In Praise Of The Bench

Darius Soriano —  May 18, 2010

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Coming into the WCF, few would have argued that the Suns bench was a much better group than the Lakers bench. And while one game does not make a season nor does it erase the poor play that has been littered throughout this years’ campaign, the Lakers bench came to play last night and it was a major key in the rout of the Suns. The Lakers bench out scored, out rebounded, out assisted, and had fewer turnovers than the highly praised bench of the Suns. After the game, Shannon Brown admitted that the constant reminder of the Suns’ superior second unit served as motivation for the Lakers reserves and they came into game 1 wanting to show that they had some game as well. Mission accomplished.

I know what everyone is thinking (I know, because I can read minds) – “this group doesn’t deserve recognition after one good game”.  And that sentiment is correct.  So, I decided to look into the stats for these guys and compare those numbers with how I recall them playing for the past several games and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s been more than just one game.  The bench has actually been playing decent to very good ball for a little while now.

I mean, did you realize that dating back to game 5 of the OKC series (7 games) Jordan Farmar has made 9 of his last 16 three point attempts (56%)?  That in that same period he’s only had 4 turnovers in comparison to 11 assists?  That for the playoffs he’s 8-11 from the foul line (73%) which is up from his regular season mark of 67%.  I know these aren’t dynamic numbers and that the sample size is small, but for a player that we’ve skewered for his forcing of the action, he’s played relatively under control recently and is doing most of the things that we ask of him (now if we could see a bit of an improvement on defense).  For the first time in weeks, Farmar actually seems comfortable and focused on the task at hand.  Whether or not this lasts remains to be seen, but for the heat that Jordan has taken (especially from me), I think it should be pointed out that he seems quite intent on helping this team win another title.  And considering his importance to the team, I’m very happy to see him start to raise his level of play.

And what about Shannon?  Since that same game 5 of the OKC series he’s made 6-11 from downtown.  In 4 of his last 6 games he’s shot 50% or better.  His overall play has been markedly improved as he’s been more patient on offense, making the extra pass more often than not.  Plus, he’s back to making those crowd pleasing plays that get the paying customers on their feet and his bench mates excited.  Those are the types of plays that shift momentum and give your team an advantage.  I mean, when he tried to victimize J-Rich, did you see his teammates’ reactions?  Look at the video and look at the crowd; look at Suns’ assistant Dan Majerle look to the jumbo-tron as the teams break for their timeout.  What we’ve seen from Shannon recently is the mix of athleticism and playing within himself that we were hoping for during the regular season.  Simply put playoff Shannon > regular season Shannon.

And then there’s Odom.  Yes it’s taken a bit longer than expected for him to have on of his signature “wow, he’s really good” games.  I know many thought (including me) that this type of game would come versus the Jazz.  But, the fact of the matter is that he had a big game when his team needed it the most.  It will be forgotten when you look at Kobe’s line or just marvel at LO’s box score, but when he came in the game last night the Lakers were losing 20-15.  Then from the time that he entered the game to the end of the first period the Lakers outscored the Suns 20-9 and never looked back.  Odom changed that game last night even more than Kobe’s terrific third quarter did.  Plus, Odom’s been the leader for the Lakers second unit.  He’s been the player that has told his mates that they need to play better.  He’s been the one that has offered criticism of this group so guys like Kobe or Fish or even Phil hasn’t had to say as much.  When you listen to the other guys talk about Odom they all understand how important he is to the team and what he brings to the group to help make them successful.

However, with this praise comes a higher expectation that they will continue this level of play.  We all understand that this series is not over and in order for the Lakers to prevail, the bench will need to continue to pull its weight.  So, with that in mind I hope to see that continued commitment to controlled aggression and the running of our sets.  If Farmar and Shannon can control the game from the back court and not force the action it will go a long way towards winning this series.  They’re likely to continue to be matched up with Dragic and Barbosa and if they can play that Suns duo to a draw they would have more than done their jobs.  And from Odom, I hope to see him continue in his current attack mindset.  Even more so than the Utah series (where he was mostly matched up with Millsap), there is no one in this series that can really guard Odom effectively.  If he’s working off the dribble and then attacking the glass he can be the third most important Laker in this series and be a catalyst for a series win.  Here’s hoping this group keeps up their recent good play.  ‘Cause if they do, the Suns will be hard pressed to win more than a game in this series.

