Los Angeles Lakers: Michael Redd

Lakers Late Night Replay vs. Phoenix

April, 7, 2012
4/07/12
10:13
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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According to Elton John, Saturday is a night where fighting is perfectly acceptable. However, the Lakers either didn't get the memo or don't much care for classic rock, because not much of a fight was put up against the Suns in Phoenix during a 125-105 smack to the face. Yeah, Kobe Bryant was in street clothes because of inflammation in his left shin, but the Suns were also missing Grant Hill, and aren't good as the Lakers to begin with. Plus, The Mamba's absence doesn't account for the Suns shooting a shade over 48 percent from behind the arc. Or a decided non-scoring threat like Robin freakin' Lopez coming within a 3-pointer of matching the visiting bench's collective tally by himself. And dude only scored seven points!

Kobe would have certainly helped the Lakers' cause, but pinning the loss on his injury lets the team off the hook far too easily. It's just one issue kicked around on Saturday's edition of Lakers Late Night. Obviously the total lack of defense was a focus. Why have the Lakers fallen apart? Can Humpty Dumpty be put back together again? Certainly all the king's horses and men have their work cut out. What role does fatigue play in all of this? Or Andrew Bynum's only periodic commitment to both sides of the floor?

And then there's the bench. We talk about potential strategies going forward. Steve Blake has been awful, but what are the alternatives?

Four years ago this summer, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul were two of 12 NBA players determined to restore America's standing as the worldwide kings of basketball. In a classic game against Spain (featuring none other than Pau Gasol), Team USA won the gold and showed fans how a team of elite superstars can push egos to the side for the sake of a larger goal.

With Lakers-Clippers on the docket this evening
, various ESPN scribes (including the K Bros) gathered thoughts from Bryant's and Paul's Olympic teammates and coaches about the experience of working with them. Click here to make a patriotic trip down Memory Lane, and below are excerpts with Kobe's and Paul's recollections about one another:

Kobe on Paul: He's tough. He's tough as nails, man; he doesn't back down from anything or anybody. I'd never been as close to him, but when I was [on the Olympic team] I'd try to challenge him, see what he's made of and he's a tough little sucker.

Paul on Kobe: Me and Kob really figured out how much we had in common on that trip. That Olympic experience is when we got a lot closer. Me and my wife send him Christmas cards and his family sends us Christmas cards, and now we talk on a regular basis. We both want to win so badly. It's one of those things where as great a relationship as we have, as long as we're playing on the same court against each other, we're always going to get into it, you know what I mean? That's the respect factor, because you know that he wants it just as bad as I do.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.3
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2