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After the loss Bryant said that the Lakers were confused about their defensive rotations. Part of it was because Los Angeles was without Ron Artest, as the forward was in the midst of a five-game absence because of a fall on Christmas Day, but the confusion also occurred because Nash puts the defense in a quandary whenever he runs the pick-and-roll with a teammate like Amar'e Stoudemire, for example.
|The Suns' proficiency with the pick and roll could cause problems for the Lakers.|
Still, Nash's presence puts a lot of pressure on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to try to stay with the crafty point guard out of certain screen-roll situations. If the two 7-footers won't have to worry about showing on Nash and closing out on Frye at the 3-point line, they'll still have to worry about showing on Nash and backpedalling in the lane to cut off scoring opportunities for Robin Lopez in the paint. "Because of the size of a lot of players involved in screen-roll, a lot of teams scale down," Jackson said. "Our strength is our 7-foot guys. So, they try to attack us, bring our bigs away from the basket and make them have to work extra hard and wear them out chasing the ball around & We're not as good as some teams [at defending the screen-roll], but we feel like we're improving as a basketball team. I thought that Drew did as good a job as he's done in a long time in screen-roll defense Tuesday night versus Toronto." In the second half against the Raptors, Bynum helped create multiple steals for his team by doubling the ball when Toronto ran a sideline pick-and-roll and causing the ball carrier to throw errant passes trying to elude his length that were picked off by his Lakers teammates and converted into fastbreak scoring chances. "What you like to do in screen-roll defense ultimately is to be able to switch at all positions and if you do that, then you got 7-foot guys playing 6-3 guards that are capable of shooting 3-point shots," Jackson said. "So there's a level where you say at some point, you have to switch." The Lakers aren't going to start playing championship-style basketball again at the flip of a switch, but improving their screen-roll defense is one way to start moving in the right direction.