Work in Sports
Turnovers ruin Sun's day
Posted: Sunday May 07, 2000 11:02 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Too many TOs.
Phoenix's Luc Longley passed the ball right into the hands of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant. The Suns' Rodney Rogers threw the ball away. Bryant and Ron Harper stole bad passes.
For good measure, the Suns' Corie Blount then inbounded the ball to the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal right under the Los Angeles basket.
All those Suns' turnovers came in a span of just more than two minutes midway through the third quarter as the Lakers built their lead to double digits and took control for good.
Sunday's final score was Lakers 105, Suns 77. The difference in points off turnovers accounted for 24 points of the Lakers' winning margin. Los Angeles cashed in 23 turnovers for 28 points to four points for Phoenix off the Lakers' 12 turnovers.
"They scored 28 points off our turnovers. We scored four off theirs. There's the game right there," Phoenix coach Scott Skiles said after the Suns' lopsided loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series.
Skiles said the poor ball-handling wasn't unusual.
"It's been one of our weaknesses all year long. We haven't handled the ball well on the break and just handling and passing the ball from point A to point B is one of our weaknesses," he said.
Many of the bad passes were not caused by the Lakers' defense, but were simply wild throws, several of which sailed off the court and into the courtside seats.
"We ran into a buzzsaw," said the Suns' Penny Hardaway, who scored 25 points and had four turnovers. "We just have to go back to the drawing board. The majority of it was us, unforced turnovers, just passing a bounce pass to somebody and somebody (Lakers defender) stepping into the lane."
Hardaway did say the Lakers forced the Suns to make an extra pass many times.
"You have to credit their defense with our over-passing," he said. "I think you have to pick and choose the times you want to make (interior passes), and we didn't do a good job of that, thus so many turnovers."
Jason Kidd, playing just his second game after returning from a broken ankle that had sidelined him since March 22, looked rusty, committing five turnovers and scoring only three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Kidd said he hurt his ankle a little the first time he shot a layup against the Lakers, but that it was nothing serious and didn't expect it to be a factor in Game 2 on Wednesday.
"I was just favoring it a little bit," he said. "But I think realizing that I can push off it will help my confidence."
The Suns had just five more field goals -- 28 -- than turnovers.
"We didn't get the shots at the basket because of the turnovers and when you're playing the best team in the league, you can't afford to do that," Kidd said. "Obviously, that's something we have to improve in the second game."