It was Bizarro Groundhog Day for Alvin Gentry in Staples Center last night. Sometimes things change just enough to remain the same.
Let me make some sense out of that conundrum.
Gentry’s Suns were run off the court by the Lakers in a 121-102 blowout. Losing in Los Angeles is nothing new for the former head coach of the Clippers. Losing in Staples with Lamar Odom on the floor is an old habit for Gentry as well. The difference this time was that L.O. was wearing purple and gold instead of Clipper red, white and blue.
Usually, when a Laker center plays for 36 minutes, drops 26 in the bucket, takes 15 off the glass and swats three shots into the seats, Gentry would expect to hear the Superman theme playing as some big guy named O’Neal sweats all over the floor. This time around it was Andrew Bynum who abused an undersized Phoenix front line. For the record, Channing Frye has as good a chance at stopping Bynum as Boris Diaw did of stopping Kwame Brown.
For good measure, Kobe Bryant put together an efficient effort scoring 29 points on 21 shots and managed to frustrate Jason Richardson to the point you felt he was going to go Raja Bell on KB24.
Yep, nothing much has changed for Alvin Gentry and his Phoenix Suns.
This was just the first installment of the season series, but it was clear the gulf in class that separates the one loss Lakers from the now two loss Suns.
Next time around the Suns should shoot better than 36.5% as a team and you can expect Amare Stoudemire to make more than 2 of 15 shots. Of course, next time around Pau Gasol could be the newest Laker big man returning to the lineup just as Bynum did last night. In that case, Gentry will really feel like he’s Bill Murray waking up to Sonny and Cher all over again.