The Suns returned to action Tuesday night, heading to Los Angeles to square off against the Lakers and recently returned star Kobe Bryant. The Suns leave LA with a 114-108 victory, snapping a five game losing streak in that stadium. The last time the Suns won in the Staples Center was in November 2010.
The Suns offense had a field day with the worst defense in the Western Conference. The Lakers give up an average of 103 points per game, and they couldn’t stop the scoring prowess of the Suns, who shot 51 percent from the floor in this game. Goran Dragic led the way with 31 points, equaling his season high for the third time this season, and shot 11-11 from the charity stripe. The Suns are 1st in the NBA in fastbreak points per game, and Dragic is a big reason why. His ability to change his shot on the drive has always been a great asset of his, and he showcased it tonight.
His backcourt partner, Eric Bledsoe, put up 18 points and nine assists. He also does his fair share of creative work around hoop, and with the Lakers backcourt short-staffed by injury, both of the two were able to get inside and get easy buckets.
Marcus and Markieff Morris also enjoyed excellent outings. Markieff put up 15 points and seven boards, while Marcus put up 22 points on 10-13 shooting, and five rebounds. Both the brothers seem to have found their grooves off the bench, and that’s great news for the Suns and their fans, some of whom had given up on the twins at the start of the year.
A huge key to the game was how P.J. Tucker fared against Kobe Bryant. Bryant did drop in 20 points in only his second game back from an Achilles injury, but Tucker and his defensive prowess did enough to neutralize the effect of having a prolific scorer like Bryant on the floor. Tucker also contributed 11 rebounds to the Suns.
Generally, the game went as expected. The Suns fast and dynamic offense proved too much for the Lakers, who’s only lead of the game was 3-0. Each time they rose up and met the bar, in an attempt to make a comeback, the Suns raised the bar up higher.
The Lakers drop to 10-11, and 0-2 with Bryant back. The Suns improve to 12-9 on a three game win streak. They return to U.S. Airways Center on Friday for round three against the Kings and their new weapon, Rudy Gay.