Staff writer Mike Bresnahan takes a look back at the Lakers' four games against Phoenix this season (the Suns won three). Their best-of-seven first-round playoff series begins today at noon in Phoenix.
Lakers 114, Suns 106
Oct. 31 at Staples Center
No Kobe Bryant? No Kwame Brown? No problem.
The short-handed Lakers outgunned the Suns, and the crowd chanted "O-dom, O-dom" as Lamar Odom tied his career high with 34 points and also collected 13 rebounds and six assists. Andrew Bynum, who had turned 19 four days earlier, had 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Suns never seemed to fire in the season opener and were put away after Odom's three-point basket gave the Lakers a 110-98 lead with 2:22 left to play.
Suns 99, Lakers 94
March 4 at Phoenix
Without Lamar Odom and Luke Walton, the Lakers almost lulled the Suns into submission with a slow pace, but they couldn't quite get by with Kobe Bryant scoring 31 points, Brian Cook totaling 22 points and 14 rebounds, and nobody else scoring more than eight points for them at US Airways Center.
The game marked the first sign of friction regarding Smush Parker. He had three points in 27 minutes and was irritated when Coach Phil Jackson removed him with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter. He exchanged words with Jackson in front of the Lakers' bench and was never re-inserted into the game.
Suns 115, Lakers 107
April 8 at Staples Center
The Lakers trailed after three quarters, 74-73, but surrendered 41 points in the fourth quarter, another symptom of season-long issues on defense.
Kobe Bryant had 34 points and seven assists, but Lamar Odom (10 points) and Luke Walton (seven points) combined to make only seven of 22 shots (31.8%).
Phil Jackson wasn't very optimistic afterward when asked about the Lakers' chances against the Suns if they played in the first round.
"It'd be a pretty quick playoffs if that's the way it's going to go," he said. "That's not going to get the job done in the playoffs."
Suns 93, Lakers 85
April 13 at Phoenix
Kobe Bryant looked fatigued the day after playing all 48 minutes against the Clippers, suffering one of his poorest nights of the season: 17 points on seven-for-26 shooting, including two for 11 in the second half at US Airways Center.
Still, the Lakers were down only 88-83 when they were called for a 24-second violation with 1:03 to play. Then Bryant missed two three-point attempts in the final 37 seconds.
Steve Nash had 26 points and 14 assists a day after Suns center Amare Stoudemire uttered his highly publicized opinion that "we would take care of them pretty quick" if the Suns met the Lakers in the playoffs.