Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  43 responses

Kobe Bryant: ‘Our Defense Sucked’

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Despite the troubles they’ve had handling the Phoenix Suns’ “girly” zone defense in Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers have done just fine on the offensive end.

According to every metric, the offense has performed well enough to win those games, but that has obviously not been sufficient.

The reason L.A. now must play a pivotal Game 5 back at Staples Center on Thursday night, against a surging Phoenix team that’s slowly beginning to believe it can win the series, is because their defense has been so atrocious lately. Or as Kobe might say, it has “sucked.”

Bryant — who once again performed brilliantly in a losing effort — was livid following the game last night, tersely addressing the assembled media about his team’s lack of urgency, and porous attention to detail on the defensive end of the floor.

The OC Register captured the quotes:

“Our defense could have been much better, I think. You know coming up here, we lost a sense of urgency defensively. I think our concentration was focused on how to attack the zone. And I think it kind of flipped our attention to detail defensively. 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.”

“We lost the game because our defense sucked … Like I said, we’ve got to do a much better job defensively. Paying attention to those guys, all of them, and staying in front of your man and things like that … Our attention needs to be on the defensive end, period. That’s second chance opportunities. Their bench came in and gave them a big boost in getting balls back and getting them extra possessions. We’ve got to cut that stuff out.”

If the Lakers hope to make their once seemingly-assured return trip to the NBA Finals next week, they can’t allow Phoenix (as they have in Games 3 and 4) to score upwards of 117 points, shooting 47.5% from the field, 32% from three-point land, and for the Suns’ bench to dominate the game.

Game 5 now has all the makings of a classic battle. The winner will have their defense to thank.

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  • Ken

    Let’s go Suns!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Maybe the lack of a bench on the Lakers side is also starting to catch up to them too.

  • rand33p

    relax been here done it… lakers in 6

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    I also hope the Suns win, so Nash can get a shot at a ring. I highly doubt it’ll happen. I have a feeling LA will clamp down at home, and that’ll be it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    If the Suns can get a hot shooting game from three in Game 5 and keep the Lakers off balance, since they are horrible at defending it, all the promises of a repeat title performance will disappear like Lebron into the Ohio night, cause the Suns can close them out in Game 6 back in Phoenix…..It’s hard to comprehend, but so was the Suns winning two games or more in this series, so……

  • Bruno

    if this happens or if that happens can play for both teams so LA wins game 5

  • Aaron


  • remo williams

    Something tells me kobe won’t let his team lose this one… oh yeah, his track record

  • Eat Wheaties time comming lol

    Can anyone else see where number 7 for the lakers has gone? I can’t find him when i’m watching…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    meh. My team has to pick it up. If they play like this against Boston, they will get blown the fugg out. Kobe won’t let these boys lose against PHX. LA has to get better at rotations on the three point line. When those jokers get hot, they don’t stop.

  • Ronald

    I’m not too suprised about this. Honestly, they haven’t done anything that isn’t expected. They did exactly the same thing to the Spurs, which is have someone step up every game. Except that it didn’t happen in game 1 and it happened to late in game 2. I think they is going to be a close series and whoever wins it will win it in 7.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Man, this is what I was telling cats during the game.
    Why are the Lakers hedging screen and rolls NOT involving Steve Nash?
    Who else on the Phoenix team is a consistent threat to come off a screen and hit a long jumper off the dribble?
    Dragic? Barbosa? Hill? Richardson?
    I say nobody. They need to play softer when Nash is not doing the screening and force those players to make a decision in space. They need to make them finish over the big men, and stay home of hte shooter unless Nash is running the pick and roll. If Nash is doing it, then they still need to give him that aggressive show because he is less likely to break the defense down completely and score. Barbosa and Dragic must prove they can score over hte Lakers big people, or hit pull up jumpers consistently.
    My two cents.

  • Lawrence

    the Lakers is having a problem with the zone defense…it’s a type of defense not allowing scoring inside the paint and letting you shoot long range jumpers…if the lakers will be able to shoot well outside, i guess the suns will change their defense…but it turns out very effective to the lakers(slowing down their offense because most of their offense comes from inside scoring)…remember the 2008 boston celtics team champs?they used multiple zone defenses during the finals against ofcourse the Lakers!!about their defense, what i notice is that they weren’t boxing out for the rebound…i have noticed a lot of offensive rebounds for the suns….hope they’ll fix that!!Sad to say…IF they will go to the finals against the boston celtics, they will have a slim chance of winning with this type of performance…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I have yet to see the zone defense truly stop the Lakers from scoring inside.
    I have seen the Lakers settle for long jumpers, but I have consistently seen Bynum, Gasol, Artest and Odom score inside when they’ve gotten the ball down there. Teh problem is getting them the ball in position to score.

  • Robb

    It sucked beyond sucking! Sometimes I hate the Lakers. The offense was good specially Kobe they outscored the Suns in the paint, the zone defense isn’t the problem.The Lakers defense man! Where the f*** is Artest? they let the Suns shoot without any opposition. Amare destroyed Gasol. nobody was getting rebounds. Man if I was Kobe I’d like to kill the rest of the team. What a poor performance!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com TADOne

    Really? So the zone defense the Suns threw at the Lakers didn’t have ANY bearing on the last 2 games?? How about it stopped the Lakers from being aggressive and getting to the line.

