The Millionaire Vacationer Returns, But Lakers Still Lose

There are several NBA head coaches who had professional careers playing the guard position, including Lakers’ head man Byron Scott. But none have taken their personal feelings for everything good about the position to heart as much as Phoenix Suns’ coach Jeff Hornacek. The Iowa St. grad who played 15 seasons in the NBA, scoring over 15,000 points, has recently re-cast the traditional basketball lineup of one center, two forwards, and two guards, into something different, with great success. The Suns are currently on a six-game winning streak, and that success can be directly connected to Hornacek’s now oft-used lineup of not just three guards, but of three point guards.

It would seem that the primary reason for doing this would be the fact the the three best players on the team, Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, and Isaiah Thomas, are all point guards. With his natural prejudice for people who play guard kicking in, Hornacek must have thought at some point, why NOT use all three together? Hornacek does begin his games with a traditional lineup, and he does use a center and forwards for much, if not most, of the games, but when it's crunch time, it's Bledsoe,
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Dragic and Thomas. In tonight’s nine-point victory over the Lakers, when the game closed to within three points with three minutes to play, Hornacek removed center Alex Len, and went with his three-guard set, and his team with that lineup outscored the Lakers ten to four over those last three minutes.

The three Phoenix point guards were the three top scorers for the the Suns, as they contributed a combined 61 of the team’s 116 points.

Apart from Phoenix’ winning strategy, the game also marked the return to the Lakers’ lineup of Kobe Bryant, now back from his long overdue and so well deserved vacation. I mean, how do you expect him to play 17 games without some time off? Look at last season when he only appeared in six games of the team’s 82. He’s already way past THAT total, and it’s still 2014.

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Earlier today I said I expected him to play around 30 minutes, unless the game was close. If close, I said he'd play his normal 35-40 minutes. Well, he sat out for quite awhile after having played 25 minutes and with the team down eight to 12 points or so. But then, they Lakers staged a come back, and back into the game came the previously
vacationing millionaire. He ended up playing 32 minutes, taking what might well be a career low ten shots, hitting 40%, slightly above his season’s average, but scoring only ten points. He did contribute eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Lakers did seem to play a bit better defensively tonight, except for Kobe playing toreador, escorting opposing players by and through his less than successful attempts at defense, and of course except for nick young, who as usual, did not even pretend to play any defense.

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