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The Showdown at Sundown!

WOOH! Get yourselves ready Lakers fans because this game is going to be HUGE! Shaquille “The Big Cactus” O’Neal will make his Suns debut against the Lakers tonight and I got to say – I’m excited! I know you’re excited! Whose not excited?

The other eight teams playing tomorrow… Why?

Because everyone’s going to be watching the Lakers – Phoenix rivalry kick it up a notch, baby, that’s why.

You all remember the last two playoff series between these two teams. Remember the Lakers surprise of 3 wins to 1 over the Suns a couple of years ago, then their collapse in game 7? How about the Raja bell “clothesline?” I recently heard that Raja’s move has been adopted into Kimbo Slice’s daily sparring routine.

Tank Abbot vouches for it.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, (or in Fargo), you know about the Shaq vs. Kobe debate. You know; the one that says that Kobe was the one who got Dr. Buss to get rid of Shaquille “Big Toe” O’Neal, and that Kobe can’t win a championship without him.

Bah! Let’s just see about that!

You say you want more? Okay. The “The Saw-Shaq-Redemption” returns to the game of basketball against his former rival and teammate while playing for a team that has ousted the Lakers from the playoffs the last two years; AND the Lakers are playing for home-court! If the Lakers defeat the Suns tomorrow, they win the series 3 -1. So if they meet in the playoffs, guess who is going to have the advantage of home court (If you don’t know the answer to that, I’m sure someone on the message boards will assist you)?

And then think about the injuries. It has been quite a while since “The Diesel” has played after injuring his hip on a dive for the ball against the Utah Jazz on December 22nd. He did come back on January 16th, but then went down again five days later for a good long time. His hip was swollen and feeling more crippled then Timmy from South Park.

“Timmah!”

At the same time, our own number 24 is nursing a flaccid digit that might cause him serious damage in the long term if he doesn’t get surgery. So far he has opted to play for the Finals and the USA Team but what after that? It has been reported that if he does this, he runs the risk of ruining his finger for ever. Geesh!

What is going on with the Lakers? It’s like EA Sports put the entire team on the cover of Madden 2008! Bynum, Ariza, Mihm (since ’05), Luuuuuke, and now Kobe. Someone please ask a “power that be” if we can have a break please?

So tomorrow’s big questions are: Will “The Big Hip” be effective in a fast paced, “Run N’ Gun” system? We have all watched “Shaq-Fu” over the years and we know that he does NOT like to run. Will Kobe be quick enough to move his finger as all the Suns players’ swipe at it? I don’t know. So let’s get to the strategies already!?

(Oh by the way, I’m trying to break the record for the most “Shaq-isms” in an article. I believe Bill Simmons has the current record with 135 or so)

Da’ Gameplans:

What the Suns will want to do: On offense the Suns want to try out their new “Shaq-centered” (I’ll count that one) offense. Using ball movement, outside shooting, and Nash driving and dishing to get “The Big Fella” integrated. O’Neal says he has 10 plays memorized, but I don’t think that will matter knowing that a lot of the time, Nash just pushes the ball up the floor and dishes a dime before the defense has been set. One thing to look for is Amare Stoudemire. He was a beast at center. But now that he can play at the 4, look for him to absolutely over power Lamar Odom. This will be a key.

On Defense, well, the Suns have never been known to have defense, however, this might be a point of change now that they have the “Shaq-a-delic” one to clog the middle. I think the Suns will try to force Kobe and the Lakers into a jump shooting team, then defend the perimeter in order to get them to force up treys. And we all know what that means; fast break points while Shaq waits on the Lakers side of the court. (Just like old times!)

What the Lakers will want to do: On offense, the Lakers will use Gasol’s quickness and shooting ability to move “The Big Confucius” out of the key, freeing up points in the paint and possibly getting O’Neal in foul trouble early. Look for Kobe to attack and dish, possibly preserving his pinky. Above all, look for the Lakers to pass the ball. Kurt Rambis, Lakers assistant coach was asked how a fan could tell if the Lakers were using the triangle right. Kurt answered, “When you see them passing the ball, that’s when they are using the triangle right. When they don’t pass, the triangle breaks down, and then we are in trouble.”

