The Lakers used a second half comeback to knock off the pesky Houston Rockets on ring night while the Suns were pounded on the boards, lost the rebounding battle and game to the Blazers at the Rose Garden in their season opener. However, the Suns bounced back with a 16-point win over the Jazz in Utah.
Tonight’s game is the home opener for the Suns. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but five months and 12 days ago the Suns extended the Western Conference Finals to six games before the Lakers made them understand that 2010 wasn’t going to be their year.
The Suns and the Phoenix faithful will ‘get up’ for this game against the two-time defending champions; the Lakers always receive an opponent’s best effort. This game will be a hard fought and entertaining grudge match.
The Suns put up a good fight in the playoffs, but a turning point in the series had to be the theatrics of talented Suns guard / thespian Goran Dragic. Proving that Sasha Vujacic either has the strongest bicep in the Western Conference or that Dragic put on an act and the officials bought it.
The Suns are a different team without All-Star Amare Stoudamire attacking the basket upon receiving a perfectly placed pass. Amare took his talents to New York. Phoenix will replace his production by committee. They will use free agent addition Hedo Turkoglu at power forward. However his role will change, again.
He was a point forward for the Orlando Magic and one of the main reasons that team made it to the 2009 Finals. He seemed out of position and simply didn’t work out in Toronto. Normally a shooter in the screen and roll game; he will be asked to roll to the basket more. Hakim Warrick was brought in to produce at the four spot.
The Suns still have perennial All-Star Steve Nash making them one of the best teams in the West. The Suns are an uptempo team that wants to run. In the half-court offense the Suns run several high and low screen and roll plays to attack the basket or free spot up shooters. L.A. needs to own the boards, slow the game down and play at their pace, get back in transition, play solid screen and roll defense.
The Lakers bench will be huge for them and provides the necessary match the Suns. Steve Blake is an excellent fit for the Lakers as a penetrating guard, floor leader and outside shooting.
The Suns like to spread the floor with their three point shooters. The Phoenix Suns have seven players that can knock down three point shots. Last season the Suns were the number one scoring and number one shooting team.
The Suns were the second best three-point shooting team in NBA history at 41.2 percent. The Suns were 25-8 when making 10 or more three-point shots. Solid numbers, but unfortunately for them they had to face the Lakers; the team that lead the league in defending the three and limited opponents to .328 percent.
The Suns are a small team that doesn’t match up well with the Lakers. The Purple and Gold will pound the Suns in the middle using their size advantage. They will be running their offense through Pau Gasol and asking him to be more aggressive. There is a chance that we’ll see both Ron Artest and Matt Barnes logging minutes at Power Forward.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 & ESPN (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Phoenix: My45 KUTP(Gary Bender & Eddie Johnson)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Phoenix: KTAR 620 AM (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
- Luke Walton (Hamstring)
- PG Goran Dragic (Sprained Ankle) Listed as Day-to-Day