Make no mistake, the playoffs don’t lie; the four best teams in the NBA are battling. The cream does rise to the top. It’s no mystery what two teams are on a collision course to meet in the Finals. A match-up the Lakers Nation has waited two years for.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in Phoenix, Arizona to take care of some unfinished business.
The Purple and Gold completely dominated the first two games of the series. This outcome is exactly what the Lakers Nation expected. The Lakers impressively dismantled the Suns by scoring 252 points, Kobe Bryant destroying them in every way possible, and their bigs (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom) shooting a highly efficient 66.6 (!!!) percent from the field.
Despite the known fact of the Lakers size advantage, the team’s performance has been nothing short of outstanding. This isn’t the time for the Lakers to get complacent. They held the homecourt advantage in the first two games. However, I believe that they will play with more intensity and a heightened sense of urgency more than enough to end this series early.
The Suns have literally hit the wall or should I say the trees and are out of options. They are like a boxer whose taken way too many blows and is being battered on the ropes with the outcome already decided. They aren’t going to wave the white flag in surrender even though it is in order.
If this series were an episode of the video game Mortal Kombat, the Lakers would hear the ‘FINISH THEM!’ command right about now. They have the momentum right now and are prepared to win tonight and take total control of this series. In several cases, the outcome of playoff series come down to match up’s and adjustments.
The Suns will attempt to pull a rabbit out of their hats and make a few adjustments, but unless said hat has two big players, some team defense, and have their stars play like their still in it, or this series is over.
I highly expect the Suns to play better in front of their home crowd. The Lakers will have to match the intensity of the Suns. They will approach tonight’s game as a closeout game. The Lakers will be ready for the Suns who will be attempting to double-team Kobe to get the ball out of his hands.
The Lakers will be ready for the Suns attempts to have Steve Nash increase his scoring output. The Lakers will be ready for Amare Stoudemire attempting to play like a star, even though it has yet to be seen. He has amassed a total of four rebounds and has looked more like a thespian on defense so far.
The Lakers will continue to establish Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in the low post. The Suns will continue to not have an answer for this tactic or the defense to stop it. The Lakers recipe for success remains the same, dominate the paint, control the boards, use excellent ball movement, and excellent player movement for high percentage shots attacking the basket.
The Lakers have to continue to defend the Suns screen and roll action plays and not allow Jared Dudley and Channing Frye to spread the floor with their shooting behind the arc. The Lakers need to control the ball to eliminate turnovers. Lock up Grant Hill and Jason Richardson to limit their impact.
The Lakers bench has played well, but needs to work on consistency to be able to be counted on. The Lakers will win tonight and send this message out to the world “we’re here, we’re ready to defend what’s ours and we will not be denied”.