Darius Soriano

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83 responses to In Praise Of The Bench

  1. Ptolemy was right – the Suns are revolving around us!!

  2. J.D. Hastings May 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Even as I try to appreciate the bench Sasha will do something like foul a 3 point shooter with .2 seconds left in the half or Jordan Farmar will try to throw a pass between a defender’s legs while in the air falling out of bounds (Leading me to think “Hey that’s the same pass Lebron tried for his 9th turnover in the final minute of game 6 against the Celtics!”)

    But overall, all our targets through the season have come up pretty big in the playoffs. I don’t know how the bench is able to flip a switch like this, but I’ll take it.

  3. That dunk attempt by Shannon had everyone in the building speechless for a few seconds. All of a sudden he just kind of flew off the ground. He got up so fast and high. It was pretty ridiculous.

    Yeah the bench has been playing more under control since the start of the Jazz series. Shannon even hit a couple of big shots in game four against the Jazz. I expect Odom to continue to play well (not 19 and 19 well, but..). This match up favors him.

    Is it just me or did seem like A’mare took defensive lessons from Brian Cook last night. I know hes a bad defender, but he’s not normally that bad.

  4. Odom had some enormous games in our losing playoff series with the Suns in 06 and 07. Nobody on their squad could handle him and he was regularly getting 15+ boards, from what I remember. That was when they had Marion, too, who is enough of a physical freak that you would think he would be a relatively good person to put on Odom. No dice. I know it’s a lot to expect consistency from LO, but I’m gonna go there and predict that he breaks 15 boards at least three times in the series.

  5. if he breaks 10 board at least 3 times it would be very, very good. if he also scores around 15 ppg it would help our bench a lot. i doubt that 15 boards will be possible just because pau is rebounding well and andrew will also get around 20 minutes each game.

    very happy that sasha is back. he didnt play much last night, but i just love his effort even if he gets to play for short stretches. he is really trying, and it shows.

    boston winning another one tonight…

  6. assuming that the suns get their smeg together on wednesday — better accuracy from 3, better job at closing the middle, more physicality in the paint, maybe a 2-3 zone, etc… and assuming that LO comes out with the same intensity as he did in game 1, I’d like to get y’all’s opinions on what we can do within our offense to continue to maximize the exploitation of our biggest mismatch off the bench, and keep getting LO to deliver these animal-style double-doubles.

  7. Momentum is a funny mistress. Last night there were 3 times where we grabbed the brass bell and the Suns couldn’t recover from that.

    1) Per Darius – When Lamar came in and we took over the game.
    2) When the 2nd Qtr started and our unit didn’t get buried by Phoenix’s 2nd unit – we left them struggling to figure out how they were going to catch our 1st unit.
    3) When Kobe simply closed the door in the middle of the 3rd – the definition of the best closer in the game.

  8. btw – happily the draft going ons tonight don’t affect the Lakers – but anyone interesting that could slip to the second round for the lakers to swoop up?

  9. good points. great post. amazing photo! if odom can take some pressure of bynum (and his knees), he’ll have a little more rest for the finals against either garnett or howard.

  10. 6, it depends. if we’re looking at this draft from position-of-need perspective, i don’t think the Heir to Fisher is to be had. if we’re looking at this draft from a best-player-available perspective, i think the Lakers are in a position to get a talented role player/borderline 1st rounder.

    i really like varnado and jerome randle.

  11. Reading through the mountain of articles today has really reminded me of something: Odom isn’t an X-Factor in this series, he’s pretty much a given.

    Going all the way back to 2006 and 2007, Odom has owned the Suns.

    His eyes had to light up when we drew them as the WCF matchup. Even in our uninspiring exit from the playoffs in 07 he was able to put up 33 points in one game. I expect Odom to continue to give the Suns fits because he’s fast enough to play their game and big enough to be a problem for them.

    And just like last year in the WCF against Denver, LO seems to find that extra gear we all always want him to have when the Finals are within sniffing distance.

