Every time the Lakers and Suns play, the Suns win, and the Lakers and basketball lose.


Steve Nash scrambles for a loose ball in Friday night’s win over the Lakers.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)

Given the yawning talent gap between the teams it’s hard to see why the league’s highest scoring, most entertaining team suddenly turn into such a grinding drudge against a team that has no point guard, no center, and last night had no Kobe, at least not the real one.

The teams are 20 games apart in the standings, for goodness sake! Yet a stranger watching them play would assume they were in a tight fight for first place (or last). That’s how ugly most of the games are between this most mismatched odd couple.

It’s like watching a race between a Porsche and a Ford pickup, with the Porsche winning by half a car length every time.

But not surprisingly, Coach Mike takes the position that if winning ugly is what it takes he’ll take it.

In fact, he found it satisfying that the Suns could win ugly, since that is what you often have to do in the playoffs, and this is the one thing the critics who question the title viability of their style say they can’t do.

And speaking of the playoffs, the officials must have misread the schedule and figured this was Game 1 of the first round, because they were certainly in the no-blood, no-foul mode that is standard postseason procedure.

Offhand you would figure that with an exhausted Kobe coming off a 50-point, 48-minute effort last night unable to beg, borrow, or make a basket (he was 7 for 26) the Lakers would be easy pickings. But instead they were right there with four minutes to play and it took a couple of big plays at both ends to put this one in the win column.

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