Letâ€™s talk about the technical stuff the Lakers need to do tonight.
In game three the Lakers started switching on the screen-and-roll the Suns ran, and also did some trapping (having both the center and the guard try to stop Nash from making a play). It worked pretty well for three quarters, as Jackson said Nash either turned his back to the play (the trap) or had an aggressive Odom or Kwame blocking his path.
For game four the Suns made a couple of key adjustments: 1) they pushed the tempo of the play up so the Lakers had to make their decisions faster; 2) they started â€œslippingâ€ the pick-and-roll, meaning Amare (or Marion) faked setting a screen and then quickly slipped behind the defender to accept the pass. The Lakers would both be ready to trap but then there was no pick and the â€œpickerâ€ was running free. Often for a dunk.
Kwame a. did a nice job laying out the Laker options:
1. Continue to try to trap the screen and roll. They primarily utilize the Nash/Marion or Nash/Stoudemire screen roll. This leaves our sf or Kobe as the weakside perimeter help, and our center on the block. Last game when we tried to trap the screener rolled to the hoop, the c had to help, dunks ensued. To adjust the Lakers can have the perimeter player on the weakside sag into the pain to allow our c to rotate to the screener who slips the screen. This would still lead to some scrambling, and would open up the 3 ball for them, not sure if thatâ€™s the best thing for us.
2. Go back to switching the screen. This would probably be best for Lamar when heâ€™s involved, maybe even Ronny, but not good for Bynum, Kwame or Cook.
3. Mix up our Defenses. We should trap when our Center is involved in the play and make sure we are disciplined in our rotations. When Lamar is involved we should switch.
As we have said before, a key part of the Laker defense is on offense. The Lakers must get the ball in the paint, they must pound the offensive boards hard. They must make the Suns pack in on defense some rather than be spread out and ready to run. And, the Lakers must hit a high percentage of shots.
The Lakers may have a new starting point guard (Shammond?). But really, what matters is the energy the Lakers play with, the intensity and the passion. And Iâ€™ll throw in execution. If the Lakers canâ€™t bring 48 minutes of high intensity play tonight, I donâ€™t know what to say. Win or start scheduling all those off-season surgeries.