    We entered this series with me feeling pretty confident that we’d win in 6. Last night removed almost all doubt for me. I know they won’t all be blow-outs. I know that we wont’ shoot 60% for the entire series, but we can beat this team solidly.

  12. Who does Amare think he is, Phil?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=5199267

    Althouogh Odom gave a classy verbal response, I hope he gives a nastier response in game two.

  13. MICHAEL ZARABI aka ZERB May 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    lakers aren’t a good team … they just got “LUCKY” last night

    thanks amare … maybe youll be lucky enough to clean Odoms rings by the end of the playoffs

  14. For all the worrying pre-playoffs about the Lakers’ 3 point shooting, here’s the playoff 3point % so far:

    Kobe: 39%
    Shannon: 39%
    Lamar: 35%
    Fisher: 42%
    Farmar: 41%

    (we’ll ignore Ron-Ron)

    Not bad guys, keep it up!

  15. If WOW finishes that dunk, that has to go down as one of the great playoff dunks of all time. Too bad.

    I love how Amare couldn’t leave well enough alone. He couldn’t just say, “My bad, I didn’t box him out enough. I’ll do better next game.” No, because that would mean he would have to be accountable to someone. No, instead Lamar just “got lucky”.

    Since LO’s career playoff averages against PHX are 19 and 12 (before last night), I’m going to go out on a limb and say there was no luck involved.

  16. Amare – 3 boards
    Odom – 19 boards. Man, LO is just one lucky guy isn’t he? He managed to get 16 more boards through sheer luck.

    Regarding LO’s overall success against Phx, in the Jack McCallum book where he spent the whole year with Phx and D’Antoni’s SSOL era, the coaches all were concerned about LO. Said he was the one guy they didn’t have a counter. That he could be the difference in not winning. They felt Raja could contain and make Kobe work enough. The rest of the team was no threat.

    Now that Lakers have a more talented team and Phx doesn’t have anyone that could really make Kobe work, LO should thrive even more.

  17. Funky Chicken May 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    That photo is simply amazing, but if you click on the photo you’ll get a page with a few more that are astounding, especially the second shot (taken from behind the backboard) where you can see how close this was to going in, plus Kobe’s reaction is priceless.

  18. It’s funny Amare would say something like that when his team routinely allows Odom to put up HOF numbers in the playoffs.

  19. “I’m not giving him no hype right now”

    Double negative. Amare was actually complimenting him.

  20. BTW, I added a link to the video of Shannon’s dunk attempt to the post. It’s in there. And it’s also here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq8soCn9_kw&feature=player_embedded

  21. On a side note. Am I the only one who saw Vanessa’s “Do I look illegal” shirt and never thought of the Arizona law?

    My reaction to seeing that was wondering if she was making a statement about her looks and being potential jail bait. Never thought it was a political statement, haha!

  22. It’s amazing to me that if you go to any of the Phoenix boards, they’re complaing about the refs.

    Phoenix shot 8 more free throws than LA…and they were on the road…oh, and they lost by 21. Complaining about the refs under those circumstances just makes you look dumb.

    Look, I complain about the refs…but only when it’s a close loss, and opposing team shoots 15 or more free throws than the Lakers (like the Thunder in the first round).

    When a jump shooting team like the Suns shoots more free throws than LA on the road (when LA basically lives in the paint), there is nothing to complain about.

  23. By the way, I’m also having a hard time rationalizing that this is “just one game.”

    This game pretty much played out like all the other games, right?

    The Lakers have significant matchup advantages (chief among them, a coach who has figured out how to contain the Suns’ offense), and those advantages played out as expected.

    I could see Phoenix getting hot from 3, and maybe the Lakers having a bad game…and Phoenix stealing one…

    But how does this series go six games?

    Phoenix can play better…but better enough to close the significant gap that exists?

    Honestly, Utah looked better in Round 2 than Phoenix did last night.

    Utah at least had the scoring threat of Deron Williams. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I’m more scared of Williams and Westbrook than Nash.

    Did Phoenix really play badly last night? They still shot 50% from the field. They probably could have been more accurate from 3pt range…but it’s not like they had a horrible game.

