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Daily Dime: How the Lakers can stun Suns

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  • Daily Dime: How the Lakers can stun Suns

    How the Lakers can stun Suns
    By Greg Anthony
    ESPN Insider

    All of the playoff teams are now set. Sacramento, Chicago, the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento, welcome to the party. With three nights of regular season action left, some matchups won't be set until the final game Wednesday night.

    Among the pairings that are almost nailed down, I think the likely Western Conference No. 7 seed Lakers are going to have a really good chance in the series with the No. 2 Suns. That's based on more than just Kobe Bryant and Co. looking very good against a Phoenix team Sunday playing without Steve Nash, Raja Bell and much motivation. But this win still means something to the Lakers, because they dominated the game.

    Now if the Kings (43-38) beat Seattle at home on Tuesday, and the Lakers (44-37) lose at home Wednesday to the Hornets, then Sacramento would slide up to the No. 7 seed by virtue of superior division record tiebreakers. But the Lakers control their destiny.

    If and when the Suns and Lakers meet again, here's how I think the Lakers can win. There's a formula that you have to implement against Phoenix, and it requires discipline. It's about controlling tempo.

    So this is where a coach like Phil Jackson earns his money.

    I liken the Suns to a run-and-shoot team in football. And the way to combat that approach is with a running game in football -- in basketball you stop them by dominating the paint. That slows the tempo down.

    On this Shaq-less team, Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant have to be the ones doing the damage in the paint. They can't settle for jumpers every time.

    A successful post game demands a double team, and that brings extra help below the free-throw line. This would give the Lakers' defense that much more time to get back in transition. The Lakers have to do that. Phoenix excels at shooting the 3 in transition.

    The Lakers have a good chance in a seven-game series. The Lakers have an opportunity to come in riding a five-game win streak, playing the best hoop in their division.

    I think it's going to be a very interesting series because the Lakers are a better basketball team than they were in the first half. I don't think Phoenix is playing as well as it did in the first half. This makes for a very compelling series. The key for the Lakers will be winning one of those first two games in Phoenix.

    Elsewhere, a team that clinched Sunday but is still likely to be in full playoff-drive mode is the Wizards (40-40), who beat potential first-round foe Cleveland. The Wiz are in a good position in that they are still motivated to keep the No. 5 seed and a matchup with the Cavs.

    So even though Washington is in, the game Tuesday against the Bucks holds seeding implications. Cleveland is the worst of the top four and the team the Wiz have the best chance of beating. The Wiz probably would not be in this position had Caron Butler not missed five games, which were all losses. He came back Sunday from and a right thumb injury and scored 21 points. I think the Wiz are going to hold on to their five spot.

    Chicago, which clinched an East seed with a win over Miami, has been impressive. The Bulls are the perfect team for Detroit to play because they're going to put up some intense fights. Now, I don't think they have a chance, but an earlier playoff test will be good for the Pistons. Chicago is legit with its young core, which, although Orlando's is very good, is, I think is the best in the game.

    Sacramento's looking good after clinching a playoff spot with a win over New Orleans/Oklahoma City. Mike Bibby is playing great basketball for the Kings. The only thing I worry about is the Hornets rely on Bibby's jumper, which is going to be easier to take away in a playoff series.

    Because of what Ron Artest has brought, I think they're going to give the Spurs a great test in the first round, barring a late change in the seedings. Which, though banged up, will be good for San Antonio. A coach wants his team up for the rest of the playoffs. It's harder in the playoffs to get to that next intensity level unless you get pushed.

    Looks like the Lakers are going to be playing the Suns in the Playoffs. I'd bet $10.00 that the Lakers will win this series.

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  • laram0
    How Bout Those Lakers?!!!!
    by laram0
    The Lakers were in Boston last night for their final game of the regular season against the Celtics. Lakers won the game by 1 point in overtime. This completed a sweep of the 2 game regular season series. I watched the entire game sitting on the edge of my seat. The Lakers didn't play their best game and still came away with a huge win even with everything stacked against them.

