Suns/Lakers Preview: When the Lakers have the ball

Kurt —  April 22, 2007

Last year, during the first four games of the Lakers/Suns playoff series, Kobe was the distributor, Kwame was finishing at the hoop, Odom was toying with Marion and the Lakers took a 3-1 series lead.

The blueprint for the Lakers hasn’t changed on offense, however with Amare Stoudemire patrolling the paint, and Kurt Thomas and not Tim Thomas, it’s going to be a lot harder.

This is one series where the offense really does impact the defense, there are things the Lakers can do on offense to slow the vaunted Suns fast break. One is making shots (although the Suns run well after a make).

The Suns have a mantra of taking a shot in the first seven seconds of the shot clock, the Lakers need to reverse that and try to take a shot late in the clock. They need to be deliberate; they need to slow the pace. The other way to do that is for Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom and the rest of crash the boards — if Marion and Stoudemire have to worry about rebounds they will be slower to get up the court.

The next big thing for the Lakers to do is something friend of the site Nate Jones talked about at Fanhouse — exploit the matchups. For the Lakers, that will be Lamar Odom covered by Shawn Marion. In last season’s matchup the Lakers used this one to their advantage, Odom was too much for Marion in the post. That hasn’t changed, and the four was the weakest spot defensively for the Suns this year, with opposing fours shooting 51.4% this season.

Posting up the Suns was something the Lakers did well last year, but that was before Stoudemire. Still, they need to try this, particularly posting up Nash when Smush Parker and Sasha Vujacic are in the game.

What the Lakers cannot do for seven games is count on Kobe to carry too much of the load — he can steal one game but not a series. Raja Bell plays Kobe one-and-one as well as just about anyone, he can’t shut him down but he can make him less efficient.

Because of that the Lakers need to see Kobe the distributor, then the other Lakers have to step up, they have to be efficient. It can be Luke Walton one night, Lamar Odom another, Maurice Evans another. But others have to step up, Kobe’s 50 has not beaten the Suns consistently in the past and it won’t again.

to Suns/Lakers Preview: When the Lakers have the ball

  1. If these were the same Lakers from last year, the deferring role would work, but these are the pussywhipped variant of last year’s Lakers. Kobe will most likely have to erupt for 40+ just to keep us in the series, just like he kept us from getting kicked out of the playoffs by the poor play of these coddled jackasses on the team.


  2. I think you mentioned another wild card that’s going for us…

    Maurice Evans

    I’m not saying he can swing the series to our side but I guess his play is something that we didn’t have in last year’s series he is one of those not so small guys who can run and finish and perhaps has enough of a combination of strength and speed to defend…

    Oh yeah, here’s hoping that Vladimir Radmanovic’s outside shooting could help in drawing out either kurt thomas or amare so that we could get inside a bit easier.

    although Im not sure how well his defense holds against a running offense


  3. Great post Kurt, two other quick things to look for

    1. The Walton-Diaw matchup. These are the two x-factor type guys (outside of Barbosa) in the series, and since Marion and Odom will probably be matched up against eachother, they will be going at it. Walton has to make his jumper to keep our floor spacing proper.

    2. Offenseive fouls on us. The suns are the best (floppers) at drawing a charge and that’s how they compensate some for their terrible d.


  4. I do not remember ever seeing Sasha in the post nor do I want to. I would like to see a big back court of Evans and Bryant in small doses, Nash blows by our pointguards anyway.


  5. Tony, Sasha played Nash better than any of our other guards the last time we played them, and he was 8-12 from the 3pt line last playoffs. He’s not the best player, but he should get 15 mins+ a game this series, he may be our best defender of Nash.


  6. Does anyone think that Phil will go with Shammond or Evans at the backup pointguard over Farmar today and throughout the playoffs for more experience.


  7. Danny, I’m not sure how much Shammond we’ll see (I think Sasha will get more minutes), but we will see a lot Mo. At least I hope so.