Lakers vs Suns
|LAKERS WON, 3-1|
How will the Lakers fare in matchup against the Suns?
First let's look at the regular season head to head matchup:
Lakers won 3 to 1. Lost once in Phoenix.
Game 1 Keypoints:
Lakers won 121- 102 but doesn't count because Gasol was still out at that point.
Bynum did have maybe his best game of the season with 26, 15, 3blks.
Held Suns to 36.5% shooting after a fast 8-1 start.
Game 2 Keypoints:
Lakers won 108-88. Phoenix played a tough game against The Kings the night before, while The Lakers didn't play the day before and were coming off Kobe's infamous shot against Miami.
Kobe shot 9-16, this is before the injured digit debacle. Ron Artest had 5 steals.
Lakers also made a uncharacteristic 10-21 threes.
Game 3 keypoints:
In Phoenix, no Artest. Nash and Amare played well. and The Suns bench shot great.
Dragic: 14 Dudley: 19 Barbosa: 11 Lopez: 8.
Assists: suns 25 lakes 13. Also LOW energy and terrible transition defense.
Game 4 keypoints:
In Phoenix, Lakers starting lineup all scored at least 15. No frye or barbosa.
Alvin Gentry tossed for arguing a call where Gasol accidentally hit Amundson's face.
Only competitive match, Amare had 29 and 16.
We can safely throw out the first three games, all before Kobe injured his finger, all before Suns great second half of the season including their consistent bench play and reemergence of Richardson as a consistent 3rd scorer.
The final game however did have indications, first, its possible for Lakers to win on the road in Phoenix. Second, The Lakers defense really flexed its muscle holding all players in check (inefficient) but Amare, understandably. It also had playoff atmosphere and Gasol/Bynum were able to make the shots they took combined 15-23.
Moving on to things to take into consideration:
Nash will not be held down at all by fisher/brown/farmar. I expect 21pts 12asst
Same goes for Kobe vs. Dudley/Hill/Richardson. Expect 29/7/6. With average efficiency meaning 1.2 to
1.3 points per shot.
X factors: Will Lamar Odom contribute? Will Richardson continue his scoring spree?
I do not expect Odom to contribute consistently, his minutes and fg% were low against the Suns and
with the Lakers roster intact now, I forsee 25-28minute avg.
Richardson... let's be honest, how many shots has he made without Nash or Amare creating wide
open opportunities for him? not many. How many will he make with Kobe (1st all team defense 2010)
guarding him or Artest (Durant who?) guarding him? NOT MANY.
Individuals and their performances will not be as important as the pace. Suns cannot beat the Lakers in a slow halfcourt game with Bynum and Gasol getting plenty of touches. Lakers can play fast pace, but at times lack motivation to play to their potential in transition defense.
Another key is overall bench play (and role play) of The Suns, will they hit threes to spread the floor? how will dudley/frye(i know he starts)/dragic play on the road to start the series?
Suns have already exceeded expectations this season.
This might sound confusing but, I believe The Suns believe that The Lakers do not believe in The Suns, and they have simply beaten a 3 wheeled portland team and gained momentum with homecourt against the spurs.
Remember The Legendary Lakers have homecourt in this series. The Lakers should take the punch out of The Suns and win games 1 & 2. While the role players will shoot better in phoenix and it should be the same story as the OKC series.
Lakers in 6.
Comment away. -BDS