Conference Finals Clash – Game 3

MAY 23|SUN|WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS , GAME 4| (1) Lakers vs. (3) Suns – SERIES: 2-0, Lakers

Follow: TwitterCast: @LakersNation |Watch On: TNT @ 5:30 PT/8:30 ET | Radio: 710AM ESPN, 1330AM ESPN Deportes

News and Notes….

– Noted Celtics lover Bill Simmons tweeted that one of his friends saw Lamar Odom at 3:44 AM in a New York City Club on Saturday Morning. Apparently, it was simply Impostor Lamar Odom doing it big in NYC. [Orange County Register]

– The Lakers are hoping that their long-term viewing of Andrew Bynum’s injury (and his conservative minutes in the Western Conference Finals) will pay dividends in the Finals.  [Los Angeles Times]

– The Ron Artest puzzle piece is beginning to fit into place. [Los Angeles Times]

– The Suns’ defense returns to a familiar place: The Drawing Board. [Bright Side of the Sun]

Projected Starters

Lakers
(PG) Derek Fisher
(SG) Kobe Bryant
(SF) Ron Artest
(PF) Pau Gasol
(C) Andrew Bynum

Suns

(PG) Steve Nash
(SG) Jason Richardson
(SF) Grant Hill
(PF) Amar’e Staudemire
(C) Robin Lopez

Keys to the Game

… First, let us pray that Ron Artest keeps his shot about him for the rest of the play-offs. He’s a game-changer when he’s swapping his 3’s.

… Skip Bayless, on Friday’s First and Ten, boldly predicted that the Suns would come back from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the Lakers. I have more love for Skip than most people, but there is absolutely zero empirical evidence he could point to that would lead him to logically believe that. The only way the Lakers lose this series (or even a game) is if they decide they want to lose the series/game.

… Is it just me, or does Kobe Bryant have a new bounce about his step? He has looked more spry than I remember seeing him this year, and has been playing his best basketball of the year as the stakes have risen throughout the play-offs. If Kobe is firing on all cylinders like this, it’s going to be tough for anybody to beat the Lakers, let alone a team that doesn’t play any defense.

… Speaking of defense—remember how these Suns purportedly “played a little D”? Well, they’re still awful at defense. Just awful. Amar’e Stoudemire has absolutely no concept with how to deal with pick and rolls or his role within his team’s defense. I know there is some GM out there that will toss a max contract on this guy, but wow, he doesn’t deserve anything close to that.

… While I personally believe this series to be over, the Lakers unfortunately do have to play the rest of the series out. With a return to the US Airways Center, I have no doubt that the likes of Goran Dragic and Channing Frye will play much better. But unless the Suns catch fire from the three point land (which, I suppose, isn’t out of the realm of the possibility), this game will likely turn out like the first two.

Enjoy the game and as always, GO LAKERS.

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