. However, Nash wasn't even the best player on the floor that night. His 13 points and 11 assists were nice, but it was the role players that really buried the Lakers. Shannon Brown led the way with 24 points on 9-19 shooting, going 4-8 from downtown. In the third quarter, Shannon went 8-12 for 20 points, and shot 4-6 from 3. Simply put, he was on fire. At one point, Shannon pulled up for a 3 during a one on five situation in transition; of course, he swished it. The Lakers struggled to play any semblance of defense and the Suns bench absolutely destroyed them, scoring 58 points compared to the Lakers measly 10 points off of the bench. Shannon's output didn't even count for the bench points because he started for the injured Grant Hill. Michael Redd and Sebastian Telfair gave the Lakers problems all night, especially in the second quarter. In the second, Redd went 6-11 for 17 points, hitting 2-4 from downtown. Telfair matched Redd's productivity, shooting 5-7 for 13 points, hitting 2-2 from 3, and dishing out 4 assists. These second quarter outbursts allowed the Suns to erase a 32-24 deficit at the end of the first and stretch their lead to 5 points by outscoring the Lakers 38-25 in the second. After numerous defensive breakdowns throughout the second, Sebastian Telfair closed the half with an and one layup. After Bynum hit a nice baseline turnaround bank on the far block, both he and Pau were late getting back down the court. Telfair got the ball on the near side with four seconds left in the half and he raced up the court, got into the middle, and finished with a layup on the far side of the lane while being fouled. With no big man help, Ebanks had no chance of stopping Telfair in the open court at full speed.