â€œSomething has gotten into himâ€: Phil has anointed Kwame as the Golden Child in this series. A â€œfeatured playerâ€, if you will. This could have a couple of corollary effects. One making Kwame aware that Phil values him. The master manipulator has by this time learned to nurture Kwameâ€™s fragile self perception. Phil wants confident Kwame to show up today, not timid Kwame. Also, in true Spin master style, he could be sending a message to employee number 8. Harness his fierce competitiveness and will to win, so that it doesnâ€™t consume the team concept. Kobe will be looking to make some folks eat crow in these playoffs, especially against the guy that might be going home with his MVP trophy.
Not bird nor plane nor even frog, just plain old me, Underdog: So who is it? Every prediction from Suns in 4 to Lakers in 6 has been written. My underdogs are Phoenixâ€™s playing style, Smushâ€™s shot, Raja Bellâ€™s perimeter D, and anyone off the Laker bench.
No. 7 beating No. 2 in NBA history:
A Ewing-less New York def. Miami, 3-2, 1998 Eastern Conference first round
Rookie Tim Hardaway and Dinka tribesman Manute Bol-led Golden State def. Utah, 3-0, 1989 Western Conference first round
The Run-TMC Golden State Warriors def. San Antonio, 3-1,1991 Western Conference first round
Dallas won the first game 151-129. Seattle def. Dallas, 3-1, 1987 Western Conference first round
Michael Cooper, a champion again: The D league champion that is.
Former Laker Draft pick Marcus Douthit: 11 points, 15 rebounds.
Ex-Laker Tierre Brown: 21 points, 10 assists.
Current Laker Von Wafer: 7 minutes, 5 shots,4 points.
Bulletin Board Material:
Steve Nash on being guarded by Kobe: “That’s great. It would be a great challenge. He can do as good a job as anybody, but I’ve seemed to survive so far.”
Phil Jackson: “I think we have the experience in the key spots to do it. I think that Phoenix is a team that’s perhaps not as strong as they were last year and I think once we adjust to what they provide or present to us as an opponent every night, we can start gathering them in. But that’s yet to be seen. That’s just our belief.”
A potty-mouthed Hubie Brown: “Last year was miraculous. This year is a testimony to the style. Our society is negative, so we don’t want to give credence to that. The fact that you’ve done this without Thomas and Stoudemire was questionable to begin with. What the (expletive) is anybody complaining about? Are they crazy?”
Smush Parker: “There’s definitely going to be an upset. The Lakers will beat Phoenix. We just feel confident going up against Phoenix. We know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got Chris Mihm back. Kwame’s playing the best basketball he has all season. We just feel good going into this series. We just have confidence in ourselves.”
Tri-tricks: If you haven’t listened to Kurt on the Basketball Jones Western Conference preview, check it out. (Link Below) Kurt makes some great points about how the Lakers can have some success. (Smush must have a “tremendous series” and the inside out game is a must to keep the “classic ’80′s” Suns team from leaking out) He also touches on something we all have pondered. What are the wrinkles that Phil will employ to keep the Suns off balance?
Add the LA Daily News to the list of beat writers turned bloggers.
The upcoming draft: Lakers will have the 26th and 51st picks.