Depressed and Humiliated
Depressed and humiliated. That's how Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson described the mood of his team Wednesday.
``It's accurate. I don't know how you wouldn't be after what happened last night,'' forward Luke Walton said after the Lakers watched the horror show that was Game 2 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.
Oddsmakers have made Phoenix -4 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 211.5 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix -4 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Jackson and his team realize they'll have to adjust their attitudes in a hurry, since Game 3 is Thursday night at Staples Center.
The Suns lead 2-0 thanks to a 95-87 comeback victory Sunday and a 126-98 runaway Tuesday night, both in Phoenix. Only 11 of 193 teams in NBA history have come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.
``We're just playing bad,'' Lakers star Kobe Bryant said. ``We've got to do a better job at the defensive end. The big thing is transition defense.''
Bryant scored 39 points in Game 1 and had 15 in Game 2. He was 14-of-23 from the field in the first three quarters, and 6-for-23 over the last five.
``I'm extremely frustrated,'' he said. ``One game in the playoffs can drastically change the energy of your team. We should be upset. Hopefully we don't feel too down about it. We're a young team, hopefully Staples will energize us a little bit.
``They did a great job on their home court. Hopefully we can do the same.''
That will be extremely difficult no matter where the teams play if the Suns come close to repeating their Game 2 performance, when they shot 54.3 percent, held the Lakers to 41.4 percent and committed only eight turnovers while forcing 15.
``Every guy had an unbelievable game,'' Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said after Wednesday's practice in Phoenix. ``Whether we can repeat that or not, I don't know at that level. But we can repeat the energy and the defense, and if we can do that, we're in good shape.''
The Suns are in good shape in many ways. Not only do they lead the series 2-0, they're much healthier than the Lakers. The only Los Angeles starter to participate in a scrimmage Wednesday was Jordan Farmar, and he's been a first-stringer for only four games.
Bryant left Tuesday night's game in the fourth quarter with what was called a mild sprain of his right ankle, but said he felt fine and would go at full speed in Game 3.
Asked about his team's injury problems, Bryant smiled and replied: ``What do you want me to say about that? There's nothing to say.''
Kwame Brown, counted on to plug up the middle on defense, is playing despite a sprained ankle he has said will require surgery after the season.
Lamar Odom, who has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, spoke about a lack of camaraderie following the Game 2 blowout.
``Losing does that to teams,'' Jackson said. ``That's not unusual.''
The Lakers have lost 10 of their last 14 games including the two playoff setbacks to the Suns.
Odom elaborated Wednesday, saying friction was too strong a word.
``I just meant camaraderie as far as cheering together, playing together,'' he said. ``We've had it at times this year, played with it. Hopefully we can find it tomorrow and find a way to win.
``We know what we're capable of when we're playing well. When you're down 0-2, you're not going to hang it up. (Down) 3-1, 0-2, teams have come back from that. You don't forfeit.''
Two-time MVP Steve Nash said the Suns have to realize they're only half way to eliminating the Lakers.
``We're in a dangerous position here where we can get a little bit too happy and a little bit too fat and ahead of ourselves,'' he said. ``So it's important for us to really continue to focus and play with the energy we played with, especially defensively, the first two games.
``All we've really done is hold home court. We're in a great position. But if we give away a game here, things open up again. It's an important game, Game 3. We've got to be focused.''
The Lakers have lost five straight playoff games - one shy of the franchise record. All five losses have been to the Suns - four in Phoenix.
``You've got to give Phoenix some credit,'' said Walton, still hampered by a sprained ankle that sidelined him for seven weeks. ``We've got to come together and play a lot better.''
Game 4 is Sunday at Staples Center. If the Lakers don't play a lot better than they did in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and throughout Game 2, their summer vacation will begin Monday.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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