On Defense, look for P-Jax to employ the same strategy he always does against the Suns; force Nash into a scorer. Yeah, it’s that simple… What?!

Starters:

Suns: Steve Nash / Raja Bell / Amare Stoudemire / Grant Hill / “Shaq-a-lacka” (this counts too!)

Lakers: Derek Fisher / Kobe Bryant / Vlad “Rad” / Lamar Odom / Pau Gasol

Key Match-Ups:

Pau Gasol vs. Shaq “Big Aristotle” O’Neal

Steve Nash vs. Derek Fisher

Amber’s Game Prediction: Lakers!

Mack’s Game Prediction: Shaq “Kazaam” O’Neal will get to the Laker’s side of the court TWICE. Lakers Win!

Next 3 games: @ Clippers, @ Sonics, Blazers

Game Preview Questions for Discussion:

1. Can Shaq be effective in the Suns offense?
2. How will Amare adjust to his new role with Shaq in the lineup?

Extra Credit: Let’s see how many “Shaq-isms” we can come up with? I’ve started you all off with 14.

Game Time: 6:00 PM Lakers Standard Time

Local Broadcast: KCAL HD

National Broadcast: ESPN Score

Radio: KLAC & KWKW

  • Jason

    diesal

  • as1084

    yea im looking at a lakers win tomorrow as well. not only is tomorrow’s game the first game for the suns since the all-star break but it also is the first game with shaq in the lineup. expect a lot of turnovers and confusion on the suns part and a huffing and puffing shaq running up and down the court. as for the lakers, by blowing out the hawks last night, they recaptured their chemistry and are rolling into phoenix with confidence and momentum. GO LAKERS!

  • Keep Odom

    There goes the Suns free throw percentage!

  • Swiggle

    I really wish Bynum was playing today. Still going to be awesome. I will be at the game since I live in AZ. It’s usually pretty hard for me to keep my cool around the moronic Suns fans. Probably going to be even harder now that they have Shaq. Hopefully the Lakers can just make it easy on me and take care of business. Listen for the LOUDEST PERSON THERE. That’ll be me….

    Go Lakers

  • lakerfan81

    My guess is that the Lakers have a heavy diet of Gasol in this game against Shaq. Shaq gets into foul trouble and plays about 20-25 minutes. The key match up will be Odom Vs. Amare. Amare should be able to take Odom in the post (though Odom is not a bad post defender). If Odom can force Amare to be a jump shooter then we should win.

  • DingleBerry

    I say we go to the hack-o-snack. i can see the big-ejacolator going 5 for 25 at the line with a big smirk on pj’s face…

  • Lakers4Life

    The key is definitely Lamar tonight! I will be watching closely.

  • ECJ

    This is a must win game for the Lakers. Home court advantage is huge in such a tight conference. Shaq will come out agressive to start and will get himself in foul trouble early. Gasol is too quick for him so he’ll make some dumb fouls early. He’ll play enough time to make some crowd-fooling dunks and he’ll be a non-factor the rest of the way.

    The Lakers must keep it together and play the right way. Pau and Odom are going to have to be huge for us to win. Keepiong Stoudamire and the Big Cactus in check will be a lot of work.

  • gugy

    Let’s kick diesel old fat butt!
    alongside Nash, Amare, Bell and D’antoni arrogance.

  • http://www.themonstore.com derrick

    definitely a must win

    can odom guard amare?

  • CJ

    I think we will see that the so-called “MDE”–“Most Dominant Ever”, is not really so dominant anymore!!

  • MIKE SANDERS

    Pau Gasol must stay out of foul trouble. Watch for Shaq to try an exploit Gasol’s lack of strength on the defensive end. If Pau plays smart on that end of the floor we should win.

