Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Kurt —  April 8, 2007

I’m excited to watch some television today. The Sopranos and Entourage are back tonight — I may or may not feel good after watching the Lakers today, but I know I will have fun watching those two shows. And, that means dinner tonight at our house before the Sorpano’s — baked ziti.

How to beat the Suns. It’s going to take a big effort at both end of the court. And, unlike the last three games, it will take 48 minutes of effort.

Let’s start on the offensive end, where we’ve seen the Lakers have success. The style of the Suns is to get you into a perimeter, up-tempo game. When the Lakers have had success they have done the opposite — be deliberate on offense and pound the ball inside. Kwame being back would be helpful, but whether he is or isn’t Bynum needs to show up for this game (unlike in Seattle). Posting up Odom, Kobe, Smush, basically anyone is a good idea.

On defense, well the smart blog The Painted Area had a great breakdown of what you want to do against the Suns — and how San Antonio did it (via True Hoop).

San Antonio chased the Phoenix shooters off the (three point) line, and forced them into long-jumpers off the dribble. Again, here at the Paint Area we have put forth the concept that you want the Suns taking 2-pointers as much as possible. Give them looks in the 8 foot to 21 foot range as much as possible. Even if you have to sacrifice some easy looks in 2-point range, just get them off the 3pt. line. (The Spurs) did this to perfection. And when the Suns tried to get rolls to the basket off the pick/roll, the Spurs’ help on the backline was superb & nearly there every play to either impede Amare, Nash or Marion. The Spurs always seemed to have 2-3 guys waiting in the lane when any Sun tried to attack the rim. Bell & Barbosa were taking mid-range jumpers off the dribble, & Diaw was taking long jumpers–exactly what you want. The Spurs defensive rotations were perfect on basically every possession.

The real question. Can the Lakers do that for 48 minutes? They have played somee of their better games against the Suns. As I said before I think part of that is due to familiarity — they got to know the Suns play very well last year in the playoffs, they know what they have to do better than most teams, where to push guys on defense or where to attack on offense. Knowing what to do is one thing, the question today is exectution.

A few player notes:
Smush is getting the start tonight (Phil told thhe LA Times that). The real question is, who plays in crunch time?

Kwame will be a game time decsion. Whether he does or doesn’t play — and espescially if he doesn’t — Bynum needs to step up, particularly on the defensive end. He has been a non-factor the last couple games (worse than that against Kaman, who torched him).

Radmanovic is expected back Thursday, against the Clippers.