The Los Angeles Lakers came up short in game three and took a loss. It was their first playoff loss in about month. It doesn’t change the fact that the Phoenix Suns have the unenviable task of winning three of the next four games to advance to the NBA Finals; the Lakers won’t allow that to happen.
Several thoughts have arisen to explain the loss, such as shooting way too many three point shots, the zone defense played by the Suns, Lamar Odom pulling a disappearing act. and the big players getting into foul trouble. All are valid reasons for the loss, but what about defensive intensity?
I’ll give credit to the Suns for showing something new with the zone defense. However, I’m not buying the talk that they actually played some serious defense. The Lakers lost because of a lack of execution as well as no defensive intensity. A few things happened in game three that should not have occurred, the Lakers post players were not aggressive enough in establishing position in the painted area and made several ill-advised passes that resulted in way too many turnovers. I have faith that the Los Angeles Lakers will learn from their mistakes, make the necessary adjustments and get back on track with a win tonight.
It is imperative that the Lakers front line play aggressive on both ends of the court. Specifically, I want to see the front line of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom aggressively establish position in the low post. The guards need to control the basketball and make accurate passes into the post.
The Lakers will win this game by controlling the tempo and making game four a half-court game. They have to trust their triangle offense, it provides a solution for any defensive tactic. They have beaten the Suns in five of the seven played this season because they exploited the size advantage and executed their offense. It might sound simplistic, but focusing on proper execution will be the difference in the game.
The Lakers will re-focus and control the painted area and the glass In game three the Suns were beneficiaries of big nights from Amare Stoudemire and Robin Lopez. I want to welcome Amare to the Western Conference Finals; I heard that he was playing. I doubt we’ll see a repeat performance from both.
During every Laker win, the team was patient on offense, moved the ball to find a high percentage shot going to the basket and did not rely on jump shots. That mentality needs to return.
The reserves have been doing a solid job so far and that needs to continue. The Lakers will probably only get 20-25 minutes from Bynum and should go to him early. I’m expecting Kobe and Pau to set the tone for the evening with the rest of the team to follow. The message tonight will be a familiar one; you had your fun and now it’s our turn to put you back in your place.
Tip-off: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: TNT
- Phoenix: TNT
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Phoenix: KTAR 620 AM (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
- Ron Artest (Left Heel Bruise/Sprained Left Thumb)
- Shannon Brown (Sprained Right Thumb)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture, Right Index Finger)
- Andrew Bynum (Small Tear in the Meniscus of his Right Knee)
- Sasha Vujacic (Severely Sprained Left Ankle) Doubtful
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back) Probable
- D.J. Mbenga ( Retinal Surgery, Left Eye) Probable
- Robin Lopez (Back)
- Steve Nash (Broken Nose)