  • DCLAKER

    I’m going to for the 1st time give Phoenix some respect…….YOU SUCK,there Phoenix fans are you satisfied.I’m so sick of this Kobe vs. Shaq CRAP that i’m about to THROW UP ON THE WHOLE STATE OF ARIZONA(EXCEPT FOR ALL THE LAKER FANS OUT THERE).The media seems to think by bringin’ up old news that KB/SHAQ not liking each other and all adds some sort of edge to the game,well,here at LAKERNATION WE DON’T GIVE A !@#$ ABOUT ALL THAT. Lakers are focused on WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP OR ‘SHIPS FOR YEARS TO COME,what are The Suns focused on…..THE LAKERS and that’s why AND I REPEAT,THAT’S WHY THEY WILL NEEEEEEEEEEEEVER WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP(unless they the refs cheat for them)AND YOU CAN WRITE IT DOWN,TAKE A PICTURE,WHATEVER. LAKERSAREBACK.com IN FULL EFFECT!!!

  • http://lakers.topbuzz.com Lakers2410

    Hm…uh…after hearing that Odom is going to have to go against Amare…I’m pretty scared now! Amare is way too strong for Odom, that’s why I keep saying for Odom to get stronger just in case one of these incidents happaen again, and to prevent him from getting so banged up by big men that he’ll get injured! But if we can force Nash to be a scorer, run the Triangle to perfection, and play in a slow tempo to slow the Suns to stop them from getting fast-breaks, then we’ll win!

  • ryc3

    I BELIEVE THAT WE SMASH THE PHOENX SUNS TONITE. THEY DONT HAVE A CHANCE TO HANG WITH OUR SQUAD TONIGHT. SHAQ-PAC IS GONA LOOSE HIS BREATH TRYIN TO THROW THE BALL IN BOUND. WE WILL MAKE A STATEMENT TONIGHT AND KOBE WILL HAVE ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING GAMES WHILE BEING INJURED

  • DCLAKER

    Remember Lakers2410,Amare doesn’t play good defense and Phoenix has NO BENCH,Shaq is not the DOMINANT CENTER HE ONCE WAS(The key word being “was”)and…..what else….OH!The Suns are a fake imitation of LAKEZILLA(AB/LO/PG,THE TOWERS),ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT.The Suns were better with Marion but sold there chances of EVER winning a Championship by trading him to Miami,they’ll regret that in the long run,which shows how desperate they are,BY COPYING WHAT “THE KING OF LA,MITCH” did by getting PAU!PAU!PAU! I’m not going to worry about LO this game against Amare because the one thing WE ALL KNOW ABOUT LO IS HE LOOOOVES TO BRING HIS “A” GAME TO PHOENIX,BAD NEWS FOR THE SUNS. LAKERNATIONWANTSTHERINGSBACKHOME.com,YA’HEARD!!!!

  • MILO

    The Lakers own Phony no doubt about it!!!

  • Rasarx

    It would be interesting to observe if Shaq does anything out of the ordinary, because his normal self is prone to early fouls, especially with active centers. But should the out of the ordinary happens and it is Gasol who gets into foul trouble, I’d put Turiaf on him, since Turiaf is one tough, fearless dude. He’s like a smaller version of Ben Wallace who can actually score.

  • pjt

    Shaq will always be a Laker, however tonight it’s war…and we have the ultimate warrior…

  • http://lakers.topbuzz.com Lakers2410

    I guess you’re right DCLAKER, let’s just hope you “are” right!

  • pjt

    Also Hey Suns we had Shaq in his prime….you have him…well let’s just say sloppy 2nds…Let’s get it on…

  • KONG!

    This game means nothing; win or lose. Just an over-hyped bball game.

    The Lakers are much more than the Suns now, it’s foolish to bring ourselves down to their level. We are eyeing a Championship Banner while the suns are just trying to win home-court advantage.

    WE DON’T NEED HOME-COURT LAKERSNATION! WE CAN BEAT ANYTEAM, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!

    Suns, even if you win this game we won’t be mad. We’ll still save you some NBA Finals court-side seats next to J. Nix

  • 187 ON BOSTON

    THROW IT DOWN FAT A$$ THROW IT DOWN

  • LakeShowtime

    The Big Ache, The Big Donut, The Big Non-Factor, The Big Chronic Pain, will be a Big No-Show, it is to our advantage that they play the post, that will leave us playing to a half court game something the suns can’t even do because they will see the shot clock at 10 instead of 20 and freak out what to do with those 10 seconds left…..