    1. 3rd game in 4 days on the road (all wins by the way)
    2. Beat the Celtics in Boston with the fans chanting BEAT L A!
    3. No Andrew Bynum!!!

    I would like to add that the Boston Celtics are the biggest bunch of crybabies in the NBA! Maybe that's why they lead the NBA in technical fouls?!!!
    -02-06-2009, 05:02 AM
  • laram0
    L. A. Lakers
    by laram0
    I don't get to see much of the Lakers out here in Mass.. How do they look??

    Make a splash in the playoffs or what?

    How's this kid Bynum look?

    I am overly excited that the Boston Celtics have lost 14 in a row!
    -02-07-2007, 10:26 AM
  • AvengerRam_old
    The New Lakers, and 10 Reasons they won't beat the Heat.
    by AvengerRam_old
    Lakers fans everywhere are celebrating their Summer moves that have brought them Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. But will they be able to unseat the Miami Heat as NBA Champs?

    Here are 10 reasons why they won't.

    1. The Oklahoma City Thunder
    I don't think the Lakers will be able to get past OKC. Look at the match-ups. Howard and Gasol can be kept in check by Perkins and Ibaka. Durant will torch MWP or whoever else has the burden of trying to guard him. Kobe will score, but he'll have to work for it matching up with Sefolosha and Harden. And does anyone want to rely on Steve Nash to guard Russell Westbrook? I'd put good money on a Thunder vs. Heat rematch.

    2. Teams are not made overnight.
    When Miami signed their big 3, everyone thought they had the best team "on paper." But it takes a while for players to learn to play together. It will be no different for the Lakers.

    3. Kobe and Nash are not a good combination.
    Steve Nash is at his best when he has the ball in his hand and runs the pick-and-roll. Does anyone think Kobe Bryant is just going to wait around on the wing while Nash runs the show? Mark my words. Kobe will be the primary ballhandler, and Nash will be relegated to the role of a spot-up shooter. While Nash can be effective in that role, that's not what made him a 2 time MVP.

    4. Age matters.
    With the exception of Howard, all of the Lakers best 6 players (including Antawn Jamison) are North of 32 years of age. If you don't think that matters, look at what happened to the Spurs in each of the last two years in the playoffs.

    5. Howard's foul shooting.
    When the Lakers had Shaq, his foul shooting issues didn't hurt them because they were so much better than any team in the league. This Lakers team, on the other hand, can't afford to rely on a 50% foul shooter in crunch time.

    6. The bench.
    The Lakers bench, apart from Jamison, is made up primarily of journeymen. Compare that to a Heat bench that has Udonis Haslem, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis and Mike Miller.

    7. Three point shooting.
    The Lakers three point options are limited. Kobe is inconsistent. So is MWP. The bench does not have any prolific shooters. Nash is their only consistent option.

    8. Foul Trouble.
    The Heat are very good at getting opposing big men in foul trouble. With Steve Nash offering little resistance to quicker players like Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole (not to mention the big 3 attacking the basket), Howard could find himself sitting through a lot of a Heat/Lakers series.

    9. Dwyane Wade.
    Wade fought through injuries throughout the playoffs last year, and still put up very solid numbers. At the same time, because he was not 100%, some people seem to have forgotten just how good he is. When healthy - and Wade should be healthy this year after sitting out the Olympics to have a clean-up procedure...
    -08-16-2012, 08:09 AM
  • RAMMAN68
    by RAMMAN68
    OK Laker fans, they are down 1 game to 0 and already are down by 12 in the 2nd. What will happen?

    Do the Lakers have what it takes to pull this series out? Or will they fold as expected? :x
    -04-24-2007, 08:41 PM
  • dgr828
    Will the Lakers go undefeated this season?
    by dgr828
    Kobe and the 'Lake Show' are 3-0 so far in the new season. They should be 4-0 by Wednesday, when they hook up with 0-3 LA Clippers again. Lakers beat A. I. and the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, then the Nuggets promptly ship Allen Iverson to Detroit for Chaucey Billups and Antonio McDyess.
    I'm already psyched about this years NBA season, especially since my Rams are done for the year. GO LAKERS!
    -11-03-2008, 11:36 PM