    Of course, the Suns could also be the beneficiaries of a slew of ticky tack perimeter foul calls, taking the Lakers completely out of their game when they’re at home. Stay tuned to see if Bennett Salvatore is reffing Game 3 or Game 4. That could certainly push the series to 6 games.

  24. if SB just spreads his legs, that’s the 2nd best dunk ever behind Vince Carter’s in the Olympics.

    In the end, I think we’ll find the Jazz to be a tougher test than Phoenix.

  25. Anyone else rooting for the Warriors to get the #1 pick? I like their fan base. If not GS, I’m rooting for NJ.

  26. Crap I jinxed them. Horribly. Sorry GS fans.

  27. Last night and basically for the past three weeks, the determination and focus LA has shown on the court has been a breathe of fresh air. I dont expect every game to be as easy as game one, but since game 5 of the OKC series. LA has been locked and cocked ready to fire away.

    This makes me believe that the players can now sense whats at stake. After a long injury plagued regular season and potential contending teams going fishing, the light has finally come on and someone is home. Kobe with a bounce in his step, Shannon putting the WOW back in his game, LO looking confident, and Pau displaying every facet of his game. All eye’s are definitely on the prize, and it feels good to see the team as a whole play well on the court together at the same time.

  28. re: ron-ron being 1-5 last night from beyond the arc, weren’t most of his misses in the fourth quarter when it was pretty much garbage time? I’d of course like to see him hit those, but I don’t know how much stock I’d put in his g1 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

  29. Off topic, anyone got the junk rumor regarding LeBron, his mom, and West?

    Not gonna link it, but wow, LeBron is experiencing serious lows here.

    As for last night’s game, better be lucky than good.

    And maybe, just maybe, Amare stumbled into something very very important – how to finally coax consistency out of Lamar.

    Then again, maybe not.

    But we can always hope.

    … and get lucky.

  30. I’ve gotta throw this out there just to see if others feel the same way. I’ve never been so torn while watching a playoff series. I’m on board with a lot of people here in that I’d like to see a LAL/BOS matchup for another opportunity at revenge. However, as I watch the BOS/ORL series, I just can’t find myself pulling for Boston to do anything but fail. Even during tonight’s game, I’m hoping that Orlando pulls it out.

    Does anyone else feel the same way?

    As I officially crazy!?!?
    Dooobee Doooobee Dooooooooo

  31. when is dwight howard ever going to realize that he needs a post game??

  32. To add a little perspective on what Amare said about Odom:

    Playoff Rebounding Numbers:
    Odom: 9.1 RPG
    Odom before last nights explosion: 8.1RPG
    Stoudemire: 6.6 RPG

    Amare is also playing 8.3 more minutes per game than Odom….

    During this postseason, Amare has been NEITHER good or lucky with respect to rebounding. 6.6 PRG is PATHETIC for a player in his position

  33. Sedale, I was rooting for the Celtics to upset the LeBrons. But yeah, I can’t root for them anymore. I want to see them fail even though I, too, think it would be amazing to beat them in the finals.

    And Redick is bailing out the Magic? Wow!

  34. Off-topic:

    What do you think if Ray Allen signed for us instead of Ron Artest?
    I mean, with all the open looks Ron Artest is having all season long, Ray-Ray would have averaged like 5 3s made a game, and average like 70%.

    Note: This is just a pure hypothetical question, and is not intended to hurt Ron Artest’s feelings. :) I’m a Ron-Ron fan by the way.

  35. Mark, Ray wouldn’t have gotten the looks Ron would’ve gotten, and would’ve been more abused on defense. End.

    Sedale, me, I’m rooting against the Celtics, but it won’t hurt my feelings too much if they beat Orlando just to lose to us in the finals. But, I’d like them to be eliminated ASAP, don’t need to have them think they were close.

  36. VoR, same feelings here. Watching the game and as much as revenge will be sweet to meet and beat the celtics in the finals, I can’t root for them. Hope magic take all their smiles smirks away today.

  37. I’ve also noticed than Shanwow and Farmar have been shooting much better lately, but the one thing I wish they would improve is something that looks so easy (but I guess isn’t) – post-entry passes. So many times our bigs are posting up, calling for the ball, and wow/farmar don’t get it to them. Most of the time they just seem like they don’t trust their ability to make the entry, so they hesitate, waste shot clock, and then swing it on the perimeter.

