Los Angeles Lakers: Beating Phoenix Suns Needed after Losing to Denver Nuggets

Panic is going around now that the almighty Los Angeles Lakers lost their first game of the season 118-112 to the Denver Nuggets Thursday night. 

Big deal.

That's how the Lakers will look at it as they upright the ship by beating the Phoenix Suns Sunday.  

Even though LA lost to a possible title challenger in the Nuggets (5-4), the Lakers know this is only one game on the schedule. 

Last time anyone checked, the NBA still goes by an 82-game regular season. So far, the Lakers are 8-1 and are on pace to win over 60 games.

Regular season wins also don't necessarily translate into postseason success. The last time the Lakers won their first nine contests in 1997-98, they didn't win a title. 

LA's big guns are still performing well. Kobe Bryant had a season-high 34 points against Denver, including becoming the youngest player to reach 26,000 career points. Pau Gasol had 17 points and 20 boards and is averaging 22.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game this season. 

The Lakers also have three other players in Lamar Odom (14.1), Ron Artest (11.0) and Shannon Brown (10.1) averaging double digits. 

Losses happen, and the Nuggets are a solid challenger that has beaten LA four straight times in the regular season. The Nuggets came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and had an 11-0 run after J.R. Smith hit a three-pointer to bring Denver ahead for good. 

Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and 13 boards while Nene and Ty Lawson combined for 35 points. 

The season will resume Sunday when LA will host the Suns (4-4).

This rematch of the 2010 Western Conference Finals features a different Phoenix squad. Amar'e Stoudemire left for the New York Knicks in free agency.

To replace their top scorer, the Suns got Hakim Warrick and Hedo Turkoglu. Warrick has played well with 11 points a night, but Turkogl...

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