By now, I'm sure you've read all you need to know about the matchup problems and overall size and talent advantages the Lakers have over the Suns. Both Alvin Gentry and Steve Nash feel comfortable in what the Suns are doing offensively. They averaged around 110 ppg during the regular season and are hovering around that line through two games versus the Lakers in the WCFs. It's obvious they have no answers on defense. Or at least none that they know about yet. But there is one thing they can hope for in order to get a win or two at home. They need the Lakers to start missing, and the Suns need to rebound those misses.
In five road playoff games this year, the Lakers have been out rebounded in four of them. Their lone road rebounding advantage came in their first-round Game Five closeout of the Thunder. Oddly, the Lakers have actually been outrebounded in all three of their road wins. On the flip side, the Suns have outrebounded their opponent in every home playoff game so far. They must hope the Lakers miss shots, meanwhile rebounding those misses, and converting buckets on their end. For a team as potent on offense as the Suns are, it's very possible. Unfortunately, the Suns have to hope for misses, since they haven't shown the ability in six games (regular and postseason) to force Lakers' misses.
- I predicted a sweep in our Roundtable Predictions and I'm sticking to that. Really, I'm even more encouraged. The Suns need to be perfect, all while hoping the Lakers aren't. It's sure not the Suns defense that will make them miss.
- Check out NBA.com's Series Page. They have some stats and video put together by Synergy that are well worth the time. The most interesting to me is the way it shows how the teams scoring. The Lakers are absolutely killing the Suns with Kobe isolation and Kobe/Pau pick and roll, and scoring off of cuts. Pau isn't posting up as much, but is more efficient when he does.
- Also, the Lakers have averaged 126 ppg, while actually scoring less in transition then average. In the regular season series vs. PHX, 12.1% of the offense came from transition. In the first two games of the WCFs, that number has shrunk to 8.9%, and they're actually scoring slightly less per play when they do. For those of you who never learned to add and subtract, that means the Lakers are scoring 91.1% of their points in halfcourt. At 1.186 points per possession, compare to 0.976 during the regular season. The Lakers have gone ultra-efficient against the Suns.
- It's much easier to look so good when your bench is consistently performing well. They deserve some praise. Could it be that Kobe's time off at the end of the regular season gave them the momentum they needed? Of course, they haven't been perfect and Lamar's return to the bench has made a huge difference. Yet, it's nice to know that Kobe and Pau don't have to do it all. The Lakers are rolling as a result.
- Anyone else amused by Amare Stoudemire? Of course Lamar Odom was lucky. Lucky enough to get Amare as a defender. "STAT" has no clue. It confuses me how a player can be that good running the pick and roll and so clueless defending it. He's playing like a man only concerned about offensive numbers and not getting hurt. He can't get that max contract by getting injured. Best way to not get injured is to not play or try. Not playing and not trying sums up Amare's D.
- If there's a reason the Suns never have nor will breakthrough, it's because their two superstars are defensive liabilities.
- Jason Whitlock slammed Amare and Dwight Howard in an article yesterday. I agree with Whitlock on some levels, such what seems to be "underdeveloped basketball minds" from "AAU babies." These two are examples of coddled young superstars who may have never had to learn the game properly. It's part of the reason the NBA decided to implement the age limit. There are other factors involved in the age limit ,but in a system that feeds on young potential and the parasites surrounding them, showcasing skill is more important than learning the tricks of the trade.
Howard and Stoudemire are full-blooded AAU Babies. They were raised in the era where the penalty for a high school phenom ignoring the teachings of his coach was a spot in the draft lottery and a shoe contract with Nike or Adidas.
I still think Dwight is an overrated defender. He's more a help-side defender than man-up and commits too many silly fouls. How is that the best defender in the league? Defense isn't merely blocking shots into the stands. He has presence, sure, that matters a lot. Not going to take that away. He has impact. Personally, I prefer man-to-man stoppers.
- But at least D12 plays D. Some team is going to give Amare the money, and that team will never be a championship team. Pay for offense, pray for defense.
- I was watching NBA Fastbreak, and Jalen Rose mentioned that the Suns have a better shot than the Magic at tying their respective series, because the Suns go back home while the Magic head to Boston. He did say he only picked the Suns because he had to choose one, and his reasoning was valid, but I think the Magic have the better shot. Boston hasn't been as good at home this year. They had a better road record this season, 26-12 on the road to 24-17 at home. A lot of those home games were blown leads or flat-out crapfests. They've only lost one home game so far, but that was a 32-point drubbing versus the Cavaliers. I do expect Boston to win this series, but I wouldn't be surprised if Orlando won Game Three and maybe Game Four as well.
- I'm sure you know that the Lakers went 34-7 at home this season and 23-18 on the road. They've seemed to have put their road woes behind them (and any other woes), while still being a great home team. They're 7-0 at home this post season.
- The reason I told you this? Because I, like the rest of the NBA-watching world not in Phoenix or Orlando expect our Lakers to get their revenge against the Celtics, and guess who will have homecourt advantage? Our Mighty Lake Show. How perfect is that?
- Let me put on my conspiracy theorist hat and say... no wonder the Lakers didn't care about homecourt advantage. They knew they had it wrapped up.
- I'll stop there in the looking ahead. I have a lot to say. I know you do, and we'll all have a lot to read. But we have to get these next two first.
- That's all I have for today. You can follow me on Twitter: @wondahbap.