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Why the Lakers Lost Game 4 to the Suns

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What in the hell happened to the Lakers? Or is the better question, what got in to the Phoenix Suns?

Instead of dictating their game, the Lakers chased around the Suns all night looking like a shell of a team. Whatever the problem, the Suns looked too comfortable all game long. Go inside to Louis Amundson? Check. Channing Frye knocking down a three? Check. It just looked too easy for the Suns which is a shocking turn of events after how frustrated they were in the first two games at the Staples Center.

“Everyone wants to talk about the offensive side of the ball,” Kobe Bryant said in the postgame press conference. “It has nothing to do with it. We’ve got to defend.”

“We lost the game because our defense sucked,” Kobe added later.

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And he’s absolutely correct. Granted the offense did look confused at times with the zone the Suns threw at them yet again. There were the times when Pau Gasol couldn’t do anything against the three bodies stacked against him in the paint. And there were the 28 attempted three-pointers. But they did score 106 points on 49.5% shooting which isn’t chopped liver.

But that defense was downright atrocious. The Lakers gave up 41 points in the second quarter alone giving the Suns a 64-point first half which in the best of circumstances can’t be a good sign. The Lakers didn’t communicate with each other on defense and were a step late scrambling around trying to defend the shooters.

Despite all of that, the Lakers had a chance to take the game at the start of the fourth quarter. With the Suns leading 92-89, the game was over when Leandro Barbosa and Jared Dudley hit back-to-back threes to push the Suns’ lead to nine with 6:47 left in the game.

A lot will be made about the Suns’ bench who outscored the Lakers’ bench 54-20. Take Lamar Odom out of that equation, then it’s a 54-5 advantage. Well the problem for the Lakers’ bench isn’t that they need to score more - they need to defend better. How Goran Dragic can waltz uncontested into the paint, go to his right and kiss the ball off the glass and into the bucket is simply unacceptable. Or how Channing Frye can calmly make four three-pointers with no body on him.

And here is one more stat that is completely unacceptable for a Lakers’ squad: The Suns outrebounded the Lakers 51-36. Not only were they out-hustled, the Suns showed more heart.

I guess I need to apologize to the Phoenix Suns for underestimating them, but I think the Lakers with the exception of Kobe need to apologize to Lakers’ fans for their seeming apathy in these two games in Phoenix.