Suns v. Lakers Preview

nash.jpgWhat to Look For: Somethin’ biblical.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. . . . For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect –- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time (Matthew 24:10-13;24 NIV).

They were thisclose. Thisclose to an upset. It didn’t happen. Instead, Kobe Bryant was accused of a cardinal sin, quitting on his team in a game 7, an accusation that will linger in the air of this entire series.

They were thisclose. Thisclose to being upset. It didn’t happen. Instead, Steve Nash maintained his mystique and may hoist another MVP trophy during this series.

I know that last year’s playoffs don’t actually count towards this years award, but to think that they aren’t remembered is a bit naive, no? If the Lakers won that series, Kobe would have been absolved of practically all previous transgressions and would have finally shed the image of a brooding loner. If the Suns had lost that series, the deification of Nash and Phoenix would have been proven to be a ruse in the worst possible fashion. Instead, Nash is still praised for turning a team with two other All Stars-one of them also a candidate for DPOY, a former coach of the year, and a candidate for sixth man of the year into division champions, and Kobe Bryant is still a Judas.

Once again, both men stand before us to be judged.

Sooner, rather than later, we’ll all see who the prophet is.

Phoenix Strengths/Weaknesses: Phoenix has continually baptized opponents in the streaking fire that is their fastbreak, flames fanned by outrageous team percentages in field goals (49%), threes (40%) and free throws (80%). Nash & STAT will pick n’ roll the damn air outta the ball and the Suns unselfishness as a unit always creates an open shot. They get the job done. On one side of the court. Their inefficiencies on the other end are just as well known and equally deadly. This team has plenty of athletes, and two of the league’s premier defenders in Bell and Marion, however Nash’s inability to contain anyone allows easy penetration and subsequent fouls on interior help defenders. This team isn’t that deep to begin with, so any foul trouble that forces adjustments in the lineup will either tire out the remains of an already overworked crew or force them to rely on players outside of their regular rotation. Despite a formidable front line, the Suns were consistently out rebounded this year, including three of the four games against the Lakers. A team that can’t be depended on to rebound or play defense better not miss often.

Los Angeles Strengths/Weaknesses: Kobe/Anyone not named Kobe. That’s the consensus. Before they were plagued with injuries, the Lakers were showing signs of cohesion with a 30-19 record, but February was quite a while ago, and currently this team is a hot ass mess. They’re just like the Suns, on the wrong end of the court. Porous defense and out boarded. Offense has been a completely different story altogether. Depending on who you ask, Kobe is either Moses, leading a weary tribe into the promised land, or Pharaoh himself. The cohesion of this seasons past is definitely needed, but the question at hand is whether a young, inexperienced-and depleted roster can muster such a collective effort on demand. Which Lamar Odom will emerge in this series? Does Smush want a contract or a victory? Can Radmonovich repeat last years playoff heroics? Can Bynum & Turiaf establish themselves as a post presence? Can Kwame… be counted on for anything? The Lakers will play amidst a parted sea of questions that can cave in on them without any faith in each other.

How They Match Up: Despite the glaring differences in talent, these two teams should play each other pretty evenly. Neither team will put forth a sustained defensive effort, so expect plenty of Nash blowing by Smush and vice versa. Phoenix is obviously flush with shooters, so Walton, Radmonovic and Vujacic need to remain an outside threat for the Lakers. Everyone will need to stay at home on their defensive assignments rather than chasing penetration since both teams are infatuated with the trey. Stoudemire will get his, but he can be countered by the Laker big men who together should thrive in a half court setting. Marion probably won’t get any plays called, and Odom will attempt to punish him on the offensive blocks, so if he tires and disappears again like he did in last year’s series, things will definitely tighten up again for the Suns.

The X Factor:

purse.

This could be the biggest series of Kobe Bryant’s life. It almost would have been better for him to have been blown out last year than to be called a quitter. Twenty four minutes of basketball weighed more in many minds than all of his miracles in the past two years, and because of that he is still proclaimed to be the author of vanity and deceit, leading the game away from it’s essence. Those last twenty four minutes of basketball weighed heavily enough on his mind for him to wear them as a constant reminder on his chest, and now he has come full circle. Fair or not, Kobe’s legacy will be affected by his decision making in this series. Will he trust his teammates completely or will his leadership abilities be undermined by a desire for personal vindication?

Series Prediction: Mayhem.

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20, KJV)

Lakers in 7.

6 Responses to “Suns v. Lakers Preview”

  1. I wondered if you’d have the balls to make that call. Kudos for coming through. Though the prediction is laughable, I’m still impressed you made it.

