Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Grading the Lakers’ Performance

The Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers tussled at Staples Center on Tuesday night. It was a bittersweet result for L.A., as Kobe Bryant looked strong in his second game back, but the Lakers fell 114-108.

Bryant led the Lakers with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with three assists and three turnovers. But this one first-half highlight is perhaps all you need to know about the game:

While Kobe still doesn't have his legs under him as he continues to get back to 100 percent following the Achilles injury, his aggression and hops on that dunk were both sweet.  

It was also encouraging to see that Kobe's presence didn't impact the offensive distribution negatively, as the team shot 49 percent, five other players also scored in double figures and Steve Blake dished 10 dimes.

However, the Suns shot 52 percent from the field and out-rebounded them 43-33. Phoenix also closed out on perimeter jumpers and limited L.A. to 7-of-23 from downtown. The Lakers defense yielded 31 points to Goran Dragic, not to mention 37 points to Marcus and Markieff Morris.

With the loss, the Lakers' record drops to 10-11 and 0-2 with Bryant. Let's go over the tough loss and distribute grades for every Laker. 


Key Player Grades

Kobe Bryant, Shooting Guard

Bryant had several moments of brilliance. The dunk highlight (shown above) was one. Another came in the second half when he busted out some fancy dribbling to vex his defender, went to work on him and then buried the fadeaway jump shot. That's what kids do on the playground when they want to look like Kobe.

It was good to see Bryant exhibit so much energy and flash such vintage moves in his second game this season. He also got to the line eight times and sank all of those. Bryant committed three turnovers, but that is a marked improvement from the eight turn...

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