    Nonetheless, our team is obviously playing well enough to take this series so I can’t complain.

    Yeah, I also want revenge in the Finals but am unable to root for the Leps right now. As I type this Pierce is on the ground crying!

  38. good grief, is there a bigger drama queen in the NBA than Pierced? he milked that flagrant for all it was worth.

  39. Hey comon man Pierce didn’t leave on a stretcher or motion for his wheel chair at the time, but I have a feeling he’ll come up big for all the fans of his antics.

    My advice to Pierce for post-retirement is to set up a consultancy firm so he can with star soccer players and provide seminars on how to fake injuries more effectively.

  40. orlando will make a run in the 4th

  41. I honestly have no idea who I am rooting for…

    I am just hoping for a Game 7, with 4 OT, in the ECF. Make the winning team nice and tired, and bruised, and frustrated, and spent.

  42. Wow, I new Vince would miss one, but both?

  43. Chokesanity. Looking forward to a lakers celtics final. Going to be a war.

  44. like i said i can’t wait for artest to man handle paula pierce. vince carter with a nice choke job. good trade, orlando.

  45. I am actually feeling bad for Vince Carter. He does not have the mentality and focus required to carry a team in the play-offs, and he knows it. He knows that when the coach asks him to do it he will fail, and now he’s going to spend the next few weeks taking the blame for this loss, and he’s probably going to beat himself up over it. He keeps being asked to do thing everyone knows he can’t, of course he’s going to fail. He is not someone you can ask to carry your team through the Conference Finals… he’s in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

    That said, was it too much to ask that the Magic put up any kind of a fight at all? Please? DWIIIIIGHT!!!!! Get back in there and punch back!

  46. Man…I’m not even conflicted, even a little bit. To be this close to battling Boston in the rematch and then root for the Magic…who are not anything to the Lakers but just another team…? It smells like a cop-out to me.

    I want to win or lose against a champion and the greatest possible competition. That’s the Celtics, not the Magic. The title would be so much sweeter with “came at the expense of Pierce, Garnett and the BOSTON CELTICS” stamped on the front of it.

  47. I want Boston to choke up a big one.

    Become like the first team to lose a series after being up 3-0. Yeah, that’d be sweet, although I wouldn’t like the momentum Orlando would have coming into the finals.

    3 Boston wins followed by 3 Orlando wins and a deflating, anticlimactic early blowout would be good.

    But darn, now we know that home advantage doesn’t mean much if you’re not PLAYing.

  48. Is there a bigger Mangina in the league than Vince Nick Anderson Carter?

    Just as I knew it was a bad move for Orlando to pin its title hopes on that loser last summer, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that clown would choke with the game on the line.

  49. While a win against the Celtics would be great for revenge (assuming we take care of our business of course), I can’t actively root for them. I wanted Orlando to come back today.

  50. Of course if we face Boston, we get homecourt advantage and the chance of revenge. Though a physical tough team like Boston, that plays intense defense is the kind of team in my opinion, that has the best shot at beating the Lakers. The Suns arre very good and will push the Lakers to about 6 games, maybe 7, but I cant see them beating us in a 7 game series. Looks like it will be a LA Boston final

  51. Boston is a bad matchup for Orlando this year.

    If it is Boston – LA I think the Lakers better bring their football helmets to the game. It is going to be rough beginning to end. The Celtics have enough depth to just keep hitting people and the refs will not call them all.

    What I would like to see is one of their big three – say #34 – get nailed hard to the head and bounce it hard off the floor. Sort of karma for their type of football.

  52. Matt Barnes is killing the Magic. The Celtics are daring him to take that ugly jumpshot. Meanwhile, his man is clogging the paint and discouraging penetration.

    Better post-game: Dwight Howard or Kwame Brown?

  53. @chibi
    That made me laugh. :) And honestly, I’m not entirely sure Kwame wouldn’t win that contest…

  54. Fun drinking game — take a sip for every time Kevin Garnett sets a moving screen and gets away with it.

  55. @Chris J
    …and die of alcohol poisoning before the end of the game? :p

  56. who else wants to see ron artest coming out in a wheel chair in game 1 for the starting line up?