  • Tim

    i think we just need to play good D and we’ll be fine, our offense is fine

  • AnthonY MusiQ

    all I know is… it’z going to be a beautiful Sunset in Pheonix tonight… Go Lakers!

  • Brett

    Is anyone else a GAS-OL-HOLIC?

  • erv

    Theres Rumors That Eddy Curry,and mayb jared jeffries will get traded to miami,new jersey sends vince carter to new york,and new jersey gets jason williams and ricky davis.

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/features/traderesult?players=136~990~1717~193~933&teams=18~14~14~17~17&te=&cash=

  • 24allup inya

    AnthonY MusiQ,
    que tipo de comentarios son esos???Eres un pinche joto, no tienes nada que aportar en este sitio mas que tus pinches jotadas.Mejor sal para afuera y busca un arco iris pinche desperdicio humano.Deja de robarle el aire a la gente servible en el mundo y muerete pendejo…

  • Phant0M

    GO LAKKKERRZZZ

  • somelakerfan1

    just wish ariza and bymun were here tonight playing. but wen playoffs come it will be even greater.

  • Jack Nicholas

    Shaq is gonna have a triple-double:

    10 min – 10 turnovers – 10 fouls

  • Phant0M

    were u @ the game?

  • DCLAKER

    KONG,I think comments totally destroy mine. It really is an OVER-HYPED game that only means something as far as pride for The Suns. The pressure is not on The Lakers to WIN-IT-ALL this year anyway and to “Brett” HELL YEAH I’M A GAS-OL-HOLIC!!! MITCHISKINGOFLA.com,FO’REAL.

  • Rasarx

    Barring injuries, the Lakers are in a no-lose situation tonight. If they win tonight that will be a monumental statement. If they lose that won’t be much of a feat for Phoenix to have beaten a team that:

    – has 2 starters and 1 reserve out with serious injuries
    – has 1 starter playing despite a major injury
    – is playing on the road
    – played a game the night before.

    All the while Phoenix is playing at home at full strength with no injuries having been well rested for almost a week.

  • Rasarx

    An observation:

    Phoenix traded a player at his peak for a has-been.

    LA traded a never-been for a player at his peak.

    The two teams were within a couple of games of each other before the trade.

    As for the other biggies that everyone talks about:

    San Antonio was old and is still old. I hear some of their players are already eligible for social security.

    Dallas was not old so they went out and dumped their youth and size to get old and small? They kept Deavon George so you can add “stale” to their state also. How did Cuban got so rich with a brain like that?

    Some times when you give up the future for the present, you might not even get the present.

    Despite all the attention that the media gives to SA and Dallas, we should be worried about the up and coming teams. Come May I think there is an increasing chance that instead of those two we might be seeing the likes of Utah, N.O., or even Golden State, Houston and Portland. None of those improving teams made bone-headed moves.

    I like our prospects.

  • gugy

    Well said Rasarx.

    I am pumped for tonight’s game.
    I really want to see the Lakers kill the Suns and put the seed of doubt on their fans and management. That would be sweet.

  • DCLAKER

    Rasarx,I like the part about ‘giving up your future for the present’ and then you ended off beautifully by saying ‘YOU MIGHT NOT GET THE PRESENT'(It took me a minute to get it but I DID).

  • Phant0M

    [Comment ID #26886 Will Be Quoted Here]

    You need to be one of our editorial writers :D

  • Shakobe22

    I say it’s time for the big aristotle to put down the pencil haha
    RETIRE ALREADY!!

  • http://www.mr47.com mr47

    Damn today is a tough one to call. I mean Amare against Odom doesn’t sound good to me. I saw how Dwight Howard was being physical on Gasol and Shaq “It takes a trade to make me play a couple seasons” (that one counts too) O’Neal is bigger. I know Gasol got Dwight in foul trouble, but the potential for Shaq to abuse him is there.

    So Shaq’s been injured, probably not conditioned, and he’s now part of the “Organized Chaos” crew. Yeah right.

  • Rasarx

    [Comment ID #26891 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Phoenix claims their trainers perform magic on their injured players and get them back into shape quickly in a way other teams can’t. That, plus their light work-outs instead of other teams full work-outs, they claim, gives them an edge (and not HGH, we hope).

  • killo