  • http://www.myspace.com/icebrownmamba I.C.E. aka Brown Mamba

    Lakers are going to win, no questions asked. I know this might sound a little selfish but did you see how many times the Lakers drove down and never passed to the best player in the game today, Kobe? It is almost garanteed that Kobe will make an unbeleivebable shot one way or another. I counted 7 times Lakers drove down and didn’t pass to Kobe, then when they tried to score, they epically failed. THATS 14 POINTS RIGHT THERE. Do the math people, comming from the best 15 year old rapper in Indiana, I.C.E. aka The Brown Mamba.

  • b2bmvpnashty

    Go suns, one game at a time. The zone D might not of had an impact on their shooting percentage, but it did have an effect on their effectiveness on offense, as well as their free throw attempts. This is the best answer that the suns have responded with. I think anything can happen now. It’s a best of 3.

  • Robb

    no TADOne, the offense isn’t the problem. You stop the Suns by defending them, contesting shots, not by outscoring them.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I mean, the Lakers scored fewer points, but they are still getting over 100.
    My watch on the game was that when the Lakers were patient, they got quality shots. Patient and worked off Kobe, who the Suns still have not figured out how to stop or prevent from being a distributor. The problem was failing to let Kobe be the decision maker EVERY TRIP DOWN THE COURT.
    The Lakers need to recognize the matchup advantages they have, and play harder on defense. That’s it. They will make shots, particularly in LA, and if they stifle Phoenix, the Suns will stop playing defense.

  • jorge

    Two plays that depicted the 2 losses for the lakers: Kobe tries to make a steal reaching from behind instead of playing FREAKING DEFENSE and the wannna-be Nash pointguard blowing by Fisher with a layup.
    It comes down to defense!!!Man I used to love MJ vs pistons, knicks vs pacers, that is real strong defense, guts, passion and emotion.
    Now you have Odom who eats candy before a game so that he can play hard….jajajjajaa

  • ktokyo


  • Donovan


    Kobe also feels that hindsight is 20/20

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Negetivekreep

    Agree with Allen, plus the lakers (besides Kobe) need to frigin penetrate and when the double comes be ready to pass quickly. I don’t get it, ud thnk they’d have figured it out after game 3. To many guys r just standing around at the 3pt line. That’s exactly what PHX wants them to do. That being said LA went toe to toe with PHX in a shootout and barely lost a game they should have been blown out in. Dragic & Barbosa as well as Richardson running out of control “fell down” numerous times and got calls every time. In a close game in LA that help from the refs that gave them a decent advantage won’t b there. And that’s all the Lakers really need to put this team away. Zone defense or not.

  • capostat

    lol. There’s that term again, “pivotal”. I’ll forver remember Reggie Miller’s (mis)use of that word that night. When talking about Nash’s afforded rest period on the bench, he called it “pivotal”, as in, “that rest you got was pivotal”. And then later he said Gasol had to be “more pivotal”. I shuddered so much i had tonchange the channel.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    The Lakers took TOO MANY THREE POINTERS! Period. Too many jumpers, not enough inside game. And when their inside game is supposed to be so “superior” to everyone else, what with their two seven footers, they need to actually USE IT.
    Oh, and Phoenix bench played a great game last night!

  • KB24

    I think the Suns have a 70% chance of winning the series, they seem like the only team to ever figure out that KOBE CAN’T BE STOPPED, you beat the Lakers by shutting down the rest of his team.

  • MVPballer

    The Lakers need to pound it inside and play defense with some heart and hustle. If they do that they’ll take this series in 6.

  • http://Egotastic.com Michael

    The game was there for the lakers to takein the 4th but the lineup was awful. They have two huge advantages, Kobe and their size and they went away from them in the 4th qaurter and they got destroyed.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    This is a double edged sword complaining about the threes here: Yeah, the Lakers took too many threes, but you beat the zone by shooting long jumpers.

  • sal35

    That Suns team can get hot quick… best bench in the league no doubt.

  • http://www.johntitor.org John

    check out the lebron/ kobe mag on that ad up top…..very tight.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper

    Very interesting series, suns can win it. The deciding factor has been and will continue to be the suns shooting, esp from 3

  • Shem

    The zone may not be stopping the Lakers, but it’s bothering them. Like Kobe said, we’re not concentrating on D, we’re concentrating on the zone D their playing. Basically, when the Lakers are finishing the 2nd quarter, their line is: Fisher, Kobe, Artest, Odom and Gasol. They may not be the best shooting team but everyone on that line with the exception of Gasol can hit 3s. Gasol can hit mid range. The zone isn’t stopping LA on offense but it’s taking them out of their game. For the Suns to bring it to atleast 6 when nobody gave them a chance is pretty impressive.

  • AnonymousPNOY

    lakers are a pretty good team for a long time because of their money.LAKERS in 6.

  • E.R

    Vivan Los Suns!!

  • http://yahoo.com kevin armenta

    oh where thou Ariza?! damn i wish we had him!

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    How do you beat a zone? Theoretically: move the ball, shoot from where the defenders aren’t, depending on whether it’s 2-3 or 3-2, and have everyone pound the offensive boards since boxing out is poor. I don’t know how that fits with the triangle, though.

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    The Triangle offense cannot flow against a decent zone defense – your move tex winter.

  • http://yahoo.com kevin armenta

    When you play zone.The offense always has the advantage to get rebounds.The lakers didnt rebound like they should of.Thats what killed them.rebounding on both sides of the ball.

  • Lawrence

    see how the orlando breaks the zone defense of the boston celtics winning game 5..it’s either breaking the zone def. by driving towards the rim or shooting with excellent percentage outside!!!

  • ebram

    hey is the kobe/lebron special issue out already and if yes which newsstands has them

  • Beethoven

    I think the best option is to have Kobe go off for about 140 points.