  57. then stand up like the 1st time ever in his life

  58. 56-7: the whole team should do it. and the bench, too.

  59. Phil should do his best Dr. Xavier impersonation.

    No, he’s not mocking Pierce, really.

  60. that amare article is incredible. LO outrebounded him 19-3 and he suggests it’s ‘luck’.

    yeah, he’s lucky you don’t move your feet and get in his way.

  61. Re: Amare
    ha… we are killing Amare here tonight huh? He shouldn’t have said “lucky”… I agree. But I do agree with what he said regarding the fact that Lamar got so many rebounds because he was paying so much attention to Andrew and Gasol. If you look at not only Lamar rebounds but his points as well… you will see Amare was doubling onto Bynum and Gasol. I do agree though that Amare Powell should have taken out the word “lucky.” Because even with Bynum and Gasol getting so much attention I doubt Josh goes for 19 and 19… even in a video game

    Re: Boston/Lakers Matchup
    The Lakers will win for a few reasons
    1. Bynum will be playing this series and be guarded by Perkins. This way Gasol won’t be pushed around by a big Center and can play his natural position of PF. Gasol now can defend KG. Oh… and now we have Lamar coming off the bench.
    2. RON ARTEST (sorry Vlade)
    3. Home court advantage

  62. remember when people were really worried about home court advantage against the Magic and the Cavs…

    what happened to all those people?

  63. One series at a time, guys. Can’t sleep on the Suns.

  64. i have a new level of appreciation for artest watching the way how easily pierce is able to catch the ball at his “spot” against vince carter.

    i like how pierce, in the post-game interview, blamed his offensive inefficiency against cleveland on having to guard lebron. it wasn’t that at all. it’s that lebron had the strength to keep him from his spot. he had to dribble from beyond the 3pt line to make plays, and he’s not that good when you push him out of his comfort zone.

  65. “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Stephen Leacock

    Let’s take down and dismantle the Suns at least one more game, OK. I want to see some Ammo action on court (during the game) tomorrow.

  66. So, has anyone noticed the way the Lakers have been taking care of the ball lately? They averaged 13.36 turnovers in the regular season, and in the playoffs a much improved 11.80 turnovers, including a 9 turnover performance last night. That’s much improved, even on something that wasn’t much of an issue throughout the regular season. Very proud of the “little” things they are implementing into the game more and more throughout the playoffs.

  67. I meant at least three more games, of taking the Suns down and dismantling them, I am just giddy about now, waiting for another Lakers game.

  68. Watching Boston I actually am getting concerned.

    I thought about how scared Pau looked aganist Perkins and KG two years ago. Now add wild eyed Wallace to the mix.

    I think about Rondo making Fish look like a pinball machine as he runs through and around him.

    I see Kobe having to expend his energy running around after Allen.

    I see Ron putting Paul back in a wheelchair.

    I see Sasha closing out each half by fouling anyone with 1 second left.

    Boy is that going to be fun.

    Oh yea I see nobody stopping Kobe or LO and Lakers in 7. Can’t wait!!!@!!!!

  69. Laker people.
    1-Suns are the best percentage 3 point team in the NBA. Do you think they will shoot 21% again?
    2-Lakers are the 18 best 3 point shooting team. Do you think they will shoot 50% again?
    3-When was the last time LO had 2 monster games in a row?
    4-What happens when Suns go to zone defense and also double Kobe like Roy?

    Game 2 will be close with the Lakers winning by 4.

  70. I must say that I think Suns were in it untill Kobe slammed the door in the third.

    The fourth was the typical desperation quarter for the Suns, throwing up one bad three after another, which created the huge win.

    But all night Suns were not finding their rythm, not knocking down their shots, and Amare did in his pants… and still, they were a couple of breaks away from a close game.

    Frye had a big possesion in the third, where he fumbles a corner-three possesion, and steps out of bounds. That is a Suns bread-and-butter possesion, and usually means nothing but net. Instead Lakers get he ball back for free and Kobe gets to sink two free throws.

    I believe a 3-pointer from Fry would have made it a 6 point game at that point.

