Reporting From Phoenix
Let us count the reasons the Lakers lost Game 4 to the Suns.
Better yet, let Lamar Odom do so.
Odom, surrounded by the usual horde of cameras and notepads and pens in the tiny visiting dressing room at US Airways Center, leaned over and picked up the final box.
He fingered the Suns' bench as the main culprit. Not a hard call when the Phoenix reserves outscored the Laker reserves, 54-20, in the Suns' 115-106 victory on Tuesday night.
"Looked like the bench shot over 50%, and as a team, they took a lot of shots," he said, peering at the statistics. "Lemme see … one, two, three, four, five guys off the bench, all of them took three shots or more. They just beat us with all-around play, all-around scoring."
Odom seemed like the only Lakers reserve with a pulse, scoring 15 points. Jordan Farmar had three points, and Shannon Brown added two. And that was it.
Three of the Suns' reserves were in double figures.
Odom also spoke about problems the Lakers have been having with the Suns' zone, a fixture in Games 3 and 4.
"It takes away our inside game," he said. "We're not swinging the ball enough. Everyone is not getting involved. So even when we do go on offensive runs and they come down, still they've got 10, 11 guys involved offensively, we just don't have that right now throughout the whole game."
Said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson: "I don't know. We shot 49%, didn't we? That's pretty good. Nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't say we're struggling against the zone. I think we're struggling at the defensive end. That's where I see it."
Kobe Bryant, who had 38 points and 10 assists, concurred. But he put it a little more bluntly when asked about his taking only four shots in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't lose the game because of that," he said. "We lost the game because our defense sucked."
He said that was because their concentration was focused on how to attack the zone.
"And I think it kind of flipped our attention to detail defensively," Bryant said. "Our focus was on the other side of the floor, which doesn't win championships. So we need to get back to ground zero when it comes to that."
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