Welcome back to reality, Phoenix Suns fans.
After your team amassed a surprising 8-1 record over the past two weeks (including spectacular wins over Boston and N'awlins), it's likely you thought that Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire, and the rest were going to run roughshod over the rest of the NBA's elite during the 2009-10 season and grab ahold of the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.
Last night's 121-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers (7-1) proved that ain't gonna be the case. Kobe Bryant and his crew were in fine form as they not only matched but exceeded the Suns run 'n' gun offense with their own speedy playing style. They seemed to be completely in control of the contest, leading by 14 points by the end of the first half and firing off bucket after bucket to sink Phoenix's hopes of sitting atop the Pacific Division standings.
It seems like the only fans who left Staples Center disappointed last night were the cats who were let down they didn't get free Mexican food (Jack-in-the-Box hands out coupons for two free tacos to those in attendance every time the Lakers keep their opponents to less than 100 points).
Both Bryant and Andrew Bynum were offensive juggernauts on Thursday evening, scoring 29 and 26 points, respectively, during the game, with the latter player also powering to 15 rebounds off the boards. They shut down the Suns scoring machine that had been roaring through the early games of the season, leaving Nash with only 13 points by the time he left in the second half. Stoudemire only came up with eight, and Lou Amundson (one of the heroes of Wednesday's walloping of the Hornets) was held to only 10 points.
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So what were some of the reasons for the loss? Fatigue perhaps, as Phoenix was playing their sixth game in the past seven days, or maybe it was just rotten shooting. Jason Richardson couldn't seemed to hit a three-pointer to save his life, while Amar'e went 2-for-15 overall.
The Suns will return to the Valley and take the next couple of days to lick their wounds before attempting to regroup versus Toronto (4-4) this weekend. The Raptors are facing off against the L.A. Clippers tonight at the Staples Center, so hopefully Baron Davis and his teammates will batter around the Canadian team a bit before Toronto hits Phoenix for Sunday night's game.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. More info: www.suns.com.