    Suns are too damn good to not find their flow, and they will get their confident, swarming defense back too.

    This one is not ready for the fridge just yet.

  71. I think Kobe is being honest and fair : Suns should not be that bad. They just happen to miss a lot of threes that they can make when blind-folded.

    Although I think there is no way for Suns to win 4 out of the next 6, but Lakers can be “unnecessarily” extending the series if they are careless. If Lakes stay focused, I can totally see a sweep.

    I think these Lakers are motivated by *REST*!!!

  72. By the way lets lay of the Vannesa shirt talk about “do i look legal”.

    I want to watch more games.

    Arizona head of power department has warned us that we might be missing the 25% of our power they send us over our Major’s embargo talk.

    I want my TV working for at least another 3 weeks.

  73. how great is this? the only guy on our team that we want to be more agressive on offense gets called out by amare… LOVE IT!!!

    im bet you anything he will collect 12+ in tonights game. book it

  74. Amare’s mom’s famous.

    Isn’t mother’s day over though?

    anyway, i’m having flashbacks to nowitzki’s girlfriend incident now. and the ongoing legal bruhaha with Wade…

  75. @67 -Ken regardless if the suns lead the league in 3pt%, the Lakers lead the league in defending the 3.

    LO will continue to have a big series against Phoenix as they no one to cover him. Amare can’t/won’t play defense and the last thing Frye wants to do is play with contact. Also career wise against Phoenix LO averages a double double.

    I do think Phoenix will put up a better fight and start to double Kobe but that will just free up his teammates. Here’s to another double digit win tonight.

  76. @62 These playoffs can turn into a dream scenario for the Lakers because of motivation…a chance for revenge against the last two teams to beat them in a playoff series. On top of all the other reasons mentioned (and the fact that besides Rondo, Boston’s players are older and not as dominant as in 2008), this motivation factor should propel the Lakers to a championship.

    (And it doesn’t hurt that Ron Ron is determined to not have people say it was a mistake to sign him)

  77. I don’t want to overlook the suns, but assuming its a LA/BOS finals:

    anybody want to bet that Phil’s next “target” will be Rondo?

    have you seen his move where he drives to the hoop, and does his fake behind-the-back pass before hitting the lay up? i think he takes about 4 steps every single time.

    therefore, im willing to bet Phil will fire that “traveling” shot prior to the finals

  78. What in the world would compel A’mare to talk smack about Lamar?

  79. I’ve put up some morning links (sorry, they’re no where near as thorough as Phillip’s). Enjoy.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/05/19/around-the-world-wide-web-prepping-for-game-2/

  80. @MannyP13
    Off the top of my head, I’d say their respective stat lines… :p

    So for tonight, I’m guessing we can expect some of those Sun perimeter shots to start dropping, and a few adjustments on defense to try and slow down Kobe? How about Pau and Bynum?

  81. 69, Kobe guards Rondo, Fisher guards Allen. That’s been the case since Game 3 of the 2008 Finals.

  82. A matchup with Boston (assuming we handle our biz with the Suns) is both terrifying and intriguing. To have HCA in the Finals against our long-time nemesis that is playing arguably the best defense in the playoffs (with no disrespect to our own team) would be amazing. It would give Kobe and Co. a chance to redeem 2008 with a repeat or forever be labeled as losers to the lucky little leprechauns. As much as I want to see us avenge 2008, it would pain me to no end if we were to somehow lose to Boston in the Finals, again. Both of the regular season games were great games (even our loss to them without Kobe), so I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this POTENTIAL Finals matchup could go 7 games.

    One note of caution – if we do beat the Suns and if Boston does beat the Magic and if the Finals do go to game 7, for the love of all that is Forum Blue and Gold, please don’t let Dr. Buss put balloons up above the court and postgame celebratory notes on the seats ;) D

    As for tonight, I expect it to be very close. Phoenix doesn’t want to go down 0-2 and their bench can’t play much worse than what it did (although it would be nice). Is it just me, or does Ron make way too many shots with one foot barely on the 3pt line? Dude has made so many 23 footers for two. We need to keep the TOs low, can some early Js to disrupt their zone and continue to get back in transition. Go Lakers!