Only a couple of seasons ago, this match up between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers was a one sided affair with the Suns consistently dominating the Lakers. However, now Kobe Bryant and his boys are just too much for Shaq O'Neil and the Suns.
Not only did this game seem like a joke for the Lakers as they beat down on the Suns pretty convincingly 105-92, but a lot of positive things came out of their ninth win of the season as well as another W.
Coming into this game, Vladimir Radmanovic's starting status was in question because lately he couldn't throw a rock in the ocean, but after his 15 points against the Suns all from three point land, he may have saved his starting role. Hitting five threes is awesome, but hitting five for five means Vlad finally got the message and is taking smarter shots.
The Lakers played perhaps the best basketball they have played all season against the Suns on Thursday night, as everyone that got on the floor for Los Angeles made an impact in one way or another. Kobe Bryant did what he normally does and out scored everyone with 24 points. It was the play of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, and Andrew Bynum though, that really set the tone and kept the Suns from doing anything on offense.
The biggest adjustment the Lakers have made this season has definitely been on defense. In the finals against the Boston Celtics last season, the Lakers were just flat on defense. This carried over to the offense and resulted in one embarrassing performance after another, not to mention an NBA title for their arch rivals.
Well, that seems to be over now as the Lakers look like they have the best defense in the league to go along with the best all around player (Kobe) and the deepest bench.
The Suns did show some signs of life with an occasional three or a Shaq dunk, but it was painfully obvious that the Lakers were the better team by far.
Although Pau Gasol didn't hurt the Suns in the scoring column with only four points, he still contributed with an impressive nine assists and nine boards. Andrew Bynum against Shaq with 10 points and seven boards, Shaq still has the edge over the big kid as he scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Lakers bench played awesome once again lead by Odom's 13 points and 9 rebounds. Trevor Ariza continues to perform well off the bench too with 10 points and 3 boards. Jordan Farmar had another great game as well with 11 points in 22 minutes.
Besides the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers haven't really been tested this season. The Denver Nuggets took the Lakers down to the wire early in the season, which resulted in the only game that Kobe had to take over so far. However, I wouldn't consider it to be a true test.
NEXT MATCH UP: Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Lakers Friday, Nov. 21st 7:30pm PST