  2. I’ve never been a big fan of those breakdowns that go position by position so I like the way you’ve done it, strengths/weaknesses. I do have a couple of points about your analysis.

    The Lakers started out 26-13 but finally couldn’t overcome the glut of injuries that befell them. For the first time since the season began really they are healthy. You completely underestimate Kwame. He’ll be huge for the Lakers in this series. He’ll manhandle Amare and make him work very hard for his points and rebounds.Additionally, Kwame will be a force offensively on the smallish Suns team.

    Just as Nash puts tremendous pressure on the entire Suns defensive unit by allowing easy penetration so has Smush for the entire season put tremendous pressure on the other Laker defenders by seemingly refusing to try to stay in front of his man, instead opting for cheap steal attempts which usually do nothing but allow the other team to get easy looks and put our bigs in foul trouble as they are forced time and again to cover for his lazy ass. Jordan Farmar started the last two games if the regular season and he, at least, seems to understand the importance of the point staying ni front of his man.

    I tend to look at a series as a battle of wills. In this series the Lakers and Suns both have things offensively and defensively they will attempt to do. The degree to which they execute will determine the outcome.

    The Suns on offense will try to control tempo, get the games to a helter skelter tempo, make the Lakers forget that just as you can’t out-republican the republicans-a lesson the Dems still don’t seem to get, you can’t out gun the Suns. The Suns will push the pace on every posession trying to get a shot off within 7 seconds of the shot clock and when they aren’t successful at that, they’ll use the high screen roll to try to get an easy layup or if the Lakers chase the ball, a wide open look at three.

    On defense, the Suns are seriously hampered by a lack of size and recognize that Kwame, Lamar and Bynum will kill them if they allow entry passes to the post. So they’ll focus on the passing lanes, denying the entry pass and creating havoc on those inlet passes. They’ll sick Raja on Kobe and hope he can make it difficult for him to catch the ball and if unsuccessful at that, at least get a hand in his face when he shoots. They’ll double off the ball on him at times, particularly if he’s hot and they’ll go for easy steals in order to creat easy opportunities.

    On Offense, the Lakers will try to post up as much as possible. They’ll have more TO’s than necessary because of trying to force the entry pass over fronting, athletic defenders. If Kobe’s J is falling he’ll be very aggressive from the egt go and put enormous pressure on the Suns. They’ll try to milk the shot clock and try to control the tempo of the game. They will have to hit their open looks, because everyone not named Kobe will get PLENTY of them.

    On defense, the Lakers will go under a lot on the screen roll, make Nash a shooter, they’ll have to avoid chasing the ball and they’ll have to be very disciplined and stay home on the drive by Nash. They’ll make him be a scorer, not a set up man. Kwame will own Amare and Lamar will completely neutralize Marion as he always does. They’ll try to get back, get back, get back on the Suns break and it won’t be good enough a lot of times as the Suns run the break with showtime perfection.

    Ultimately the series will be one of discipline and will. The Suns won 61 games this season and it was no fluke, but the Lakers have revenge on their minds. The Suns have overall better basketball players but they are too unbalanced to handle the Lakers this year and will fail to advance.

    Lakers in 5.

  3. maxairington Says:

    And I thought I was going out on a limb.

    The first two games of this series will be crucial for the Lakers. Phoenix wants to finish this series off ASAP to rest for San An. That will either bring out their best effort or they might actually get caught looking ahead. Either way, L.A. needs a win in Phoenix to keep a foot off of their throats. I expect a steady effort from the Lakers, and a win would do wonders for their confidence knowing they may have taken the Suns best shot.

    I honestly don’t trust Kwame, and for good reason. Every flash of potential is eclisped by another series of blunders. Blown layups, dropped passes, mishandled rebounds, unsure footwork, etc. But he throws a mean cake. I expect him to contribute like he did last year, but he folded when he was needed in the first half of game 7. Perhaps it was the sexual assult charges he was facing, but that is not an issue now, and anything less than a consistent effort from him will poke yet another hole in the Lakers already thin chances.

    Phoenix will have their lapses during this series and if the Lakers can fill them, they can make this things competitive and steal the all-important psychological advantage. After that, anything can happen.

  4. You’re gonna be in for one helluva surprise MA. This is going to be Kwame’s breakout series. Book it my man, book it…..

  5. dis iz gay as fuck lemme show u a real pix of Lakers Vs The Suns

    [IMG]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y206/NiGKUHB/23141787.jpg[/IMG]

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