Big Third Quarter Helps Suns Move Past Lakers


At times, playing the worst teams in the league can make for your most difficult games.

That was the case for first 24 minutes of the Suns game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. Things were tied at 51 at halftime, but Phoenix had a huge second half on the offensive end to pull away from the Lakers and went on to win, 115-100.

The Suns three point guards led the way for them. Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas combined for 65 points with Thomas being the game’s high scorer with 24 points.

For the most of the night, the Suns had their way on the offensive end against a porous Lakers defense. The Suns shot 50 percent from the field and made 13 three’s from behind the arc. Phoenix also did a good job of taking care of the ball for most of the night until they got a bit sloppy in the last couple minutes of the game.

Without their star Kobe Bryant, the Lakers had to go with a committee approach on the offensive end. Nick Young led all Lakers scorers with 20 points and scored 16 consecutive points for the Lake Show at one point to draw his team a little closer, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

The Suns will continue with their eight-game homestand when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night. Tip off will be at 7 PM from US Airways Center.

The Good

This is one of the few nights this season where I can remember where the trio of Bledsoe, Dragic and Thomas were all on. The Suns needed it because they weren’t getting much from anyone else for a good portion of the night. This team is extremely difficult to beat when all three of those guys are on top of their game.

The offense was really good in the second half. Phoenix scored 64 points in the final two quarters and got pretty much any shot that they wanted. Of course, it helps when you are going up against a team that doesn’t seem interested in playing a lick of defense, but give the Suns credit for taking advantage.

Yes, the Lakers managed to score 100 points without Bryant, but it was still a good night for the home team on the defensive end for the most part. The Suns forced the Lakers to commit 23 turnovers while they had only 24 assists. You are going to win a lot of games when your opponent has a 1 to 1 assist/turnover ratio.

The Suns have played much better basketball at home as of late. After tonight’s win, they have won six straight games at US Airways. Most importantly, they’ve swept the season series against the Lakers for the first time in nearly a decade. Good stuff.

Hats off to the crowd tonight. I don’t know if it was because the Lakers were in town or if it was because the game was on national television, but the crowd sounded louder than usual. Job well done by them.

The Bad

Whenever you play a team as bad as the Lakers, you want to put them away early so they have no confidence late in the ballgame to pull out a win. Unfortunately for the Suns, they didn’t get things going until the second half, where they finally laid the hammer down. That needs to improve.

One of the reasons why the Lakers were able to stay in the game for a while was their work on the offensive glass. They finished off the night with 13 offensive boards. Playing against a team without a legit center on their roster, there’s no excuse for that.

This Lakers team needs to be put in this category. I thought at the beginning of the season that they were good enough to at least be outside the bottom five, but I think it’s unlikely that the Suns will get their pick. They are just an awful basketball team and they are only going to get worse when they shut down Kobe.

This is not necessarily bad, but it was a bit odd to see Jeff Hornacek to go to Miles Plumlee first off the bench before he went to Brandan Wright. Was he trying to showcase Plumlee for a trade or what?