The playoffs are about adjustments. In the regular season, the daily grind and travel makes altering your basic strategy from night-to-night difficult, the changes you do make tend to be minor tweaks. That gives a team like Phoenix, with itâ€™s very different style than everyone else, and advantage. Then, add to it that three of the four games the Lakers had against the Suns this season were back-to-backs and basically they went in and hoped the triangle would top the run-and-gun.
But in the playoffs, there is time to focus, time to make changes. Phil Jackson has won that battle so far, slowing the pace and taking the Suns out of their game. The ball is now in Mike Dâ€™Antoniâ€™s court, and here are a few guesses as to what we might see tonight.
â€¢ To quote Christopher Cross (for the first and only time ever on this blog) â€” run like the wind. Dâ€™Antoni focuses on this in his comments in the LA Times. They have to up the tempo, even if that means taking a less-than-ideal shot on their own end just to get one off quickly. Ideally, better defense from the Suns would create turnovers and misses that can lead to breaks.
â€¢ Faster doubles on Odom in the post. He has had the upper hand against Marion, so look for fast help. The goal is not only to limit scoring but also to make Kwame â€” who has played well but is prone to turnovers â€” the primary option on the block.
â€¢ Stop looking for the kickout three and go to the rim hard. The Lakers have defended the perimeter well (for the most part) so look for the Suns to do what they can inside.
Off topic for just a second: I watched the local broadcast, not the TNT one, of game 2, but great bit from Suns fan at The End of the Bench blog from that broadcast:
Doug Collins: â€œThis MVP has got heart. Iâ€™d go into a foxhole with him any day.â€ Anyone want to bet that if Doug Collins stepped into Steve Nashâ€™s foxhole, Nash would say, â€œWhat the hell are you doing in my foxhole?â€
Let the commenting-in-game begin. Being a Friday and all I figure more of you than usual will be watching this game at a bar, but weâ€™ll keep the comment couch open anyway (bedsideâ€™s weâ€™re 1-0 with this thread, you think Iâ€™m going to jinx it?).