Monday report

Quick day in El Segundo today. Phil Jackson called off practice after a quick video session. The Lakers will practice tomorrow before boarding a 3 p.m. flight to Phoenix for Wednesday’s Game 5.

– Kobe Bryant was a first-team selection to the NBA’s all-defensive time, the seventh time in his 11 seasons that he’s been a first-team or second-team selection. Bryant got 14 first-place votes out of 30, and fellow first-team selection Raja Bell got seven first-place votes and 11 second-place votes. Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan and Marcus Camby also made the first team.

– Phil said Lamar Odom felt better today, after a tough game in which he was limited by his elbow and shoulder injuries. Only rest and (likely) surgery will help Odom at this point.

– Phil once again mentioned the possibility of putting Radmanovic on the active roster, but he said the same thing before Game 4 and didn’t do it. Presumably, Brian Cook would be the odd man out, and given that he has a sprained thumb, that switch wouldn’t be a stretch.

Not much else news going on. Players were not available to reporters today, so the only interview transcript is from Phil Jackson. More tomorrow…
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Lakers defense

So what happened to that vaunted Lakers defense that propelled them to victory in Game 3 on Thursday?

Yeah, that’s right. That vaunted Lakers defense. That swarming, trapping, high-intensity defense that caught the Phoenix Suns so off-guard the other night.

As it turns out, it’s still a work in progress.

“It’s kind of new so everybody doesn’t always know what to do or how to rotate yet,” said Lakers guard Shammond Williams, one of the defensive heroes on Thursday night. “We haven’t jumped screen and rolls or played screen and rolls like that all year.

“Sometimes, when you’re doing something new, you miss a few things here and there and it costs you.”

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The Jello is jiggling

1:39 left and everyone is heading for the exits. Steve Nash put up a career high 23 assists, which is two more than the entire Lakers team.

Kobe and Lamar had nice games, but the Lakers defense never played consistently. 100 points seems to be the magic number for the Suns again. The last two playoff series’, the Lakers have never beaten the Suns when Phoenix scored more than 100 points.

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Another ugly stat

The three Lakers point guards — Farmar, Parker and Williams — are a combined 1 for 9 from the field today. They’ve accounted for just two asssits and two points. Steve Nash on the other hand has 13 points and 21 asssists. Barbosa has 14 points and two assists.

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Lamar getting it going

After a quiet first half, Lamar’s really getting it going here in the third quarter. He’s got eight points here in the third and could have more if his free throw shooting was better. You’ve got to give him a ton of credit because he really looks like he’s playing through a lot of pain.

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First half thoughts

The Lakers have played well and it feels like they should either be leading or a lot closer at this point, but they’ve been very sloppy in their dtransition defense and allowed Phoenix to score a lot of easy buckets. Take the end of the first half. The crowd was going nuts after Kwame converted a 3-point play with about two minutes remaining that cut the lead to 50-49. But the Lakers seemd to flip the switch off after that and PHoenix beat them down the court three straight times to reel off six straight points as part of an 8-2 run to close the half.

Suns 58, Lakers 51

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